A group of about eight people gathered beside the train tracks on Willow Street Friday in Truro to show their support for Wet’suwet’en Nation.
“We are here to show that we have Treaty rights too and we support our rights being First Nation all the way across,” said James Pictou, protest organizer.
Kahnawake Grand Chief Joe Norton said, in an interview with The West Block‘s Mercedes Stephenson, that scenes of what he called “brutality” from the RCMP in how the force arrested activists opposing the pipeline when it carried out an injunction on the traditional territory last month sparked anger among many Indigenous people and that the protests have been responding to that.
The group spent almost six hours in peaceful demonstration as RCMP, Truro police and the CN police surrounded the area.
“They even brought us coffee,” said Pictou. “Everything’s going really smoothly.”
He said that he and his group informed police about the protest in advance, and got their help.
“It would be a positive note to show that we can work together instead of being arrested and thrown in jail for no reason,” said Pictou.
Pictou said that depending on how the meetings will go between Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and B.C. ministers of Indigenous relations on Friday, the group might do another protest in the future.
Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have been meeting with federal and B.C. ministers of Indigenous relations in the last two days to find a solution to the dispute over the Coastal GasLink pipeline project.
“We’re hoping that it does work.”
He said the group picked Willow Street as the place to protest because it’s on “non-native land and it’s not on the reserve, so it has nothing to do with the Indian Act or the reserve.”
“We have treaty rights everywhere,” said Pictou.
The group also let Via Rail trains to go through because he said “they are not there to stop people.”
“We’re here to show support for people out west, we’re not trying to hurt anybody in our province, but we are trying to show that the RCMP can work with our society in a positive note.”
–With files from Global’s Maryam Shah and Amanda Connolly