Secwepemc protesters arrive at the Mission Flats camp on Oct. 3, where they vow to remain during their bid to stop the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. (Facebook photo via Kamloops This Week)

Permanent protest camp established near Trans Mountain work site in Kamloops

The sole goal of the encampment is to stop the pipeline twinning project, organizers say

  • Oct. 5, 2020 4:00 p.m.

–– Kamloops This Week

Secwépemc protesters have settled in for the long haul in a bid to stop the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project from being completed in Kamloops.

On Saturday (Oct. 3), a group of about 20 people set up what they call a permanent camp along the shores of the Thompson River, off Mission Flats Road and near a pipeline worksite.

The encampment is located in the same area where a Secwépemc man held a vision quest and fast in protest of the pipeline at the end of August.

Miranda Dick, a spokesperson for the camp, told KTW the sole goal of the encampment is to stop the pipeline twinning project.

Asked what protesters are prepared to do to achieve that, Dick replied: “Everything.”

Dick was also involved in the vision quest protest and was present when another Secwépemc woman chained herself to a fence near a Trans Mountain worksite at Kamloops Airport in September. That woman was arrested, charged and released.

Some of the protesters gathered at the permanent camp plan to remain there around the clock, while others have morning or night shifts, Dick said, noting Secwépemc elders, youth and a couple of teachers are among the group.

There were three vehicles and a motorcycle parked off Mission Flats Road west of Domtar on Monday morning, near where the encampment has been set up. KTW observed three people moving firewood from the end of the road back to camp, which this newspaper was not permitted to visit.

Photos of the encampment online show a couple of tents along the shores of the river.

The encampment is blocking the pipeline route, but so far no one from Trans Mountain or the RCMP has made contact with the protesters, Dick told KTW.

Trans Mountain has a B.C. Supreme Court injunction prohibiting the obstruction of access to the company’s worksites.

Dick said the protesters are not violating that court order as it only applies to impeding work. Asked if protesters are currently impeding the work, Dick replied: “Not right now.” Asked if they plan to do so, Dick said she did not know.

“I can’t incriminate myself,” she said.

Dick said the question that should be asked is what action is Trans Mountain willing to take toward the people?

“What means and necessity would they need to be putting this pipeline through our territory? There’s no consultation and no consent,” she said.

Work at the Trans Mountain site on Mission Flats Road, which is about 500 metres from the protesters, appeared to be ongoing without disruption on Monday morning.

KTW is awaiting a response from Trans Mountain regarding the protest.

During the vision quest protest, the company said it was not taking any action as construction activity was not being obstructed. Trans Mountain noted it respects the right to peaceful, lawful expressions of opinions.

The encampment is located near where a portion of the new pipeline will be pulled underneath the river using a drilling process.

Dick said the protesters speak for all Secwépemc people, arguing their lands cannot be surrendered or ceded by anyone.

Asked how they can speak for all Secwépemc people when there are those among the Secwépemc in favour of the pipeline twinning project — including individuals and elected band councils — Dick said there are those who have been “bought and paid for through Indian Affairs” who must support the project as some bands have signed benefit agreements with Trans Mountain.

One of those bands includes Tk’emlups te Secwépemc, which has a $3-million deal with the company.

Online, the protesters invited all supporters to join them at the camp to help stop the project.

“We love our land our water our wild salmon our People, ourselves and we defend what sustains us and what will sustain our future generations,” states the Facebook page We the Secwépemc: Virtual Unity Camp to stop Trans Mountain Pipeline.

The post states the RCMP, province and “any other agents of the state or court” have no jurisdiction on unceded Secwépemc territory and no injunction has been issued that applies to the ceremonial occupation site on the river.

“No one can own the river, the water way and we move ahead with the full force of our ancestors and with love for the land,” the post states.

Dick said the group is not affiliated with the Tiny House Warriors — a number of Secwépemc members opposed to the pipeline expansion project. They are now based near Blue River, where they are building tiny houses they plan to place in the path of the pipeline expansion route.

Michael Potestio, Kamloops This Week

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Tran Mountain Pipeline

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

After dragon boat races, the Carnation Ceremony remembers those who have died and those who are fighting cancer. This year, during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Friends Abreast Dragon Boat team delivered 400 carnations to the staff at nine public schools, three SASCU offices and the women’s league at the curling rink as a reminder for women to book their mammogram appointments. (File photo)
Salmon Arm dragon boat team gives carnations as mammogram reminder

Breast cancer second leading cause of cancer death among Canadian women

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 18 COVID-19 cases, highest daily count since July

The total of COVID-19 cases in the region is now at 662

A Kelowna clinic decided to immunize their patients in a drive-thru flu clinic earlier this month. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
Interior Health anticipates increase in flu vaccinations this season

Some 300,000 doses of flu vaccine ready for distribution across Southern Interior

Snow started falling early Oct. 23, 2020 to leave Salmon Arm and area with a wintery look. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
Snow in Shuswap this early in October rare but no records broken

Environment Canada predicts clear weather in Salmon Arm for election day – Oct. 24

City workers Mike Jamieson and Jamie Greencorn perform the wintery ritual of putting up road closed signs on 10th Avenue SE (also known as Shoemaker Hill) on the morning of Friday, Oct. 23, 2020. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
Salmon Arm’s Shoemaker Hill closed by snow, might still reopen

City staff say steep, winding portion of 10th Avenue SE could see a few more weeks of use

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Thanks to efforts by a Kelowna shelter and Elections BC, anyone who wishes to can vote in the 2020 BC Provincial Election, even if they don’t have a fixed address. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Kelowna group ensures people experiencing homelessness can vote

Shelter supervisor says voting ‘a fundamental right’ even for those without a fixed address

(Big White Ski Resort photo)
Big White receives 21 cm of snow in 24 hours

Resort’s snow base 41 cm deep, one month until opening day

The deer were allegedly shot within Princeton town limits, late at night. Black Press File Photo.
Armed man, in full camouflage, allegedly shoots deer in downtown Princeton

‘The list of charges goes on and on,’ said RCMP Sgt. Rob Hughes

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

Most Read