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

Three vehicle crash on Highway 33. Twila Amato, Black Press Media.
UPDATE: Three-vehicle crash involving bus on Highway 33

Highway 33 is slow going in both directions

More than 6,000 people attended the popular Downtown Vernon Association summer concert series known as Civic Sounds. (Peter Solymosi)
Vernon organization requests $20K to bring back park-based fun

Downtown Vernon Association seeks funding for 2021 programming

Welcome Inn will offer 20 beds, but site coordinators Jason Siebenga and Tara Tschritter hope to offer up to 40. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
Winter shelters spaces opening in Kelowna

The move comes as winter conditions are setting in earlier this year

Comedian Mike Delamont will take the stage at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre for two socially-distanced shows Nov. 14 at 5:40 and 8 p.m. (Contributed)
Comedy returns to Vernon’s stage amid COVID-19

Cabaret-style shows let audience in on the live action once again

The 100 Radon Test Kit Challenge targets municipalities across Canada where radon testing has been limited, but where there is a potential for homes to have elevated radon levels. Vernon is participating. (Image contributed)
Vernon takes on Radon Challenge

200 free radon testing kits are up for grabs as part of the third annual challenge to test for gas

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

The Stuart Park ice rink in January 2020. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Popular Kelowna outdoor ice rink will open amid COVID-19 pandemic

City council approved COVID-related changes to the Stuart Park ice rink’s operations

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Interior Health sees 31 new cases of COVID-19 over record-breaking weekend

Eighty-six cases remain active and one person is hospitalized with the virus

Salmon Arm RCMP responded to a seven-vehicle chain reaction collision early Monday morning, Oct. 26. (File photo)
One person injured in seven-vehicle chain-reaction collision in Salmon Arm

Snow packed to ice, speed contributing factors behind collisions

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

RCMP responded to a single-vehicle collision on Highway 1 east of Salmon Arm early Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. (File photo)
Salmon Arm man killed in collision on Highway 1

RCMP say slippery road conditions contributing factor behind collision

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Jordan Naterer, 25, was last seen Saturday Oct. 10. He planned a hike in the Manning Park area, and has not been seen since. Photo Facebook.
Parents not giving up, after official search for Manning Park hiker suspended again

‘We are determined, but eventually the money is going to run out.’

Most Read