The Unist’ot’en Clan of the Wet’suwet’en Nation have established an Action Camp on their traditional territory in the northern part of settler-named British Columbia. This initiative began in 2010 and has since seen visitors from across the country. The purpose of this project is to fulfill the responsibilities that the Unist’ot’en have to protect their land and to assert their sovereignty and rights. Multiple major pipeline projects, including the Northern Gateway and the Pacific Trails pipelines, have been proposed and are being pushed by industry and government to be built on Wet’suwet’en territory. The camp was established to physically block oil and gas development and pipelines on their lands.
Many non-Indigenous allies have spent time at the camp in a practice of solidarity with the Unist’ot’en Clan, and have participated in training in nonviolent direct action. The Unist’ot’en have also been reclaiming their traditional governance practice of Free Prior and Informed Consent Protocol for visitors to their land. Before entering the lands of the Wet’suwet’en, visitors undergo a process in respect of Wet’suwet’en Laws. They introduce themselves fully to the Unist’tot’en, ask for consent to enter their lands, state their intentions, and the commitments and skills they are bringing to the pipeline resistance, and that they “will not seek to diminish the responsibilities the Unis’tot’en have toward their future generations and will also cost them nothing”. The use of this protocol serves to revive an ancient legal practice of relationship building, and to ensure that allies, and potential allies, are aware of and have respect for the traditional laws of the territory and the nation they are visiting.
Resistance to oil and gas and pipeline developments is ongoing at the Unist’ot’en Action Camp, and plans are in place to physically stop the Northern Gateway pipeline project, along with other projects, from going through Wet’suwet’en territory.