Wednesday 26 February 2020

Canadian rail blockades: Protester action escalates after police break up Tyendinaga blockade

Over the past few days, some blockades have been taken down. However, new blockades were set up on Monday in 2 Ontario communities. This was in response to arrests at the blockade in Tyendinaga. The morning commute was difficult for some in the Greater Toronto Area who use trains to get to work.

Meanwhile, trains have begun running through Tyendinaga with the tracks now clear. However, there is a chance to see even more blockades in the future. New blockades have been set up in Ontario and British Columbia.

Two hereditary chiefs of the Gitxsan First Nation in B.C. were also arrested on Monday evening after 40 members re-occupied the main CN Rail line in the wake of continued RCMP presence in Wet’suwet’en traditional territory and the Mohawk arrests.

Wetʼsuwetʼen are a First Nations people who live on the Bulkley River and around Burns Lake, Broman Lake, and Francois Lake in the northwestern Central Interior of British Columbia. The name they call themselves, Wetʼsuwetʼen, means "People of the Wa Dzun Kwuh River (Bulkley River)".

The Wetʼsuwetʼen are a branch of the Dakelh or Carrier people, and in combination with the Babine people have been referred to as the Western Carrier. They speak Witsuwitʼen, a dialect of the Babine-Witsuwitʼen language which, like its sister language Carrier, is a member of the Athabaskan family.

Their oral history is actually called kungax.

The traditional government of the Wetʼsuwetʼen comprises 13 hereditary chiefs, organized today as the Office of the Hereditary Chiefs of the Wetʼsuwetʼen.

The Mohawk people are the most easterly tribe of the Haudenosaunee, or Iroquois Confederacy. They are an Iroquoian-speaking indigenous people of North America, with communities in northern New York State and southeastern Canada, primarily around Lake Ontario and the St Lawrence River.

The actions of protesters causing disruptions in the area of Tyendinaga, Ontario are creating slowdowns. Demonstrators are making an effort to push back in solidarity with Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs who oppose the planned route of a natural gas pipeline in British Columbia. Some protesters stood on the tracks as trains come toward them. They jump to safety only in the final seconds. There is also footage out there on the internet of fires on the tracks and police removing debris from the rail lines.

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