*Before we begin, we would like to acknowledge the six nations of the grand river territory on whose territory this enbridge site resides and which we are currently occupying. We also offer respect to our Attawandaron, Anishinaabe and Métis neighbours and strive to strengthen our relationships with them.
Just as we come here today to challenge line 9, we also strive to honour the Two Row Wampum, and foster positive relationships while challenging destructive ones.
In land protection, we are taking direction and leadership from Indigenous struggles and knowledge. Safeguarding our land and water is an anti-colonial struggle, not simply an environmental one. It is important to always incorporate this into our critical analysis. We are here as a result of blood that has been shed by colonization, and our clean land and water is here thanks to the stewardship of those who came 7 generations before us.
As communities across the country rally in support of this action, we regret to inform that Enbridge has obtained an injunction. While much of the encampment has been packed up, four individuals have remained onsite and have formed a blockade in front of the North Westover terminal. Three of them have encased themselves in a makeshift structure that is heavily chained to the facility fence. One other person is sitting on top of the structure. These individuals will stay in place for as long as they can with the intention of further disrupting construction on the Line 9 pipeline.
We are appalled that Enbridge is attempting to resolve this situation with an injunction when we know that this conflict is rooted in their refusal to meaningfully consult and seek consent from impacted communities. First, Enbridge tried accomplishing this reversal through stealth, then through trickery, and now, finally, they are trying to do it through force.
Trish Mills is one of the individuals currently contained within the structure. She issued the following quote this morning:
"This isn’t Enbridge’s land to order us off of. It’s stolen. Even if it wasn’t, this company and this industry exploit and destroy land. It is our responsibility to stop this exploitation. While a spill might not be on purpose, when it does happen — 1 every 5 days — they look at it only as a monetary figure; I look at it as the irreversible massacre of an ecosystem."
Another individual named Sigrid, who is seated on top of the barricade, has issued the following statement:
"I’m doing this because I have to, for the future. Because someone has to do something now."
Swamp Line 9 was started by a group of 60 regional activists concerned with the Line 9 pipeline expansion. Over the past 6 days it has caught the attention of activists and tar sands resisters across Turtle Island and become part of something much bigger.
Since taking this site last Thursday, we have seen Enbridge spill 750 barrels of oil into a fresh water stream in Northern Alberta. To the East we have seen a brutal police crackdown on anti-fracking protestors in New Brunswick. Our struggle here in Westover is part of a broader picture. We stand in solidarity with all communities who are resisting against endless resource extraction and the destruction that these companies cause.
Today’s country-wide day of solidarity has been declared as the first official action of the Sovereignty Summer called for by Idle No More and Defenders of the Land; Enbridge’s Westover Terminal is on the territory of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and there have been individuals from 6 Nations on site all week. We demand that Enbridge acknowledge this land as Haudenosaunee territory, and that no construction can take place until they have received free, prior, and informed consent from the Confederacy.
Swamp Line 9 has been an overwhelming success in disrupting Enbridge’s pipeline expansion, and in raising awareness about Line 9. We hope that our actions here will serve as a catalyst for further resistance and that the movement against Line 9 will continue to spread.
Swamp Line 9 would like to thank the countless supporters who have come out to visit us, feed us, and who have sent us letters of solidarity. The response that we have gotten has been truly overwhelming.To Enbridge, we have this to say: this Line 9 pipeline expansion project will not happen.
For further comment on Sovereignty Summer or other indigenous issues Clayton Thomas Muller of Idle No More can be reached by phone at(613)297-7515.