Confronting the Pipedream part 1: An interview with Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en land defender Mel Bazil, recorded at the 4th annual Unis’tot’en Action Camp against pipelines in unceded Wet’suwet’en territory, northern “BC”
Mel Bazil is an indigenous Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en family man, sovereignist, and anarchist. For the last few years, he has been supporting the Unis’tot’en camp blockade against oil and gas pipelines in the north of occupied, unceded “British Columbia”. Since 2010, the Unis’tot’en camp has been succesfully taking direct action from preventing 7 companies from transporting bitumen oil from the Alberta tar sands and natural gas from fracking to the Pacific coast. The Unis’tot’en now practice a Free, Prior, and Informed consent protocol for all people seeking access to their lands. They have also built a permaculture garden and a pit house directly on the path of the pipelines in an inspiring example of direct action.
In this interview, Mel speaks about indigenous resistance against extractive industries in Wet’suwet’en territory, Wet’suwet’en concepts of rights vs. responsibilities to defend the land, and the dangers of carbon offsetting and “not in my backyard” struggles.
In Mel’s own words, “The pipelines have become a conduit for us to voice our sovereignty. But our people have been asserting our sovereignty for a long time. It feels like it’s push come to shove now. We have missing and murdered women across Turtle Island. Our children are being removed from our homes. We keep being expected to abide by Canadian law. But Canadian law is a corporation.”
From July 10-14, the 4th annual Unis’tot’en action camp was held on Wet’suwet’en territory. The camp drew around 200 native and non-native supporters to organize, strategize, and plan actions against pipelines. To open the gathering, members of the Wet’suwet’en nation sang a war song to the oil and gas pipeline companies, as well as the Canadian state.
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