Secwepemc Mother Defends Title in Court to Stop TMX

Secwepemc woman, mother, and Land Defender, Gwa Tselletkwe, heads to court for her third time on Monday November 23, 2020 to defend her unceded Secwepemc rights and title.

Gwa was arrested on September 3rd for chaining herself to the front gates of the TMX drill site at Airport Rd, Kamloops in Secwepemc Territory where the crown corporation plans to drill underneath the salmon bearing Secwepemcetkwe (Thompson River). The Secwepemc People have never given consent for the TMX pipeline expansion to be built and now they are defending that claim in court by asserting their rights and title.

This is the third time that Gwa has been called to defend her rights in title in court after the crown rescheduled her original appearing in October. When Gwa first appeared before the court in person, she was told upon arriving that the court had not decided whether she was to be charged with civil or criminal charges. On the second court appearing, Friday November 6, the crown judge stated she would not charge Gwa with criminal contempt of court, but that the Crown Corporation, Trans Mountain, must decide if they will charge Gwa with civil contempt of court. Now, for the third time, Gwa must appear before the court in Vancouver during the Vancouver Coastal Health lockdown which limits the amount of people who can gather in groups

“There is no consent from the people from the elders or the children.”

-Gwa Tselletkwe, Hereditary Matriarch

Outside of the BC Supreme Courts on November 6, Gwa spoke to the crowd, “So I am just one person but I am speaking for all Secwepemc Nation. It’s not just me. I have 22,000 people that I am speaking for, on behalf of them. Because not everyone is for the pipeline. We know DIA (Department of Indian Affairs) Chiefs have signed deal with them but there is no consent from the people from the elders or the children. The DIA chiefs don’t have the authority to sign over the land, the air, the water, the people the don’t have the authority to sign those over. So we’re standing here today as Secwepemc people for our rights and our title of our land. Because this is unceded Secwepemc Territory and here we are on unceded Coast Salish Territory, and we have to recognize that. Because we didn’t sign treaties here. All of BC doesn’t have treaties. So I am standing here as a Secwepemc mother, as a land defender, as a water protector and thank you all so much for being here. It means a lot. Sometimes it feels like we are all alone but standing here today I feel really powerful. I have a lot of support here, a lot of family, so Kukstsemec thank you.”

Show your support for the unwavering commitment of Secwepemc Land Defender, Gwa Tselletkwe, by joining a live stream on Facebook or Instagram and share this event, host a watch part, and join us virtually as the Secwepemc rights and title to defend the land.

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