Keeping Carbon in the Ground: Indigenous Sovereigntist camp blocks proposed pipeline corridor slated to move tar sands and shale gas to Asia

As the winter snow descends on the North creating a pristine canopy of green and white, resistance remains strong and active at the Unist’ot’en Camp. Here, 66kms south of the colonial town of Houston, British Columbia, a solid core of indigenous community members and allies are forming a resistance community to protect unceded Wet’suwet’en territory. These ancestral lands are being threatened by several multi-billion dollar pipeline projects. These proposed pipelines represent the efforts of government and industry to construct a giant ‘energy corridor’ to connect Tar Sands and shale gas extraction projects with ports in Kitimat and Prince Rupert on BC’s west coast. The aptly renamed Carbon Corridor intends to blaze a right-of-way as much as three kilometres wide through hundreds of kilometres of wilderness, farmland, and traditional indigenous territory. The Unist’ot’en and their allies have determined to never allow this to happen.

In 2010 the Unist’ot’en clan decided to clear a site and begin building a cabin on their traditional territory of Talbits Kwa. The cabin is located on the west bank of Wedzin Kwa (colonially known as the Morice River), directly on the path of the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway and Pacific Trails Pipelines (PTP). In the summer of 2012, construction on the cabin was completed just in time for the Grassroots Wet’suwet’en to host their third annual environmental action camp. The camp convergence was attended by over 200 supporters from across Turtle Island, and a crystallization of long-term solidarity took place as the grassroots Wet’suwet’en called for a shift from passive support to the forming of a concrete, committed network of allies.

During camp and the following months, many new structures were created including additional outhouses, a smokehouse, a sauna, a root-cellar, and a major expansion of the main cabin itself. Then, to defend against the probability of industry attempting to re-enter the territory, members of the Unist’ot’en and Likhts’amisyu clans made the important decision to permanently occupy the camp following the August convergence. The family did this to make a permanent home, and to allow for 100% monitoring of territory.

Crow, a permanent supporter at camp, reflects on the late summer and fall berry-picking season, and on the ecological stewardship of the territory practiced by the Wet’suwet’en. “When I arrived at camp in early September, I was amazed by the vastness of the berry patches. I had never seen such a wealth of berries in one place. Later I learned of practices that the Wet’suwet’en had to ensure the abundance of the land, practices that today are known as permaculture. More and more I am becoming aware of the wisdom that allowed the Unist’ot’en to live in harmony with the land, in a way that did not degrade the land base and did not rely on exploitation. That way of life, as well as the land itself, is what the Unist’ot’en Camp is here to defend,” states Crow.

The Grassroots Wet’suwet’en

The Wet’suwet’en are composed of five clans: Unist’ot’en, Likhts’amisyu, Gitimit’en, Lakh’silyu, and Tsayu. The Unist’ot’en (or C’ihlts’ehkhyu, Big Frog Clan) are the original Wet’suwet’en distinct to the lands of the Wet’suwet’en. Over time in Wet’suwet’en History, the other clans developed and were included throughout Wet’suwet’en territories. The Unis’tot’en were the strongest and most resilient clan as they dominated vast regions of Wet’suwet’en territory, and were know to adapt and thrive in very treacherous terrain. To this day, Wet’suwet’en territory remains unceded. They are not and never have been under treaty with the colonial government, and they maintain complete sovereignty over their lands which are not under the dominion of the Canadian state.

In order to assert their traditional sovereignty over the territory, the Grassroots Wet’suwet’en have broken away from the Office of the Wet’suwet’en (OW), an institution that was created as part of the treaty process with the Canadian government. Despite the presumptuous title, however, the Office of the Wet’suwet’en is not the representative of the Wet’suwet’en people, it is an illegitimate colonial proxy-institution that remained after all five clans of the Wet’suwet’en opted out of the treaty process in 2008. Today the Office of the Wet’suwet’en remains as a hub for corrupt community members to sign up-front deals with industry, which normally come with cash incentives. Most recently, OW has signed confidentiality and communications agreements with PTP and are trying to reignite the defeated treaty process with the government.

In the present day, the more traditionalist and grassroots elements of the Wet’suwet’en have designated themselves the Grassroots Wet’suwet’en to identify as separate from certain corrupted and co-opted segments of their nation. Asserting themselves as Grassroots Wet’suwet’en they do not operate from a boardroom, they walk and breathe their laws with a powerful and unbreakable marriage to the land.

The Pipelines

Several companies have proposed projects intending to cross Wet’suwet’en territory as part of industry and government’s conceptual “Energy Corridor.” Several shale gas pipelines are also proposed to run from Summit Lake and the Horn River and Liard Basins, fracking fields in northeastern BC’s Montney Shale Formation. The intended destinations of these pipelines are LNG processing terminals in Kitimat and Prince Rupert.

The first and most immediate threat to Wet’suwet’en territory is the Pacific Trails Pipeline (PTP), which intends to transport shale gas through a 42 inch diameter bidirectional pipeline. The project including the pipeline and processing terminal on the coast called Kitimat LNG (KLNG) was shared by EOG Resources, Encana Corp., and majority owner Apache corp. of Houston, Texas. PTP is the intended trailblazer of the prospective ‘energy corridor,’ and plans to stretch 463km from BCs fracking fields, all the way to the Douglas Channel on the west coast.

Then, on Christmas eve, the KLNG/PTP project sent the Unist’ot’en resistance an interesting present. In a surpise move EOG and Encana sold their shares in the project to Chevron Canada, a subsidiary of Chevron Corporation, which will now move into a 50% ownership position along with Apache for the continuation of the project. This consisted of a big shift in the complexion of the project considering the small-player-status of EOG and Encana, vs. Chevron as the second biggest oil company in the U.S.

Coastal GasLink is another prospective shale gas pipeline and LNG terminal project proposal. The pipeline would initially carry 1.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day from the Montney formation over 700 kilometres from Groundbirch, near Dawson Creek, also to Kitimat, on the west coast. The project is owned by a consortium of Companies called LNG Canada led by Shell Canada Limited, including Mitsubishi Corporation, KoreaGas (KOGAS), and Petrochina. TransCanada corporation is contracted by LNG Canada to build Coastal GasLink, the same company trying to force through the notorious Keystone XL Pipeline.

The LNG Canada project has been estimated to be in the $ 12 billion range, while the Coastal GasLink Pipeline is estimated at $ 4 billion, and according to BC Energy Minister Rich Coleman is slated as “one of the largest, if not the largest, investments ever in B.C.” The pipeline dimensions are projected at 48″ (1.2 meters), six inches larger in diameter than PTP. In short, everything about this pipeline is big.

But the Grassroots Wet’suwet’en have no intention of allowing any of the pipelines to happen. “The Unist’ot’en with Grassroots Wet’suwet’en will stop all pipelines by any means necessary. In solidarity with nations also opposing pipelines in their territories, we do not take any “Not In My Back Yard” approaches in our strong stance against poisoning waters for money and greed,” declares Freda Huson, spokesperson for the Unist’ot’en. “We stand beside communities in all directions taking action to stop the pipelines that exist,…. or proposed pipeline projects awaiting approvals.”

Resisting the Carbon Corridor

The Grassroots Wet’suwet’en have already twice acted to protect their territory from contractors working for the Pacific Trails Pipeline (PTP) project. In November of 2011, they confronted, and escorted out, PTP field workers attempting to carry out directional drilling.

Just over a year later, On November 20th, a crew of surveyors was intercepted at the cabin site entering Unis’tot’en territory. In the absence of Freda Huson, Toghestiy, hereditary chief of the Likhts’ amisyu clan invoked biKyi’ waat’en, the right of the husband, in telling the industry surveyors to immediately leave the territory, and issued an eagle feather to the crew. In Wet’suwet’en law, an eagle feather indicates a first and only warning of trespass.

After they were turned back, a crew from Unis’tot’en camp snowmobiled some 20 kms to retrieve materials left behind by the work crew. The materials were confiscated and brought back to camp where they are being held until Apache and PTP agree to open up appropriate lines of communication with the Unis’tot’en. An active blockade of the territory started and a letter was delivered asserting the sovereignty of Wet’suwet’en territory and denying of consent to the pipeline project, stating that “any further unauthorized incursion into traditional Wet’suwet’en territory will be considered an act of colonialism, and an act of aggression towards our sovereignty.”

On December 6th, PTP under the cover of FNLP (First Nations Limited Partnership) held a town-hall meeting informational session at the Moricetown Band Office in an attempt to entice the community with the promise of economic benefits. The grassroots Wet’suwet’en quickly mobilized and stormed the meeting with banners, drums, and a traditional war dance. Towards the end of the meeting, Lhtat’en, an Unist’ot’en elder, speaking decisive words declared, “the Unist’ot’en have never lost any wars, and we won’t lose this one either!!” Facing overwhelming opposition and pressure from hereditary chiefs and clan members, the meeting was cut short and the FNLP reps fled without addressing the media.

Developing a Grassroots Network

The support from allies across the country during the November 27th day of action, Raising Resistance, proved that grassroots networks working together can equal or surpass the efforts of large NGO coalitions. Having money but often lacking base support, the NGO model has shown itself capable of mobilizing, and often wasting, large amounts of resources towards sensationalist one-off actions, and incapable, or uninterested, of developing meaningful relationships with communities. That is why the Unist’ot’en and Grassroots Wet’suwet’en in 2011 made the decision to turn from unhealthy, non-reciprocal NGO partnerships, and to go the grassroots direction instead looking to long-term sustained relationships for the future. In this context of looking to genuine, long-term community building, collectivist and mutual aid principles brought forward by Anarchist allies at camp have meshed well with communal indigenous practices.

Now is a crucial time to develop that spontaneous outpouring of grassroots support into a sustained solidarity network. Straight up, community awareness creates increased security for the camp. The more people that know about us and actively show support, the harder it is for government and industry to move against us.

The past and the future connect on the territory in a very important way. Hereditary chief Toghestiy explains how “the Grassroots peoples have a great potential to reverse impacts of colonization and eradicate the resultant social and spiritual poverty by continuing to show the next generations to walk with their laws. The Grassroots peoples of the Wet’suwet’en are healers, warriors, elders, hunters, fisherpeople, knowledge keepers, and are culturally driven.”

The camp and growing community at Talbits Kwa is an effort to get back to the land, and to reassert traditional practices. One of those practices is the Free Prior and Informed Consent Protocol where all visitors upon arrival wishing to enter the territory, must introduce themselves and answer questions before being granted permission to enter. This is a living assertion of traditional Wet’suwet’en law asserted via protocols such as this one for thousands of years. The Wet’suwet’en also had to present themselves as such when travelling to neighbouring peoples’ lands to conduct trade, build and maintain relationships, assist allies in battle, and attend feasts and ceremonies.

In the contemporary context, the Free Prior and Informed Consent protocol is part of an ongoing process of decolonization and harmonization. It serves as a re-actualization of natural law and a manifestation of mutual freedom and respect in moving across land and territories without state borders. It also presents an opportunity to implement a new standard of autonomy within indigenous territories, re-establishing spaces free of the existence of the state. One of the greatest necessities in addressing the global ecological crisis is the imperative to localize our economies, and this also requires us to localize our communities. As such, this new emancipatory process that the grassroots Wet’suwet’en have adopted offers an opportunity not only for political and cultural decolonization, but for the creation of healthy, local, and sustainable communities. The collective aspect of their strategy is that they are not claiming ownership over the grassroots FPIC protocol, but actively encouraging other clans, nations, and territories to do so as well.

Likhts’amisyu Chief Toghestiy speaks of harmonization as moving beyond decolonization. Having shed the social and cultural damage of the past, harmonization points toward creating a natural balance between human and the wild, and to understanding and coming into harmony with the interconnectivity of everything in the ecosystem. In other words, harmonization is the pursuit of an eco-spiritual balance. Toghestiy speaks of liberating our thoughts in order to cast aside the idea that there are superior and opposing forces. Fighting against something feeds energy to it, and so harmonization seeks to move beyond the idea and the omnipresence of capitalism and colonialism, and to live spiritually, socially, and culturally in a world that is ours, on our own terms.

Starhawk speaks of “embodying the alternative,” and Eduardo Galeano writes about finding answers to the future in the traditions of the past. That is what we are doing here. We are not just fighting to overcome the affliction of industrial consumerism, but for a way of life that is ancient and perfect. What is now unfolding on the west bank of Wedzin Kwa is not simply resistance to a pipeline and the defense of a territory, but the building and rebuilding of a radical alternative and traditional living. That is why such a strong emphasis at camp has been placed on community building and empowerment, so that organizing and resistance can be integrated into the spaces of everyday life. This is pre-figurative organizing that confronts an injustice by counteracting it with an alternative. The resistance community, therefore, is the illustration that building and creating is the most comprehensive form of resistance, that there is no separation between life, and the defense of life.

It is time to start creating communities that are both able to sustain themselves on their own terms, and able to maintain their autonomy from the ever-present threats of industry and state. Clearly it is a tall order to start a community from the ground up, and for that reason we encourage the forging of strong alliances with communities already on the ground, and new ones to come. The Unist’ot’en Camp anticipates total victory in its fight against the carbon corridor and the hope is that the success of this community can serve as an inspiration and as a demonstration of the possibilities born of strategic occupation. We expect victory to come with sacrifice and this success to come with our ability to mobilize and build relationships with the people, groups, and communities around us.

Let us unite and harmonize by always putting the earth first!

Check to donate or unistoten on facebook.

Growing The New World In Our Hearts: Radical Spaces Around the Globe

Here are some new radical spaces that we’ve heard about since we published the 2013 Slingshot Organizer plus some corrections to the organizer. Each in their own way and with their own style is an experiment. These are spaces for building physical expressions of a world where human beings, love, creativity, solidarity and the environment matter. These counter-institutions allow us to practice cooperating with others to create community — not just the carbon-copy retail wallpaper always blindly scraping for another buck.

Building something we control that operates outside capitalist limitations can be tough and many of these projects are small and struggling. They need your support. These experiments are crucial because they go beyond just talking about a new world or hoping for a new world. We demand meaningful and pleasurable lives now, not someday in the future. As the radical cafe in Istanbul, Turkey listed below puts it: “We are growing the new world in our hearts, here and now, through sharing and solidarity.”

Check the radical contact list on Slingshot’s website for the most updated list of radical contacts around the globe, and please let us know if you know of spaces not on the list or see errors we should fix:

Glenwood Coffee & Books – Greensboro, NC

A worker co-op that hosts events and organizing efforts. They feature zines and locally published hand-bound books. 1310 Glenwood Avenue Greensboro NC, 27403 336-525-1646

Nowe Miastor – New Orleans, LA

A collectively run community space with an art/performance space, a library and meeting space in a converted warehouse that hosts events. Above the space is an affordable housing coop. 223 Jane Place, New Orleans, LA 70119 
(Mail: PO Box 53011, NOLA 70153
) (504) 451-3693

Black Coffee Co-op – Seattle, WA

A worker’s co-op café with a library and infoshop that hosts community events. Open 7 days a week. 501 E. Pine St. Seattle, WA 98122

Interference Archive – Brooklyn, NY

An archive and gallery that explores the relationship between cultural production and social movements with objects that are created by social movements: posters, publications, t-shirts, buttons, photographs, audio and video. They have a study center and host talks, screenings and workshops. Open Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday. 131 8th St. #4, Brooklyn, NY 11215

Bread Uprising Bakery – Durham, NC

A bakery co-op that features sliding scale pricing for organic and vegan items. 816 Yancey Street
 Durham, NC 27701

Stone Soup Community Center – Worcester, MA

A center that houses artists, activists, non-profits, co-ops and grassroots organizations. They are re-opening after a fire. 4 King St. Worcester MA 01610

CRIC House ‘n’ Homestead – Sebastopol, CA

A rural permaculture project. CRIC stands for Cultural Rehabilitation Internship Center. No drop-ins please – contact them first if you want to visit. 13024 Green Valley Rd. Sebastopol, CA 95472 (707) 829-3551

Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space (MoRUS) – New York, NY

A museum of squatted buildings and community gardens located in what used to be C Squat. 155 Avenue C New York, NY 10009 (973) 818-8495

Willamantic Food Coop – Willamantic, CT

A food co-op. 91 Valley St. Willimantic, CT 06226
 (860) 456-3611

Durham Bike Co-op – Durham, NC

An all-volunteer community bike shop with tools where you can learn to fix bikes. 715 Washington St. ‪Durham, NC 27701‬ (919) 675-2453

The Bikery – Seattle, WA

An all-volunteer community bike project with tools and resources help people fix their own bikes. 1265 South Main St. Seattle, WA 98144 (206) 568-3535

Plan B Bikes – New Orleans, LA

A do-it-yourself bike shop with tools and parts. 1024 Elysian Fields New Orleans, LA 70116 (504) 272-PBNO (7266)

Living Energy Farm – Louisa, VA

An experimental farm project that aims to be self-sufficient without using any fossil fuels. Residents also practice income sharing. 1022 Bibbs Store Rd., Louisa VA 23093

Tahoe Cooperative Community Center – South Lake Tahoe, CA.

A 900 sq. ft space that shares with the Tahoe Wellness Center and holds events, dance & art classes, yoga, tarot readings, meditation with plans for a Free School. 3445 Lake Tahoe Blvd. S. Lake Tahoe 96150 (530) 544-8000

Acorn Community – Mineral, VA

An income-sharing sustainable egalitarian community. 12159 Indian Creek Rd. Mineral, VA 23117 (540) 894-0595

Pizza Carrello – Gillette, Wyoming

A mobile wood-fired pizza truck that acts as a gathering spot for alternative community in a very rural, isolated area. Check for each day’s location:


Hydra Bookshop – Bristol, UK

A cooperative operated radical community bookshop, coffee shop and meeting/event space that grew out of Bristol Radical History Group. 34 Old Market,
 0117 3297401

Bokkaf̩ Vulgo РGothenburg, Sweden

A queer, vegan, anarchist bookshop and cafe that hosts meetings and events. Nordhemsgatan 49, Gothenburg. +46(0)31-364 64 54

26A Collective – Istanbul, Turkey

An anarchist collective that operates a cafe and a bookstore at two locations and hosts meetings, events. Their website is translated into Farsi, Russian, Greek, Georgian, French, German, Spanish, Polish, Porteguese and contains an inspiring manifesto. Tel Sokak No: 26 / A Beyoglu / Istanbul 
(0212) 243 60 85

Errors in the 2013 Slingshot organizer

• The Bellingham Alternative has a new address and website: 306 Flora St., Bellingham, WA 98225

• Harmony House in Lincoln, NE doesn’t exist anymore.

• We published the address for the Hugo House in Seattle, WA – the project we meant to feature is/was the Zine Archive Publishing Project which Hugo has frustrated / attempted to take over. Go and check it out for yourself.

• We forgot to list The Birdhouse at 800 N 4th, Knoxville, Tennessee 37917. Sorry.

• Biblioteca Popular de Barrio in Chicago, IL has shut down.

• We got mail returned from the Front Stoop in Lincoln, NE. Not sure if they’re gone or ?

• The Sporeprint Infoshop has moved. Their new address is 979 E. 5th Ave., Columbus, OH 43201. They are now located at a building owned by the Third Hand Bike Coop.

• We got mail returned from Sister’s Camelot – it seems like their new address may be 2647 37th Ave. S. Minneapolis, MN 55406.

• Blast-o-Mat in Denver, CO morphed into two new venues, neither of which is called “Blast-O-Mat”. The original location at 2935 W. 7th Ave. is now called the Seventh Circle Music Collective. There is also a new venue called Aqualung’s Community Music Space at 4315 Delaware St.

• Hammer Time! in Fort Collins, CO has closed the 1000 E. Laurel St. location and moved their infoshop to GNU Gallery at 109 Linden St. and is changing names but we don’t have new contact info yet.

• Rag and Bones Bike co-op moved to a larger location:

3110 W. Leigh St. Richmond VA 23230. (804) 386-5692

• SPATT in Gothenburg, Sweden no longer exists.

2013 Calendar

February 14 – 18

Earth First! Winter Rendezvous Athens, OH

February 16

International Anti-Surveillance Day in solidarity with Berlin (see p. 14)

February 17

Los Angeles Zine Fest, @ Ukranian Cultural Center (4315 Melrose Ave)

February 23

International Day for Privacy

March 3

International Sex Worker’s Rights Day Look for events in your region

March 8

International Women’s Day

March 15th

International Day of Action Against Police Brutality, Corruption, and Murder Demo Birmingham, UK

March 16 – 17

Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair XVIII The Armory Community Center @ 14th & Mission, San Francisco, CA

March 17

Berkeley Anarchists Students of Theory and Research & Development (BASTARD) conference – East Bay

March 24 • 4 pm

Slingshot new volunteer meeting / article brainstorm 3124 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley

April 6 • 2 pm

Meeting to discuss how Slingshot relates to digital technology – techies welcome 3124 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA

April 15

Steal Something From Work Day

April 15

Zagreb Anarchist Book Fair Zagreb, Croatia.

April 20 3 pm

Article deadline for Slingshot #113 – send articles to

April 21 – 22

Look up! The Lyrids Meteor Shower peaks during this period

April 25

Denim Day, day to protest rape culture internationally

May 1

May Day & International Worker’s Day Ask an anarchist or an immigrant organizer about events in your area

May 12

Mother’s Day, the United States’ original anti-war holiday

May 13

Three Days of Struggle (Noise Festival) in Vittorio Veneto, Italy.

May 24 – 26

Balkans Anarchist Book Fair in Ljubljana, Slovenia

May 25 – 26

Montreal Anarchist Book Fair and Festival of Anarchy

June 8 – 9

The 37th Annual San Francisco Free Folk Festival @ Presidio Middle School (450 30th Ave @ Geary)

August 10 – 14

Joint conference of the Mycological Society of America and the American Phytopathological Society in Austin, TX

Ongoing Events

The San Francisco Critical Mass meets on the last Friday of every month at 6 pm in Justin Herman Plaza

Mynstrual Mistake and Other Slingshot Organizer Notes

Thanks to you if you bought a 2013 Slingshot organizer – selling them funds this paper and other radical projects! We still have a few copies available if you want to buy one or make a wholesale order. This year the binder made about 1,000 slightly defective pocket sized ones, so if you have ideas of ways to give free surplus copies to low-income teens or other folks who are unable to afford one, let us know. Email 

We spotted two big errors in the organizer so far:

(1) In the spiral version only, on the 3rd page of the organizer that has a full year calendar for 2013 and 2014, the title at the top says “2013” over the 2014 calendar and “2014” over the 2013 calendar. Please correct it in your copy and tell your friends.

(2) In both versions the menstrual calendar is missing some numbers towards the end of each month. The calendar still works, i.e. the order is correct – you just have to hand-write in the last few numbers for each month. Below is a corrected version that you can paste into your organizer to fix the problem. This is also on our website so tell a friend.

Believe it or not we do have a big group of proofreaders each year, but sometimes errors creep through, even though when the proofreaders finished this year, they left so many sticky notes on the layout sheets that it looked like the organizer had chickenpox.

The award for the most creative use of the organizer goes to Diane of the Origami Resource Center. She made amazing book sculptures out of a box of surplus 2012 organizers and you can see photographs on their website.

Six months ago we agreed to create an organizer “app” for the iphone and other smart phones, but we still haven’t found a programmer who can turn our ideas into reality. If you know how to program smart phone applications, let us know. We can pay the right person to do this work. Let us know if you have specific suggestions for what you would like to see in an app.

We will continue making paper versions of the organizer, too, until someone pries the scissors and pens from our cold, dead hands.

Let us know if you want to help create the 2014 organizer. We’ll work on editing the radical historical dates in May and June, do the artwork for the calendar in July, and put the whole thing together over two hectic weekends August 3 & 4 and 10 & 11. If you want to design a section of the calendar or send us historical dates, let us know by June 22. Send us information for the radical contact list, cover art or features for the back by August 3.