Bomb threat made against Wet’suwet’en and Tyendinaga Mohawks as far right escalates talk of violence

An uptick in anti-Indigenous rhetoric includes calls for vigilante violence
Freda Huson, Unist'ot'en spokesperson. Photo by Jerome Turner.
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A bomb threat made against the Wet’suwet’en and Tyendinaga Mohawks comes during escalating discussions of violence among Canada’s far right, whose latest obsession is the non-violent Indigenous sovereignty movement that has dominated headlines for weeks.

The Tyendinaga Mohawks blockaded a rail line in Ontario following this month’s RCMP incursion on unceded Wet’suwet’en territory in northwestern B.C., part of a project to clear the way for the controversial Coastal GasLink pipeline.

“You and your punk friends, the Mohawk warriors, need to call off the blockades,” reads an email sent on Feb. 26 to addresses associated with the Wet’suwet’en and Tyendinaga township.

“If you don’t, you will find a bomb in your mailbox, and your parents will be in danger.

“This is a threat, you are on notice.”

The email address used to send the threat is linked to a recently suspended Twitter account, according to Anti-Racist Canada, a collective that tracks hate and extremism.

That Twitter account has lately been used to make a variety of threats, including burning reserves and physically attacking an Indigenous woman and her unborn child.

The email address was registered with ProtonMail, which said it “passed it along to our abuse team and they will investigate and take proper measures if needed.” Later ProtonMail said that the address had been deleted by the user.

Email threat sent on Feb. 26, 2020, to addresses associated with the Wet'suwet'en and Tyendinaga township.

‘We don’t trust the police’

Freda Huson is a spokesperson for the Unist’ot’en, a house of the Wet’suwet’en Nation that received the threatening email.

“We didn’t know what to make of it or what to do with it,” she said. “We don’t trust the police to actually do anything with it.”

The police did not take action after people shot guns across the bridge at the Unist’ot’en site a few years back, added Huson.

“We don’t have any faith even if we ask them to look into this stuff. ’Cause that’s serious for people to make those kinds of threats, and we don’t trust the police to do anything with it even if we did give it to them.”

The Tyendinaga township said in an email to Ricochet that the threat had been shared with the Ontario Provincial Police, and also commented, “We are not the Mohawks of Tyendinaga, we are the Township of Tyendinaga.”

According to Huson, other hereditary chiefs have also spoken of receiving threatening emails and phone calls.

A week ago Ricochet received an email with the subject “Your coverage of the blockades.” It read, “Maybe we should send the army to your office.”

Email threat sent on Feb. 20, 2020, to Ricochet Media.

‘An intense uptick in anti-Indigenous rhetoric’

Rail, road, and port blockades have occurred across the country as both Indigenous and non-Indigenous supporters of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs — who hold title to the land and have long held firm that they do not consent to the current pipeline route — demand the RCMP and Coastal GasLink retreat from Wet’suwet’en territory.

Hundreds of people have been arrested, many under injunctions, which have been obtained by parties such as Coastal GasLink, CN Rail, CP Rail, the Port of Vancouver, and even the B.C. legislature.

The Wet’suwet’en assertion of sovereignty and the solidarity movement that has sprung up around it have become a target for Canada’s far right.

“We’re seeing an intense uptick in anti-Indigenous rhetoric ranging from overt racism to calls for vigilante violence. To put it bluntly, it’s consuming the Canadian far-right social media ecosystem,” commented a member of the Anti-Racist Canada collective in a message to Ricochet.

“Peter Downing, the leader of Wexit, a recognized political party, has shared violent fantasies of defenders and protesters being harmed. The concern for real-world violence against participants of a non-violent movement is extremely high.”

Downing is a former RCMP officer whose separatist party emerged in Alberta following the fragmentation of the far-right Yellow Vest movement. He has encouraged the use of lethal force against the Tyendinaga Mohawks.

Two days of meetings

The Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs met yesterday with ministers from the B.C. and Canadian governments. A second meeting is scheduled for today.

Both Premier John Horgan and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau continue to refuse the chiefs’ request to meet.

During these two days, the RCMP has agreed to cease patrols in the area as long as the main service road remains clear, while TC Energy–owned Coastal GasLink has agreed not to engage in construction.

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