In November, heavily armed RCMP units raided Coyote Camp on Wet’suwet’en territory. They arrested and charged unarmed land defenders and two journalists.
Now the Wet’suwet’en are on high alert, with reports of RCMP officers being flown into the area and hotels booked for them. Another raid may be imminent, and it is critical that journalists are there to cover what happens.
Ricochet Media has been covering this story for several years. Journalist Jerome Turner was detained by the RCMP for eight hours for trying to cover raids that occurred in early 2020, and ultimately won the Canadian Association of Journalists’ highest honour for his “moral courage” in covering that story.
Now we’re sending Brandi Morin, an award-winning Cree, Iroquois and French journalist, to the front lines. We’re counting on your support to help cover the expenses involved in a two-week reporting trip to such an isolated area. And if we raise more than we need, we’ll put that money towards more of this kind of journalism.
Brandi will produce a feature report on the land defenders, cover a meeting later this month between Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and Indigenous allies from coast to coast to coast, and send out regular video reports as internet access allows.
Police actions make clear that she’ll face the risk of arrest just for doing her job as a journalist. She shouldn’t have to worry about gas money while she does it.
Read on for her description of why this reporting is so important.
Indigenous Peoples are in a battle of the ages to survive and protect our earth from environmental destruction caused by colonial-rooted violence and greed. This month a precedent-setting showdown involving corporate interests, governments, corruption, cops and the Wet’suwet’en in so-called British Columbia is once again escalating.
The RCMP are preparing to raid a resistance camp of the Wet’suwet’en Gidimt’en Clan just over one month after they arrested and jailed dozens of unarmed land defenders and two journalists using drones, helicopters, AK-47 rifles and attack dogs.
The years-long fight of the Wet’suwet’en clans protecting their yintah (territories) from the Coastal GasLink LNG pipeline development is one of the most important conflicts in the history of Canada.
If you haven’t noticed there is a revolution of Indigenous sovereignty and rights happening around the world, hand in hand with the escalating climate crisis. Indigenous Peoples hold cultural, spiritual and ancestral knowledge that is key to helping humanity survive climate change. Yet in Wet’suwet’en territories the traditional people are disregarded by industry and the powers that be, who are intent on clearing them off their lands to build a pipeline for profit and foreign export.
It’s my job as a journalist to amplify the stories of the vulnerable and hold power to account. Eyes and ears are needed on the ground to witness, document and relay these potentially violent police actions to the public. Mainstream media has been mostly absent in the Wet’suwet’en conflict, as has historically been the case when it comes to covering events involving Indigenous Peoples. That’s why I’m passionate about being on the ground: these stories and the people affected need to be heard.
But telling these stories is complicated — there is a troubled relationship between the media and Indigenous communities — and it’s not something journalists can be parachuted into. I’ve been covering this ongoing story for several years and am well versed in its complex dynamics. I’m passionately invested in exposing injustice, and relaying the personal hardships and victories of this struggle. Supporting an Indigenous journalist who is working to uproot and decolonize the media is an act of reconciliation. You may think this doesn’t affect you, but it does. One day, your rights could be taken away too.
We are all affected by the health of our planet, and we all value human rights and the communities we live in.
One day, the interests of billion-dollar corporations and governments could threaten to destroy your home, your land and your water sources. It’s already happening right in your backyard.
Please help me tell this story, from the front lines of Indigenous resistance.