Updated: July 16
RCMP officers arrested Indigenous pipeline protester, Kanahus Manuel, after her group took over North Thompson River Provincial Park about a week ago, erecting tiny houses along the pipeline expansion route.
In a release issued July 14 by Secwepemc Women’s Warrior Society the group said it was outraged by her arrest, calling it a declaration of war.
“While there is much talk by the federal government about respecting Indigenous rights and reconciliation, the Trans Mountain buy-out expansion and arrest of Secwepemc Woman Warrior Kanahus Manuel is a declaration of war,” read the statement.
“We are Secwepemc women. We are still here. We are unafraid.”
Led by Manuel, the Tiny House Warriors moved into the Clearwater park from July 6 to 9 for a tattooing ceremony, closing it down to other campers, according to the Ministry of Environment.
However, Manual and others remained at the park, saying they are occupying it in protest against the contentious Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.
On Tuesday, wooden houses on truck beds were seen being moved through the park entrance.
JUST IN: Tiny homes being placed inside North Thompson River Provincial Park near #ClearwaterBC, as Tiny House Warriors have brought in 3 homes and apparently constructing more. More to come. @BlackPressMedia
Images: Kanahus Manuel pic.twitter.com/kH4Qb7VH0c
— Ashley Wadhwani (@ashwadhwani) July 11, 2018
Manuel said at the time they had moved into the site and would be building additional tiny houses on the land – action approved by the hereditary chiefs of the Secwepemc First Nation.
She said Indigenous land defenders within the group will resist the construction of the pipeline through their territory.
In a livestream on Facebook Saturday, RCMP officers were seen near the entrance of the provincial park before placing Manuelin handcuffs.
Snutetkwe Manuel said on Twitter that her twin sister has been charged with mischief after the group refused to leave the park.
B.C. RCMP spokesperson Dawn Roberts said Saturday that to her knowledge no charges had been laid at the time.
A later statement by RCMP said Manuel was released from custody that afternoon on a series of conditions, as well as a promise to appear in court at a later date.
RCMP said additional members of the protest were told they could leave the park on their own or be arrested themselves.
How can the province of British Columbia, BC provincial parks evict Secwepemc from their own village site. This is CODE RED!!! WE need witnesses and observers, if they choose to remove Secwepemc it would amount to genocide, forceful remove Indigenous Peoples. pic.twitter.com/eD0NkXqOSc
— Kanahus Manuel (@KanahusFreedom) July 13, 2018
In a statement to Black Press Media, the ministry of public safety said parks staff had attempted to come to a “peaceful resolution” with those occupying the park.
“We understand that people are passionate about this issue,” a ministry spokesperson said. “While we respect people’s right to express themselves peacefully, it is important to do so within the law.”