RCMP vehicles pictured at the 27-kilometre mark of Morice West Forest Service Road. The RCMP has said they have set up the check point to assure safety and mitigate concerns surrounding a number of hazardous items found in close proximity to a number of felled logs further down the road. (Trevor Hewitt photos)

Indigenous woman detained, not arrested, at northern B.C. pipeline checkpoint, RCMP say

The woman and two others told the RCMP they were delivering supplies to a camp down the road

The RCMP have released a statement following a Jan. 31 incident between officers and Gidimt’en clan member Carmen Nikal.

In the Feb. 3 release the RCMP say Nikal and two other individuals attempted to access the checkpoint in a car. They told the RCMP they were heading to a camp further down the road to drop off supplies.

Police say the driver provided their identification to officers but Nikal and the other passenger refused to.

Both passengers remained on the other side of the roadblock while access was granted to the driver.

“As the driver went through the checkpoint, she stopped on the other side,” the release said. “Both the male and female passengers attempted to cross through the checkpoint on foot. They were warned that they would be arrested for obstruction if they attempted to cross.

“The male immediately stopped, however the female passenger proceeded and a police officer advised her that she was being detained. At this point she did not continue to push her way through and turned to walk the other way. The detention immediately ended at that point and the driver returned to take both passengers to the sheltered area at the 27-kilometre mark.”

READ MORE: Gidimt’en clan condemning RCMP action after elder arrested at checkpoint

In a Feb. 1 press release, the Gidimt’en Clan condemned the arrest and voiced disappointment that the checkpoint, as well as a large police presence, was still in place within the territory.

It went on to say that as Nikal was a passenger in the vehicle she was not lawfully required to identify herself to police.

In their original release regarding the access control checkpoint the RCMP said that “occupants requesting entry” will be required to state their purpose, and provide identification.

Police say no further action is being taken by RCMP on the matter and that the access control checkpoint will remain in place as dialogue continues toward resolving disputes between the hereditary chiefs and Coastal GasLink.

To the above point, the hereditary chiefs are meeting with Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Scott Fraser for seven days of “Wiggus” — meaning respect in the Wet’suwet’en language — talks surrounding the dispute.

The hereditary chiefs say the talks are discussions, not negotiations.



trevor.hewitt@interior-news.com

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