In the wake of drilling under the sacred Wedzwin Kwa river, Gidimt’en Checkpoint Land Defenders asked settlers on a massive 800 person zoom call to organize actions at RBC Branches on Nov 5 to support the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and their fight against the Coastal GasLink pipeline.
Over 40 people registered actions on the action map, and 500 people RSVP’d online to these actions. The quality of the actions themselves are an encouraging sign of the enduring solidarity with Gidimt’en checkpoint.
In Vancouver and Victoria, hundreds of people turned out amidst a flurry of activity targeted at MLA’s and RBC. In Montreal, a good crowd marched down the street, stopping by at multiple RBCs, as another protested RCMP headquarters and others staged a creative action at the Habs game.
In Toronto, two separate demonstrations drew crowds and high profile guests such as Indigenous Land Defender Layla Staats. Guelph fundraised $2,000 for Gidimt’en at their event(!) And all across the country, from coast to coast, Kill the Drill saw impressive and creative actions by many dedicated activists from different walks of life.
After the day of action, dozens of action takers will form new groups that “adopt” local RBC branches, joining many others in informing their community and customers about the struggle for the Yintah, hosting regular actions, fundraising, or doing whatever is needed. (Actions are usually recorded on Twitter and Instagram and tagged to Yintah Access.)
Group launchers will read a toolkit explaining how to proceed and emphasizing the importance of setting goals. And they will work with a coach and take many trainings. What we are seeing is that there is much to learn, from allyship principles to basic organizing skills such as planning your ladder of engagement and structuring teams for care and resilience.
To us, the day of action confirms that momentum for supporting Gidimt’en Checkpoint’s struggle for sovereignty remains high. From coast to coast, allies continue to be inspired by the Land Defenders’ stance and continue to be prepared to step up to support them.
There are 1,200 RBC branches in this country. By working together, Land Defenders and allied organizers stand a chance of seeing hundreds of them “adopted”.
So long as Gidimt’en Checkpoint stands and fights, so too will their allies. Days of action like Kill the Drill, followed by organizing and absorption, aim to create a standing army of allies who can mobilize when needed. Together, we are building capacity to impose massive costs on whoever backs land stealing pipelines and discourage existing and further theft of the Yintah.
Allies thank Gidimt’en Checkpoint Land Defenders for their resolve as well as their trust and patience with them. Building mass political participation that remains accountable to the frontlines is hugely challenging. It can also be hugely powerful.