At St-Édouard-de-Maskinongé on October 15, 2021, a group of non-Indigenous persons blocked the CN railway connecting Montreal to Abitibi and to Saguenay-Lact-St-Jean for a little over an hour. The action was carried out as a gesture in solidarity with the stewards of the land of the Wet'suwet'en people struggling against the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline on their ancestral territories in so-called British Columbia.
On Saturday October 9, 2021, an encampment set up on the land by the community was violently destroyed by the colonial police force known as the RCMP. The blockade at Edouard-de-Maskinongé marked the outer limits of tolerance for the Canadian government's colonial violence, and a response to the Gidimt'en clan's call for solidarity actions. A banner with the inscriptions "Solidarity with the Wet'suwet'en people and the Gidimt'en clan" and "#AllOutForWedzinKwa" was unfurled and a fire was lit near the railway.
"The fire symbolizes a vigil, a reminder of the colonial state, and the apparatus of extraction on which we are keeping watch. It is a reminder that we denounce its violent actions against the Earth and the peoples that protect Her. This railway was chosen for being a major artery in the transportation of minerals, wood, and other materials extracted from unceded territories throughout so-called Abitibi and Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean, a true cash cow for capitalism!" – A demonstrator and member of the comité des Feux-Follets.
Let's not forget that Coastal GasLink (CGL) is currently constructing a 670 Km pipeline that cuts through the traditional territory of the Wet'suwet'en, and that it is proceeding to do so without their consent. For over 15 years, the community and its allies have been vehemently battling this intrusion into their lands. In 2020, solidarity actions took the shape of blockades that incapacitated the Canadian economy. As soon as the COVID-19 pandemic became the sole focus of the media, the company resumed pipeline installation activity at an accelerated pace, in collusion with the colonial state. Additionally, the acts of violence that were being perpetrated by the RCMP and CGL's security agents against Wet'suwet'en peoples continued, and still continue today, as evidenced by the destruction of encampments and healing centres, numerous arrests, and the use of electrocution by taser. In spite of all of this, the stewards of the land stand strong and resist.
"Our way of life is at risk...Wedzin Kwa feeds all of Wet'suwet'en territory and gives life to our nation" – Sleydo, Gidimt'en correspondant.
The week of action continues up until October 15. Other solidarity actions have been appearing all over so-called Canada.