Chief Dsta’hyl Arrested Upholding Wet’suwet’en Law
OCT 28, 2021 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
UNCEDED LIKHTS’AMISYU TERRITORY – HOUSTON, BC – On October 27, Likhts’amisyu Hereditary Chief Dsta’hyl was arrested and forcibly removed from unceded Likhts’amisyu territory, along with Kolin Sutherland-Wilson of the Gitxsan Git’luuhl’um’hetxwit wilp. Sutherland-Wilson was released on October 27, and Dini ze’ Dsta’hyl was held overnight and released October 28.
After Coastal Gaslink (CGL) private security illegally blocked Likht’samisyu people from their own land, Dini ze’ Dsta’hyl led a 4-day reclamation campaign throughout his territory along the pipeline route and following the historic Kweese War Trail. In observance of Wet’suwet’en trespass laws, Dini ze’ Dsta’hyl decommissioned 10 pieces of heavy construction equipment.
Tsakiy Ze’ Tse Besa, who manages the Likhts’amisyu territory of Lho Kwa (Glacier River), was unable to witness the arrests after being blocked by CGL’s heavy machinery on a public roadway. CGL has been reprimanded by provincial regulators for unlawfully denying Wet’suwet’en people access to their own unceded lands.
“We’re dealing with a snake with no head. CGL, LNG Canada, Enbridge – none of them have top executives come and talk to us and negotiate with us,” stated Dini ‘ze Dsta’hyl. “Our goal is to have CGL remove all of the pipe… and reclaim all of the Likhts’amisyu territory, on both ends, that they did so much degradation to.”
RCMP, along with a large convoy of Coastal Gaslink vehicles, were blocked for several hours on neighbouring Gidimt’en territory while removing Dsta’hyl and Sutherland-Wilson. Supporters of Gidimt’en felled trees across the road and set them ablaze, blocking and evicting CGL security.
Likhts’amisyu is one of five clans of the Wet’suwet’en nation, who were never meaningfully consulted and have never given consent to fossil fuel projects proposed to cross their unceded lands. In January 2020, Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs (including several Likhts’amisyu chiefs) issued an eviction notice to CGL and its employees, resulting in nationwide solidarity actions and the immediate eviction of CGL workers from Wet’suwet’en lands.
On October 17, Lihts’amisyu Enforcement Officers — including Chiefs Tsebesa and Dsta’hyl — warned CGL employees they were trespassing and their equipment would be subject to seizure. Subsequently, Dini ze’ Dsta’hyl decommissioned an excavator, prompting CGL to remove all remaining heavy equipment from the Parrot Lake area in Likhts’amisyu territory.
CGL has damaged wetlands that flow into Parrot Lake, where Likhts’amisyu Chiefs and members have reclaimed a traditional village site and established a community.