Corridors of Resistance: Stopping Oil and Gas Pipelines
By Leah Temper
Corridors of Resistance is about the inspiring Unisto’ot’en campaign in northwest British Columbia to block the intrusion of oil and gas companies on their territory. This has to be the most effective grassroots challenge I’ve seen to the supposedly unchallengeable oil and gas industry.
Although the Unisto’ot’en never ceded their territory by treaty, British Columbia and the former Harper government illegally granted seven oil and gas companies concessions for ten pipelines. The purpose of the pipelines is to carry tar sands condensate, fracked natural gas and liquefied natural gas to Pacific seaports.
The right of Unisto’ot’en to occupy their unceded traditional lands was recognized by the Canadian high court in 1997.
The Canadian indigenous group isn’t merely protecting their land rights. They also have major concerns about the health and environmental effects of fracking and tar sands mining. Studies show people living adjacent to these activities are dying of cancer and losing livestock owing to air and water contamination. Likewise a pipeline spill or leak could wipe out the salmon and animals they hunt, which would be catastrophic to their survival.
The Unisto’ot’en also worry about Canada’s excessive reliance on fossil fuels and the threat it poses to climate stability.
Many “colonized” (ie city dwelling) Unisto’ot’en, as well as European supporters, are moving back to their traditional land to help maintain the blockade.
My favorite part is the scenes in which Unist’ot’en women confront oil and gas workers who attempt to enter their territory and turn them away.