On Friday, August 14th, the Western Aboriginal Harm Reduction Society (WAHRS) held a rally and picket to support the Unist’ot’en Camp. The camp, located on unceded Wet’suwet’en Territory, has been under increasing pressure this summer with repeated attempts to survey traditional lands for the TransCanada pipeline.
Downtown Eastside (DTES) residents and VANDU members joined the rally under the banner, “No pipelines on stolen native land” and “People before profit.” The march arrived at the Chevron gas station via the Hastings Corridor. The corridor is latest site of Indigenous mass-displacement in Vancouver where property values in the historically low-income neighbourhood have gone up by over 300% since 2001. Rents are expected to rise further with the construction of several high-end condo towers, including a mega development at 955 E Hastings just a few blocks away from the Chevron station.
The rally and picket drew attention to the intimate links between resource extraction and real estate displacement in British Columbia. As Seb Bonet writes in the Downtown East: “To many people who are Indigenous or living with low incomes, pipelines and cranes represent the latest in a long series of displacements.” Below is a speech by Tracey Morrison, making the living connection between Indigenous resistance in rural and urban British Columbia. Tracey is the president of WAHRS and is a long-time activist in the DTES community.