Award-winning Indigenous journalist Brandi Morin is on the ground in Wet’suwet’en. Drilling is starting under the Wedzin Kwa river.
Right now, she needs your help to cover her expenses.
Brandi has been following this story closely for Ricochet, keeping you up to date and giving you an intimate look inside the issue.
The public needs journalists at Wet’suwet’en, but the costs of sending them are astronomical.
Brandi needs your help.
Please consider making a contribution right now.
Here’s the latest:
CGL is starting tunneling work under the waters of Wedzin Kwa, with the RCMP serving as 24/7 armed security, in order to push the pipeline project through unceded Indigenous territory.
She will be there for the next couple days. It’s not clear what will happen.
Catch up by reading Brandi’s beautiful feature on the sacred Wedzin Kwa river.
Brandi has been bringing you stories from the frontlines of this fight.
Back in the spring, Brandi reported on the Wet’suwet’en community members that were reporting daily harassment and intimidation by RCMP officers, as well as the company’s private security service. Then on June 1, BC announced it will prosecute 15 people for criminal contempt and that it is contemplating criminal charges against a further 10 people. Read Brandi’s coverage here.
For years, a conflict has been unfolding deep in the woods of northern B.C., one that pits the hereditary leadership of the Wet’suwet’en and their supporters against heavily-armed paramilitary police officers.
The Coastal GasLink pipeline is being built through Wet’suwet’en territory, and efforts to assert their sovereignty have resulted in police raids and violent repression.
The Supreme Court of Canada and the governments of British Columbia and Canada have recognized that the hereditary leadership of the Wet’suwet’en hold rights and title on their traditional territory. Despite this universal recognition of their authority, the pipeline is being pushed through without their consent.
Police violence when media cameras turn off
Ricochet has been sending Indigenous journalists like Jerome Turner and Brandi Morin to report from the frontlines of this conflict since 2020. Turner won the Canadian Association of Journalists highest honour for his “moral courage” during the 2020 raid, when he was held at gunpoint and detained for over eight hours by the RCMP.
Earlier this year, Morin spent over a week on Wet’suwet’en territory, accompanied by photojournalist (and 2021 World Press Photo of the Year winner) Amber Bracken, and produced a series of in-depth articles, including this feature on the river at the heart of the conflict and why it means so much to the people who live there.
That trip was only possible thanks to an outpouring of generosity from our readers, whose donations made that reporting possible.
Now we need your help again to keep Brandi’s reporting going.
Every donation counts
Journalism informs, it keeps people safe and it provides documentary evidence. It would be far easier for the police if they could avoid this level of scrutiny, and that’s why they have attempted to impose broad exclusion zones around raids on Indigenous land defence actions to keep media out. Courts in two provinces and the force’s own oversight body have found these exclusion zones to be unlawful, and yet the police continue to set up roadblocks and attempt to bar media.
Journalists who cover these stories are routinely threatened, intimidated, assaulted and even detained and arrested. Late last year, two journalists were arrested as they attempted to cover a police raid. They were held in jail for five days, their cameras and equipment seized and their ability to tell the story compromised.
Last summer, a consortium of media outlets (including Ricochet) took the RCMP to court over restrictions on media access at Fairy Creek, and won. During that case, an RCMP officer submitted an affidavit that falsely accused Brandi of lying to the police. Luckily, she had recorded the encounter and her recording disproved police claims. The Crown ended up acknowledging the claim was false. But imagine if she hadn’t had that recording? The accusation could have done serious damage to her career.
It does take “moral courage” to enter such a situation, and assert your right to do your job while facing down heavily-armed police officers. But it’s critical work. We, the public, need to know what happens on the frontlines of disputes between Indigenous land defenders and federal police.
The last thing Brandi should be worrying about is how she can pay for her hotel, or for gas, or her next meal.
You can help. Please consider donating today.
All donations in excess of what is needed for this trip will be held in trust and earmarked for future reporting from Wet’suwet’en. This fundraiser is organized by Ricochet Media, a non-profit national media outlet.