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Five arrested, but at least four won’t see charges from Fairy Creek camp

RCMP dismantled Sassin Camp, left one arrestee with a concussion

By Zoë Ducklow
July 1, 2022
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Five arrested, but at least four won’t see charges from Fairy Creek camp

RCMP dismantled Sassin Camp, left one arrestee with a concussion

By Zoë Ducklow
Jul 1, 2022
Photo from Sassin Camp
Photo from Sassin Camp
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Five arrested, but at least four won’t see charges from Fairy Creek camp

RCMP dismantled Sassin Camp, left one arrestee with a concussion

By Zoë Ducklow
July 1, 2022
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Five arrested, but at least four won’t see charges from Fairy Creek camp

On Wednesday morning RCMP moved to dismantle a blockade camp that had been re-established in the Fairy Creek Watershed, and arrested five people. One ended up in hospital  as a result of the arrest, and two others were held overnight waiting a bail hearing. 

Then on Thursday morning as they were being prepared for transfer to Victoria, the BC Prosecution Service said they would not press charges on four of the five arrestees. The 18-year-old girl who was released from custody to go to the hospital says she has a concussion and a potential charge of being in contempt of court.

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Sassin Camp was established in early June, with supporters saying they were asked to be there by elders and members of the Ditidaht First Nation, on whose territory the camp is located. They describe themselves as an Indigenous-led movement “focusing on Indigenous sovereignty as well as environmental protection.”

The elected Ditidaht chief Brain Tate disagrees. He visited the camp on June 23 with leaders Huu-ay-aht and Pacheedaht, RCMP Community-Industry Response Group (C-IRG), BC government representatives, and representatives from the Tsawak-qin Forestry Limited Partnership—a 35/65 partnership between Huu-ay-aht First Nations and Western Forest Products—to ask the blockaders one last time to leave.

“As Indigenous governments, it is our responsibility to decide what is best for our lands, our waters, our resources, and the wellbeing of present and future generations,” Tate said in a statement. “The unauthorized encampment disrespects our right to walk with pride between the traditional and modern worlds, to protect our culture and to explore economic opportunities for the common good and benefit.”

Huu-ay-aht elected chief Robert Dennis Sr. agreed, asking protestors to give Indigenous leaders time to implement the new Indigenous-led integrated resource management planning approach they’ve been working on over the last year. 

“It is time to respect our constitutionally protected Aboriginal Title, Aboriginal Rights and Treaty Rights so that we can focus on these win-win stewardship solutions to heal our lands, our waters and our people for the benefit of our current and future generations,” Dennis said.

Sassin Camp occupiers say those leaders haven’t consulted the people, however. "The people they are supposed to consult with are the ones asking us to be here. We are planning on staying. This is where we are asked to be. This is where we are defending the forests. We are a nonviolent action."

Days later, RCMP returned with teams of officers to dismantle the camp, and arrested five people for breaching the injunction order granted to Teal-Cedar Products Ltd. 

The two people who were held overnight are Whale Tail Jones who is Pacheedaht, and Raven Brascoupe, Anishnaabe from near Quebec. Both were regulars at the Fairy Creek Watershed  blockade camps last year. 

Rani Earnhart, a spokesperson for the Rainforest Flying Squad legal team speculated that the charges would not have stuck because Sassin Camp is so far outside of the area Teal Jones has a licence to log. The camp is in an area east of Nitinat Lake and south west of Lake Cowichan, where Western Forestry Products operates with the Tsawak-qin Forestry Limited Partnership.

Article Author's Profile Picture
Zoë Ducklow
Reporter, The Westshore

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