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Environment

These 'Tiny House Warriors' Have Occupied a Canadian Park for a Very Important Reason


An Indigenous group has parked their tiny houses in a provincial park north of Kamloops, BC, and they aren’t planning on going anywhere soon.

The Tiny House Warriors of Secwepemc Nation are occupying the land in protest of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. 

North Thompson River provincial park, located just outside of the town of Clearwater, was closed for a three-day cultural ceremony from July 6 to 9. The Indigenous group finished their traditional tattoo event and were supposed to leave on Monday, but some stayed put.

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"It's no longer a park. It's where we live. It's Secwepemc land," Kanahus Manuel, organizer and Tiny House Warrior, told CBC.

The Tiny House Warriors are an Indigenous group that aims to stop the Trans Mountain pipeline from crossing unceded Secwepemc Territory. Their plans include placing tiny houses in the way of the pipeline’s construction path. They currently have three placed in the provincial park, according to CBC.

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"We want to address some of the issues that are happening here by reclaiming our Secwepemc village site in bringing attention to the threat of the Trans Mountain Kinder Morgan pipeline. We're here at what they call the North Thompson Provincial Park, but it's unceded, unsurrendered, Secwepemc territory," Manuel said in a Facebook Live video, according to CBC.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau purchased the Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline for $4.5 million in May, sparking outrage from environmentalists and Indigenous groups.

Trudeau once promised veto power to Indigenous peoples in deciding on the pipeline’s expansion, but follow-through on this promise is lacking — many Indigenous peoples have explicitly condemned it over the last year.

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Environmentalist groups are also disappointed by the government’s decision to buy and move forward with the pipeline despite its obvious environmental concerns.

Kamloops North Thompson Liberal MLA Peter Milobar said that the Ministry of Environment should have anticipated that the group would be occupying the land after their event in the park, CBC reported.

"The province recognizes the right to engage in peaceful protest; however, [it] also recognizes that people and families who are simply wanting a camping experience in this particular park are regrettably being inconvenienced," the Ministry of Environment said in a statement.

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Trudeau argues that the purchase of the pipeline is an investment in jobs across the country. He believes the pipeline can be built without negatively impacting the environment.

Still, many Indigenous leaders have expressed concerned and pointedly have not given consent for the project. It remains to be seen how its construction might affect Canada’s reconciliation plans with Indigenous groups.