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Exclusive – Native Protest Has Evolved Into Stopping Colonialism

A Native protest that started out as a act of solidarity for the Wet’suwet’en people has evolved into something more in Tyendinaga.

The protest at the CN Rail railway crossing on Wyman Road in Tyendinaga Township started on Thursday, February 6, 2020.

Initially protesters demanded RCMP leave Wet’suwet’en land they “invaded” after arresting a number of people in response to a controversial gas line running through their territory by Coastal GasLink.

Since February 6, there has been no CN Rail or VIA trains pass by the crossing east of Belleville shutting down Canada’s busiest rail corridor.

A court injunction delivered by OPP liaison officers along with the Sheriff's office was read, and posted on a railway signal.

Andrew Brant who is Mohawk and lives in Tyendinaga spoke to Today’s Northumberland on Sunday and said, “it’s evolved into our right to live, be equal, be sovereign people, be everything we stand for.”

On Sunday, a number of supporters parked their vehicles on the north side of the rail crossing and walked over to the camp. Some with children. Indigenous people welcomed each one as if they were part of their own family.

Natives educated their guests by telling them stories and the history of Indigenous people in Canada.

The camp on the south side of the railway has grown each day with more trailers and tents.

On the north side, there has been two OPP officers at the end of Wyman Road and County Road 2.

Today’s Northumberland was the only photojournalist at the scene when two liaison members of the OPP met with Mohawk warriors at 4 p.m. on Sunday, February 16, 2020.

The meeting lasted for approximately 10 minutes before both parties left.

Another meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Monday.

The protesters who asked to be called “protectors” have always said there is no spokesperson for the group – no leader.

Brant said, “everything is still at a standstill.”

‘It started out as a solidarity act with the Wet’suwet’en people.”

“Then everybody started to say, “hey, you know what, this is the real thing and we need to stand up and stop this Colonialism.”

“It’s sad to say that reconciliation is over, but I do need to ensure that there is peace here all the time.”

A frustration for the protesters is some of the media twist words and lie.

From the start, media has been calling it a blockade, but Brant reiterates – it isn’t.

“It’s absolutely not a blockade. We didn’t shut the tracks down. CN did. They lied to the judge to get the injunction obviously because the tracks have never been blocked.”

“If they want to get in (to the camp) that’s great, but so far, it hasn’t been great.”

Brant said the talks with Canada’s Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller were “very long – but we’ll get there some day.”

Today’s Northumberland will endeavor to bring any updates concerning the protest.

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