The Unis'ot'en (People of the Headwater) are a Native tribe of the Wet’suwet’en territory based out of Northern British Columbia. The tribes that reside there have recently been harassed by police and bribed by various oil companies such as Chevron, Trans Canada, and Endbridge Inc. to gain access to their land. Events such as these have begun since 2009, but during this past summer, three companies have been pursing on a frequent basis. Chevron has plans to expand their Pacific Trail Pipeline Project into the territorial lands where the natives reside. The Unis'ot'en people thrive on the land where they heavily rely on their resources of blueberries, medicine, and salmon. These oil companies intend on building a new gas pipeline in the way of these resources. This would force the Unis'ot'en people to move out of their current homes to reestablish a new means of survival. As profitable it can be for prosperous oil companies to expand their business and resources, the Unis'ot'en would be the ones leaving empty handed. This is why people such as Freda Huson have been actively standing her ground to preserve the right to govern her territory. She has stood up to numerous police officers and oil company employees to prevent them from gaining access to her grounds. Because the Unis'ot'en were lacking support, the head chiefs of all 5 tribes united together to show their support against the Pipeline Project. Although these companies have been rejected numerous times, companies such as Chevron are keen on continuing their Pacific Trail Pipeline Project by excavating the land.
Throughout the years, companies and local authorities have been attempting to gain permission to explore the land, but overtime they find resistance from The Unis'ot'en. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have persistently been on the camp grounds stopping the natives such as Freda to show and provide license and registration. The police department had a report leaked back in February 2015 that stated, "Violent extremists" in "Northern British Columbia." Even though none of the tribe members have acted by any means in any violent measures, "The police feel threatened and worried". said Sgt. Steven Rose of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police department who told Freda that "the actions of one of your people was inappropriate to stand in front of the police and tell them that they cannot cross the bridge." Freda in response stated, " We do not need prove to you that this is our land. It always has been and always will be. You need to prove to us why they think they can access our land." Because the Unis'ot'en never signed a treaty with the Canadian government, by law the government or private interests need proper permission to access their land.
The oil industry produces many of the top businesses in the world. Chevron sits as the 16th most prosperous business in the industry, generating $200 billion in revenue. Oil is indisputable one of the most valuable resources next to water. It has become the dominantly used resource for most of the machines, factories and vehicles that we use today. Without oil, business companies and vehicles would fail to operate thus creating an economic and surely a global crisis. Although there are alternative resources that could take over the industry, oil continues to stay at the top. Many of these oil companies are utilizing fracking. The method of fracking has been extremely controversial as reports stirred into the news of the catastrophic environmental damage can leave behind. Many states across the country have engaged in fracking methods for extracting new sources of oil. For those unfamiliar with fracking, it is a process of drilling into the earth with a mixture of water, sand and chemicals at high pressure into a rock to release the gas out to the head of the well. The problem is that fracking is 80% more carbon intensive than conventional natural gas. This thus pollutes the earth and water which then harms the nearby communities that utilize the resources affected by the fracking. There have also been reports of low size magnitude earthquakes caused by the fracking. Due to the awareness of the harmful effects of fracking, many cities have stood up for fracking bans. Unfortunately there has been a repeal of law for this ban by congress, in many states recently such as Oklahoma and Texas. No matter how hard the citizens of these victimized communities and cities try to ban fracking, they cannot stop these major corporations and businesses from continuing. At this point, four of the most prosperous oil companies such as BP, Shell, Exxon and Chevron, have all been charged with different environmental disasters and chemical spills around the globe. The companies usually come out with a public statement of what happened slapped with a vague and empty apology. Eventually the courts settle the accident with a large fine assessment and nothing more. Five years after one of the worst oil spills in our country, BP was set to pay $18.7 billion, being the largest environmental fine in US history. Despite all the wildlife and communities that were affected, no one from the company was jailed. Yet an ordinary citizen can go to jail for growing vegetable in their own land without a permit. Native Americans have forcefully seeded their territories and lands for centuries now as other settles always seem to find hidden treasures that seemingly so must be more valuable than culture and the well being of the environment.
The overall mission of all these oil companies are to expand on a global scale. This will require them to excavate domestic and foreign land, whether life inhibits in it or not. When engaging in their expansion projects, as far as the Unis'ot'en territory case goes, controversy is usually the outcome. The Unis'ot'en tribe have done a tremendous job in exercising their rights and preserving their territory, but back in June, Chevron got the approval by the First Nations Limited Partnership to start clearing a path for their project. One thing and only one thing is clear at this point, and that is that the safety and stability of the Unis'ot people and their rights to keep their land intact, is very uncertain.
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