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Clan members believe that energy companies are gathering information to obtain a court injunction, which would oblige police to force the roads open in order to ensure that pipeline crews can work unimpeded.

On two occasions, helicopters carrying Trans Canada crews were found entering the traditional territory without permission.

Outside the cabin, a community thrives in the pipelines’ paths.

A permaculture garden, a solar-powered electric grid, a bunkhouse, elders’ trailers, campgrounds, a root cellar, a traditional Wet’suwet’en pithouse and a two-story healing center with an industrial kitchen and counseling space have all been built with crowd-sourced funds and volunteer labor.

While the government maintains that First Nations must be consulted about development — though they ultimately lack veto power — by controlling access to their traditional territories, the Unist’ot’en clan is attempting to require that the government gain “consent for any activities and development that take place,” as the clan put it in an Aug. “The Unist’ot’en do not recognize or honor any permits by provincial or federal regulatory or governing bodies related to our unceded traditional territories,” read a letter sent by the clan to pipeline giant Trans Canada.

“We honor only our traditional law and are guided by our ancestors’ direction to protect our territories from destruction.” Since June, the hereditary chiefs of the Unist’ot’en clan and dozens of supporters have physically impeded the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and Trans Canada and Chevron pipeline work crews from entering the territory.

As pipeline crews have increased their presence throughout the region, so too have the RCMP.

“We’re here to talk to you about doing work on your land and are requesting access onto your territory,” said pipeline vice president Rod Maier.To access these roads, visitors are required to answer five questions posed by a clan representative: “Who are you? ” “Do you work for industry or government that’s destroying our land? ” and “How will your visit benefit the Unist’ot’en? Though loggers, tree planters and a guide outfitter have been granted access to the territory since the clan instituted this protocol, pipeline contractors have been turned away.Throughout June, safety officers and Trans Canada crew members, some wearing body cameras, repeatedly approached the boundary and asked camp supporters their names and if crews would be in danger if they entered the territory.In the first stop, an officer rested his hands in the vehicle and indicated that he had prior intelligence on Rhyno.At the next, officers pointed a camera into the vehicle and photographed me in the backseat.

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