Press Release: Land Defenders chain themselves to Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion (TMX) boring tunnel to protect sacred Secwépemc territory

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For Immediate Release

Dec 11, 2023

Land Defenders chain themselves to Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion (TMX) boring tunnel to protect sacred Secwépemc territory

Pípsell (Peepselth) also known as Jacko Lake, unceded Secwépemc territory -- Cree land defender, Khursten Bullock and allied land defender, Cassie Fox, chained themselves to the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion (TMX) boring tunnel on sacred Secwépemc territory early in the morning of Sunday December 10. In accordance with ceremonial protocol, they laid tobacco into the pipeline tunnel, 50’ below the earth’s surface.

They were there in response to TMX’s betrayal of three years’ of negotiation with Stk’emlupsemc te Secwépemc Nation (SSN). Pípsell has been a cultural keystone area since time immemorial, with profound spiritual meaning. The lake is inseparably connected to the creation story, Trout Children Stseptékwll. The area holds numerous sacred burial grounds and provides crucial habitat for many endangered species and medicinal plants.

On Oct 25, 2023, the indigenous-led Unceded Law Response Group (ULRG) issued a Cease and Desist Order to TMX, the Crown and all affiliates. Work continued unabated, however.

On Sunday morning, the heavily fortified TMX construction site was breached under cover of darkness. “It took more than 30 minutes for security to even notice us,” said Cassie Fox, speaking with a local reporter as they were chained to equipment. Having consulted with Secwépemc allies and supportive elders, the activist's mission centered around offering tobacco into the borehole. As a respectful way of asking for assistance from Mother Earth, we sought to invoke the SSN law, X7ensq't, which says that if you disrespect the land, the land and the sky will turn on you.

Elder Barb Larson, Skeetchestn Band, a representative from SSN said "Our land is our future and that's what we're fighting for."

On Saturday December 9 a sacred fire was lit at the public boat launch area of Pípsell. In a recent release by the ULRG (, Commissioner Mike McKenzie said, “This sacred fire is being conducted in accordance with Indigenous, Secwépemc and Séliš law, and is being done .. to hold vigil and request help from our spirit world at this time.”

McKenzie continued: “The Secwépemc peoples have never ceded, sold, or surrendered this land. Trans Mountain’s work is an illegal occupation of these territories”. The proper title holders never gave their consent, nor have they ever been convened to review the project. Trans Mountain pursued its agenda without free, prior and informed consent.

For images and interviews please contact:

Mike McKenzie, Commissioner of the Unceded Law Response Group (ULRG), 250-514-7694

Cassie Fox, land defender, Protect The Planet,