Skip to content

‘I’m not leaving’: Protesters halt sewage infrastructure project in Sooke

No end in sight for blockade
(L to R) Family friend and supporter Dianne Carter and Kati George-Jim, one of the organizers along with her mother, Charlene George, who is away for a funeral, at the site of a blockade aimed at halting construction of sewage infrastructure and a proposed subdivision on McMillan Road. (Rick Stiebel - Sooke News Mirror)

A blockade on T’Sou-ke Nation land appears to have no end in sight.

Protesters led by Charlene George, whose ancestral name is kQwa’st’not, and her daughter, Kati George-Jim, wis-waa-cha, are determined to halt work on sewage and wastewater infrastructure for a planned subdivision at the end of McMillan Road.

George-Jim said they just learned about the work on Aug. 16 and are supported by many family members who live on McMillan Road, plus other family and community members.

“We don’t need (the blockade) to be super big,” she said in an interview at the site Monday (Aug. 21). “We don’t do anything alone in our family and their support is very important. We really appreciate the kind words and food we’ve received.”

George-Jim noted the T’Sou-ke band administrator dropped off a sizeable amount of paperwork that the band believes is relevant.

“In our opinion, there was no input from the community or any schematics or plans for the subdivision,” she said. “Some reports dated back to 2008 and don’t capture current conditions and the climate crisis we’re experiencing. I’m here not as a band member but as an Indigenous person with ancestral ties to the land. This is our summer village. This land contains basket-weaving grass, which is an integral part of our culture, cat tails, skunk cabbage, and wetlands. Those are just a few examples of what we’re trying to protect, as well as an ecosystem that would help absorb water if there was flooding or a tsunami.”

ALSO READ: Work begins on health centre in Sooke owned and operated by T’Sou-ke Nation

George-Jim admitted it’s difficult when you feel like you’ve created division in your family and community when it comes to issues about land.

“When it comes to the land, however, that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop standing up (for the land). Indian reserves are segregated land under the Indian Act. We were put here to displace us from our territorial land, but that does not mean we don’t live here, and I’m not leaving.”

T’Sou-ke Nation Chief Gord Planes and the T’Sou-ke Nation band administrator could not be reached for comment before the Sooke News Mirror’s deadline.

About the Author: Rick Stiebel

Read more