Tyendinaga Mohawks say they’ve been given midnight deadline to clear camps

People stand near the blockaded train tracks in Tyendinaga, Ont., on Sunday. (Lars Hagberg/Canadian Press)

By CBC News · Posted: Feb 23, 2020

Mohawks could face possible OPP probe and charges if they don’t vacate: Kanenhariyo Seth

Ontario Provincial Police and CN Rail have told the Mohawks they have to clear their camps in Tyendinaga, Ont., by midnight ET tonight or they will face a police investigation and charges, Tyendinaga Mohawk Kanenhariyo Seth Lefort tells CBC News.

CN Rail would not confirm that a deadline had been set, and referred inquiries to the OPP.

The OPP have not yet responded to inquiries by CBC News.

An ongoing demonstration by Mohawks from Tyendinaga who have set up two camps along CN rail lines has shut down passenger and freight train traffic.

The demonstrations were launched Feb. 6, in support of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and camps built to stop construction of the $6 billion Coastal GasLink pipeline in B.C. The Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs are opposed to the natural gas pipeline because it would be constructed through their territory.

The Mohawks of Tyendinaga have said they would remain by the railway until the RCMP withdrew from Wet’suwet’en territory.

Earlier this month, B.C. RCMP enforced an injunction against those preventing contractors from accessing the area for construction.

RCMP in British Columbia moved its officers out of an outpost on Wet’suwet’en territory to a nearby detachment on Friday, but won’t stop patrolling the area — a move that partially addresses a demand set by the nation’s hereditary chiefs late last week.

Tyendinaga Mohawk Kanenhariyo, whose English name is Seth LeFort, speaks to the OPP liaison officers. (Rozenn Nicolle/Radio-Canada)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday said that barricades on rail lines and other major transportation routes must come down after two weeks of calls for patience and stalled attempts at negotiation.

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller met with the Tyendinaga Mohawks on Feb. 15 and asked them to temporarily halt the demonstrations, according to recordings of the closed-door meeting leaked to CBC News.

But a phone call from a Wet’suwet’en hereditary chief specifying that the RCMP were still on their territory undercut that request, according to the recording.

With files from Olivia Stefanovich