The article you just read was brought to you by a few thousand dedicated readers. Will you join them?

Thanks for coming by The Tyee and reading one of many original articles we’ll post today. Our team works hard to publish in-depth stories on topics that matter on a daily basis. Our motto is: No junk. Just good journalism.

Just as we care about the quality of our reporting, we care about making our stories accessible to all who want to read them and provide a pleasant reading experience. No intrusive ads to distract you. No paywall locking you out of an article you want to read. No clickbait to trick you into reading a sensational article.

There’s a reason why our site is unique and why we don’t have to rely on those tactics — our Tyee Builders program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip in a bit of money each month (or one-time) to our editorial budget. This amazing program allows us to pay our writers fairly, keep our focus on quality over quantity of articles, and provide a pleasant reading experience for those who visit our site.

In the past year, we’ve been able to double our staff team and boost our reporting. We invest all of the revenue we receive into producing more and better journalism. We want to keep growing, but we need your support to do it.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
Canada needs more independent media. And independent media needs you.

Did you know that most news organizations in Canada are owned by just a handful of companies? And that these companies have been shutting down newsrooms and laying off reporters continually over the past few decades?

Fact-based, credible journalism is essential to our democracy. Unlike many other newsrooms across the country, The Tyee’s independent newsroom is stable and growing.

How are we able to do this? The Tyee Builder program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip into our editorial budget so that we can keep doing what we do best: fact-based, in-depth reporting on issues that matter to our readers. No paywall. No junk. Just good journalism.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to be Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
We value: Our readers.
Our independence. Our region.
The power of real journalism.
We're reader supported.
Get our newsletter free.
Help pay for our reporting.
Indigenous Affairs
Rights + Justice

Three Months after Attack, Tiny House Warriors Complain of RCMP Inaction

Protest faces new challenges as First Nations leaders urge them to shut down protest camp.

Missy Johnson 3 Jul 2020 |

Missy Johnson is an intern with The Tyee as a part of the Journalists for Human Rights Emerging Indigenous Reporter program. She is a recent graduate of the Langara College journalism program.

A group fighting a Trans Mountain pipeline work camp near Blue River, B.C. say they’ve faced escalating racism since a night attack on their encampment April 19.

Kanahus Manuel, one of the Tiny House Warriors in the camp about 175 kilometres northeast of Kamloops, said she’s convinced “there was not even any attempt by the RCMP to look for these guys.”

The group says three men and a woman drove two all-terrain vehicles into the encampment in mid-April, knocked down signs, tore down red dresses used in a memorial to missing and murdered and Indigenous women, stole a truck and rammed it into a house and punched and kicked an Indigenous man.

Parts of the attack were captured on video, including images of two of the men.

Amnesty International responded to the incident with a letter to Premier John Horgan and the RCMP calling for an investigation and protection for the camp.

The Tyee reached out to the RCMP’s Clearwater department to request an interview but they declined.

Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey said in an email that the criminal investigation is still underway.

“Tip information has been received by our investigators who have been working diligently to follow up on that information in an effort to advance the still ongoing investigation,” he said. “Any further updates will be provided as they become available.”

Manuel, whose people are Secwepemc and Ktunaxa, said she hasn’t heard from the police since giving her statement in April.

Joe Killoran, a criminal defence attorney in Kamloops representing Manuel in this case, says he wants justice for the group but is uncertain the RCMP will arrest the perpetrators.

“In my mind, they’re clearly on the side of the people who come to harass the Tiny House Warriors,” he said.

Officers who visited the camp after the attack weren’t even going to take fingerprints, Manuel said, but she told them to take a beer can left behind by one of the assailants.

“But I don’t even know if they ran the fingerprints,” she said.

Manuel adds that when she gave her statement, she felt the officer’s questioning was racist, and her lawyer eventually ended the interview.

“The questions they asked put me as a suspect instead of a victim,” she said.

“There’s a way to talk to witnesses and victims, and there’s usually quite a difference,” said Killoran. “You’re trying to make victims comfortable; you’re trying to validate victims’ experiences, and the way the officer spoke to Kanahus, he was trying to catch her.”

Manuel said the group, who live in a cluster of five tiny houses on the edge of Blue River, have faced increasing racist harassment.

Residents of Blue River, a town of about 260 people on the North Thompson River, are holding regular rallies outside the camp, she said. “They want to make this a race war against us,” she said.

Killoran said those opposed to the protest are ramping up tensions. “My clients are trying to live on their ancestral homeland and these people are coming to try to provoke fights,” said Killoran.

New challenge to camp

The Tiny House Warriors faced a new challenge Thursday as chiefs from the Simpcw and Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nations called on them to shut down their protest camp.

Chief Shelly Loring of the Simpcw Nation and Rosanne Casimir of the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc released a statement condemning the “occupation and often disrespectful conduct of the Tiny House Warriors” and their “aggressive actions.”

They said the First Nations had given “their free, prior and informed consent to Trans Mountain” to build on their territories.

Manuel told the CBC she rejects the chiefs’ authority, saying its limited to their reserves.

Manuel also alleged that some businesses in the area are refusing to serve her and other people opposing the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

“We’re all being targeted just for being Indigenous land defenders,” she said. “This hate has encouraged other hate that we’re seeing right now.”

Manuel says she’s still dealing with shock from the April incident.

“I’m still dealing with the aftermath of an attacker coming to my home like that,” she said. “Since then, we’ve just had to have a lot more people here on site just for safety reasons.”

Since the incident, RCMP’s Community-Industry Response Group, a unit created to protect development projects, has been coming to Manuel’s home daily, she said. “They come here twice a day to harass us.”

Manuel posted some videos on her Twitter account showing the officers parked outside of her home and rolling their windows up as someone approaches them.

Killoran said the RCMP is targeting the group. “They’re just overpolicing her and they don’t seemingly police everybody else,” he said.

The Tiny House Warriors are a group of Indigenous pipeline opponents whose tactics include building tiny homes on the pipeline route.

“Symptoms of colonization disappear once we have access to our territory and the wealth of our lands,” Manuel said. “All we need is our land and we’re able to heal ourselves, we’re able to organize within ourselves in our own autonomous ways.”

That’s already happening in the Tiny House Warrior camp, she said.

“We’re off the grid here and we’re able to sustain ourselves here on a small scale and we want to show native people that we can do this anywhere we want on our land,” she said. “That’s why they fear us, because we’re going to shift the way people think.”

“With the level of racism that’s being exposed throughout the world, it’s also encouraging hate as well, I believe, and I feel like it’s spilling out onto our camp,” she said.

Killoran asked the RCMP in an email whether officers would do something about the “escalating level of hostility directed towards my clients by angry visitors,” calling the April incident a “white supremacist attack.”

The RCMP responded by saying they didn’t believe the men in the video would be considered white supremacists.

“The RCMP has traditionally been the enforcer of white supremacy in Canada and I guess in that context, I’m not surprised he finds it difficult to recognize,” said Killoran.  [Tyee]

Share this article

The Tyee is supported by readers like you

Join us and grow independent media in Canada

Facts matter. Get The Tyee's in-depth journalism delivered to your inbox for free.

Tyee Commenting Guidelines

Do not:

  •  Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully, threaten, name-call or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, downvote, or flag suspect activity
  • Attempt to guess other commenters’ real-life identities


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls and flag violations
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Stay on topic
  • Connect with each other

The Barometer

What Issue Is Most Important to You This Election?

Take this week's poll