Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Indigenous land defender Stacy Gallagher (right) was sentenced to 90 days in jail after performing a ceremony along the Trans Mountain pipeline route in British Columbia. (Photo: Rita Wong)

Indigenous land defender Stacy Gallagher (right) was sentenced to 90 days in jail after performing a ceremony along the Trans Mountain pipeline route in British Columbia. (Photo: Rita Wong)

'A Disgrace': First Nation Pipeline Opponent Gets 90 Days in Jail After Ceremony Along Trans Mountain Route

"Gallagher is one of more than 200 people, many Indigenous, who have been arrested for mobilizing against the $12.6 billion pipeline."

Kenny Stancil

"A disgrace." 

That's how Canadian author and activist Naomi Klein reacted Tuesday to the news that Stacy Gallagher, an Indigenous land defender, had been sentenced to 90 days in jail after being arrested in 2019 for performing a ceremony along the Trans Mountain pipeline route in British Columbia. 

First reported by VICE, which was informed of Gallagher's plight by a source close to him, the three-month prison sentence handed down by judge Shelley Fitzpatrick comes "despite a new policy that urges prosecutors to avoid jail time for Indigenous peoples if it's under two years," an initiative "geared towards protecting Indigenous peoples from a biased justice system."

According to VICE:

On Tuesday, Stacy Gallagher, 58, appeared in court after being convicted last year with criminal contempt. Gallagher, along with Indigenous elder Jim Leyden, was charged after spending time along the Trans Mountain pipeline route on three separate occasions between November and December of 2019—at times performing ceremonies and always peaceful, two fellow land defenders said.

Gallagher is one of more than 200 people, many Indigenous, who have been arrested for mobilizing against the $12.6 billion pipeline. Since 2018, Trans Mountain has had an injunction that makes it illegal for people to obstruct construction along the pipeline's route. It's up to the company to report activities in breach of the injunction, and police to enforce it. Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart and former federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May have been arrested for protesting it as well.

According to Trans Mountain's injunction, RCMP officers have to follow five steps when enforcing the injunction, including notifying people on site they are in breach of the law and giving them time to leave without arrest. But Gallagher and Leyden were charged weeks after they were on site.  

Eugene Kung, a staff attorney with West Coast Environmental Law who is not part of Gallagher's legal team, told VICE: "From what I understand...the arrest and charges were based solely on video evidence, meaning there was never a notice of warning given."

"There were other non-Indigenous folks there, also presumably caught on camera but now not caught up in the contempt proceedings," Kung added. "So, is there a degree of (anti-Indigenous) targeting happening? That, to me, is a fair question to ask."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

UN Chief Urges Global Solidarity on Covid, Climate, and Debt Relief

"The last two years have demonstrated a simple but brutal truth, if we leave anyone behind, in the end, we leave everyone behind," said the secretary-general at the opening of the virtual Davos summit.

Jessica Corbett ·


Sinema's MLK Day Tweet Sparks Online Fury

One group criticized the Democratic senator from Arizona as "the white moderate MLK warned us about."

Andrea Germanos ·


Why Did Democratic AG Kill Flint Water RICO Case?

"Political corruption poisoned Flint and political corruption shielded the wrongdoers from accountability," said one critic following new revelations.

Kenny Stancil ·


Progressives Counter Cherry-Picked Quotes With MLK's True Legacy

Calling out those who have "weaponized" his words "to justify legislated white supremacy," Rep. Ayanna Pressley said King "was a radical dreamer with a bold vision for revolutionary change."

Jessica Corbett ·


'No Celebration Without Legislation': King Family Leads Voting Rights March

"I will not accept empty promises in pursuit of my father's dream," said Martin Luther King III.

Andrea Germanos ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo