Tiny House Warriors build homes to protest pipeline plans

They call themselves the Tiny House Warriors, and they are using tiny houses to stand up against the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline.
Mayuk Manuel and her partner Isha Jules standing next to a tiny house they helped build. (Stephanie Cram/CBC)

They call themselves the Tiny House Warriors, and they are using tiny houses to stand up against the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline.

The build site is in the heart of the Secwepemc territory in British Columbia, 50 kilometers east of Kamloops, in Mayuk Manuel's backyard. She and her twin sister Kanahus Manuel started the Tiny House Warriors. 

The Tiny House Warriors install the outer wall of the tiny house. (Stephanie Cram/CBC)

They plan to built 10 tiny homes, and once complete, they will place them along the pipeline route in the Secwepemc territory — to deter the construction of the pipeline.

"We are using these tiny houses to go and stop the destruction, so we can begin to heal, and Mother Earth can begin to heal from the genocide that's been done on our land and our people," said Mayuk Manuel.

The completed tiny house, covered in murals. (Stephanie Cram/CBC)

The build site is noisy, not only because of the constant sawing and hammering, but because it's right next to the Trans-Canada highway, and the train tracks.

Manuel said that the train passes by several times a day, and is a reminder of why they need to stop the pipeline.

"In the background you hear all the destruction, these are empty trains going by right now on the railroad tracks, towards the port, full of coal," said Manuel.

"There are billions of dollars of resources that go by on this train track every day."

Ultimately, Manuel hopes the houses will be a long-term housing option for people from her community.

Isha Jules and Calvin Shirt cut out a board, to be used on the house's outer wall. (Stephanie Cram/CBC)

"One woman last year in the winter, she died of exposure because she didn't have a place to stay, we can't have that," said Manuel.

"A lot of women [from the community] want to know if they can [have] access to either building a home or help and support building a home, and of course that's what want, people to feel the wave of creativity that could come from solving your own problems."

In addition to providing homes for community members, Manuel says they chose to build tiny houses because it is a style of home that reinforces her nation's connection to the land.

"With the tiny houses, a lot of it is outdoor living spaces … this is a really affordable way where you can actually have a home, and still enjoy the beauty [of our nation]," said Manuel.

"Why else would you be living in our nation, Secwepemc Nation, if it wasn't because you enjoy the beauty of the land?"

The Tiny House Warriors in Secwepemc territory, explained King, are one of many examples of how Indigenous communities are reclaiming land. (Stephanie Cram/CBC)