RCMP: "You'll be violating the civil court injunction, and you'll be taken into custody and arrested. Do you understand?" Grand Chief Stewart Phillip: "Yes, I understand."

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip has long said that he would be prepared to risk arrest to oppose an oil sands pipeline. Now that has happened.

Wearing sacred red ochre paint on his face, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs' leader approached an RCMP officer deep inside the conservation forest on Burnaby Mountain.

Standing between the two men was a police tape, the border of an injunction zone guarding Kinder Morgan drill crews, who were busy drilling deep holes for the company's hoped for $5.4-billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

"If you come past this [police tape]," said RCMP Sgt. Andy LeClair to Grand Chief Phillip, "you will be violating the civil court injunction, and you'll be taken into custody. I'll be arresting you."

"Do you understand?" asked Sgt. LeClair.

"Yes, I understand," responded Grand Chief Phillip.

"Ok, sir, I'll let you make your decision, I'll be standing here in person to take you into custody, and obviously I want to do that with as much dignity as possible," said the Sergeant.

"Appreciate that," responded Phillip.

Two hundred people witnessed as the Grand Chief then climbed under the police tape. LeClair extended his hand and arm, to respectfully assist him to an area where he was arrested.

A First Nations song broke out; drummers played. The Vancouver Observer video recorded the moment seen by many as historic.

Following the Grand Chief, Tsleil-Waututh elder Amy George, crossed as well. Other non-First Nations citizens crossed the police line too, including a yoga business owner, a retiree, and a physician.

The prominent Grand Chief's arrest highlighted the ongoing opposition of First Nations to the Kinder Morgan expansion, with the Tsleil-Waututh in particular leading a court case against the project.

Tsleil-waututh Amy George Elder crossed the police line in Burnaby Mountain conservation park, in violation of court-ordered injunction protecting Kinder Morgan pipeline drill crews on Thursday. Photo by Mychaylo Prystupa.

Earlier, Grand Chief Phillip told a crush of TV cameras:

"This is my second time seeing the beautiful Burnaby Mountain," said Phillip, referencing a Kinder Morgan protest he attended in September.

"I'd said then, alongside my dear wife Joan, that if push came to shove with arrests, I would stand with courageous people who were being arrested. That's why I am here today."

100 arrests and counting

"I'm here to cross the line and be arrested in solidarity with the 100 people who have chosen as a matter of principle to demonstrate their opposition the Harper government vision of $600 billion development of natural resources in British Columbia," he said.

"I am a grandfather of 14 incredible, beautiful grandchildren. This is about the future of all of our grandchildren... I say we need to reclaim this province from the predations of the Harper and Clark government and return it to the people."

Other First Nations standing at the Grand Chief's side also denounced the incursion of the test drilling work.

"Warrior up!" people shouted, as a First Nation member from the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, Amy George, denounced the environmental and health damage caused by oil companies in Alberta's oil sands.

"I'm a warrior, and I will fight for this land," she said, breaking into tears.

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Grand Chief Stewart Phillip marching on Burnaby Mountain on Thursday prior to his arrest. Photo by Mychaylo Prystupa.

Squamish First Nation Chief Ian Campell said increasingly Aboriginal people will use the courts to stop unwanted industrial projects.

"Our governments need to face reality now with the Tsilhqot'in Supreme Court decision," said Squamish First Nation chief Ian Campbell.

"Prior to the 1950s, we had no legal recourse, but since then we've won court case after court case. This is a fundamental shift in our society to come to true reconciliation."

He said his people did not recognize Kinder Morgan's right to drill on Burnaby Mountain, which he claimed was on traditional First Nation territory.

Kinder Morgan crews completed the geotechnical investigations at one of the two locations on Burnaby Mountain. It also said in a statement:

"Trans Mountain supports the right to peacefully protest and believes individuals can express their views in the lawful assembly area."

"Ultimately, if the Project is approved, there will be no surface disturbance on Burnaby Mountain because the tunnel, at its deepest point, will be approximately 160 metres below surface."

"The tunnel option through Burnaby Mountain is a result of consultation with the community, their request to see the existing pipeline rerouted, and our objective to minimize disruptions to landowners, neighbours and road users," wrote a spokesperson.

Pipeline 'war' transferred to Kinder Morgan

In June, Grand Chief Phillip declared a "war" on Enbridge Northern Gateway before a large crowd. But with little progress on that pipeline project, the hostility appears to have been transferred to the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

It was not supposed to be like this for the company.

Many analysts have said -- that unlike Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline, which proposes to slice virgin northern wilderness -- the Trans Mountain expansion was far less controversial. The project is a twinning of an existing 60-year-old pipeline from Edmonton to Burnaby along an existing corridor.

Kinder Morgan has also appeared to want to avoid some of Enbridge's much criticized missteps, by making significant efforts to consult with First Nations along the pipeline route, and by holding a series of public consultations.

But all that changed in September when the company cut down several trees, and proceeded with its pipeline test work agains the wishes of the City of Burnaby, including its Mayor, who said the activity was in violation of local bylaws.

Before long, protester activity heated up, clashes ensued, and the company launched injunctions against several people it considered "ring leaders" to prevent them and the public from interfering further.

When the court orders took effect, the crowds only got larger. Now 100 people have been taken into custody, including the province's highest Aboriginal leader.

The company's two-week injunction ends this weekend.

UBCIC Grand Chief Stewart being told by RCMP Sgt. Andy LeClair that he would be arrested if he crossed the police tape surrounding the Kinder Morgan work site on Burnaby Mountain on Thursday. Photo by Mychaylo Prystupa.