Energy Environment First Nations
The dispute over who represents that Gitxsan First Nation became a media duel Wednesday, with an opinion piece by Gitxsan Treaty Office leader Elmer Derrick published in The Vancouver Sun and an almost simultaneous news release from the coastal Gitxaala First Nation from Kitkatla, emphasizing that nation’s opposition to the pipeline.
The two headlines also tell opposite stories:
Vancouver Sun: Gitxsan Nation supports Enbridge pipeline
The Gitxsan are positive people with a clear vision towards economic prosperity. We like to be creative in our thinking, and approach opportunities — such as the one presented by the Northern Gateway Pipelines project — with an open mind. We also wish to be self sufficient, and we intend to do this through joint ventures in oil and gas, logging, ecotourism and run-of-river power projects…
[T]he status quo is not working. We own 33,000 sq. km of productive land which has sustained us for thousands of years. Yet for too long we have watched resources leave our territories, without a say in its destination or a share in the profits.
We as Gitxsan believe we have a huge potential. Our people know how to work, and Gitxsan country continues to be the foundation of a prosperous economy — as it has throughout our long history…
More than that, the Northern Gateway project supports the vision and leadership demonstrated by the Gitxsan Nation. We believe that there should be the development of a legislative framework that would serve Canada’s interests in energy security and supply, and access to world markets. We believe that the construction of this pipeline is of vital importance to the future of Canadian energy security and prosperity.
Gitxaala expresses dismay at the approach that Enbridge has taken in its dealings with the Gitxsan in relation to the proposed Northern Gateway Pipelines Project. Enbridge’s abrupt announcement of its dealings with the Gitxsan in relation to the Northern Gateway Pipelines Project has created deep divisions in an aboriginal community, and appears to incorrectly suggest that there is aboriginal support for the Project. The time has come for the Government of Canada to step in to assume its proper role in managing and carrying out consultation and ensuring that accommodations and agreements are fair, transparent and properly approved.
What ever happens in Gitxsan Territory, the leaders and people of Gitxaala are unified in their opposition to Enbridge’s efforts to impose dangerous tanker traffic on their people. Gitxaala expects Enbridge and the Government of Canada to respect Gitxaala’s governance rights and its aboriginal title and aboriginal rights in these waters. Gitxaala will also be challenging the many deficiencies and information gaps found in the Environmental Assessment for the Project. As Chief Elmer Moody noted: “Our leaders and people have been shocked that a massive project like this could be brought forward for consideration with such profound deficiencies.