Haisla voices at the Joint Review: Clifford Smith

This story presents the unfiltered voices of Haisla chiefs when they testified at the Northern Gateway Pipeline Joint Review hearings on January 10, 2011, at Kitamaat Village, based on the official transcript.  There have been minor edits for clarity.

Clifford Smith
Clifford Smith

Thank you. Before I speak, I make reference to my brothers and sisters seated behind me. I know in your spirit that you stand beside me, speaking in opposition of the proposed pipeline. I thank you for your strength. My back is not turned toward you deliberately. I know you stand with me.

I acknowledge the Heiltsuk Nation and the Kitasoo/Xaixais for their strength. I would miss their arrival yesterday into our territory and I remember my grandmother speaking: when we have visitors, the power of their arrival …

I interpret that for those that don’t understand our language: “We heard their voices, their drum voices and their voices. I take that upon myself has given me strength.

Thank you to the Heiltsuk Nation….

And I know that that strength also comes with the other neighbouring nations of our territory. Thank you for that strength and I will indeed attend your hearings to return that strength that you so generously gave me; I return it to you by attending your hearings.

Thank you for standing beside me. Thank you.

I also make reference to our youth who brought our chief to see in the power of their voice and the strength of their drums. Let’s take that strength and stand together and say “No” to Enbridge.

My given name is Gaioustis which once belonged to my late Uncle Charlie Wilson. I received that name, Gaioustis, on my grandmother’s tombstone face and I have honoured that name since I received it.

I need to mention my grandmother, Annie Paw who is the head of our family and the family owns and presently owns an eulachon camp up in Kemano, Gardner Canal. I need to mention that, the importance of the eulachon to us as the Haisla. My grandmother has since passed on and the head of our camp became my late father Edmund Smith and my mum.

It’s just a little over a year ago, my mother passed away and, at that time, my brother Crosbie was the head of our camp. It’s this past September we buried our eldest of family, Crosbie, in September.

I along with my brother, Glen, have now become the head of the camp. I need to make mention of that camp. The importance of our resources that our Mother Earth has so generously given and I make mention of the neig

hbouring nations, how we link together as family; not only in a Nation’s sense but by blood.
I have family in River’s Inlet. I have family in Heiltsuk. I have family in Kitasoo/Xaixais; I have family in (inaudible). I have family in Gitga’at, I have family in Metlakatla, the upper reaches of the Coast, Port Simpson, Kinkola, Grainwall, Canyon City Ians, Hazelton Kitfunga, all the neighbouring nations.

I need to mention those nations because we are linked together — the resources from our sea, our land and sea — through the barter system. I make reference to them as my brothers and sisters for they are indeed brothers and sisters. We enjoy the resources from our sea. Until today, we enjoyed the resources of the sea.

If there’s any oil spill, whether it be from the pipeline or the ship that will transport the crude oil, if there’s any form of spill, all that we enjoy from land and sea will be destroyed.

Let us put our strength together and stand as one and say “No” to Enbridge.

The salmon from our oceans is vitally important to our diet. I’ve been travelling our waters for six and a half decades from the time I was able to travel. Our source of travel was the canoe.

I make reference to my life because it is a statement that needs to be mentioned for that’s when our teachings begin. As a small child, the teachings begin. The knowledge that I have today has been compiled all those years, six and a half decades.

I still travel these waters. I’m a retired commercial fisherman; I still travel these waters. I very much enjoy harvesting and providing for my family, my immediate family, my extended family, my friends. They all benefit from the harvest that I do.

The clams, the cockles, the mussels, the crab, the urchins and cucumber, halibut, cod, all I enjoy, that — all that I enjoy will be wiped away if there ever is an oil spill. It’s a scary fact if the pipeline is to be built. All that I and my people enjoy will be gone. Let us stand together and say no to Enbridge.

I still hunt today and most the deer, the beaver, the fowl — the water fowl — all this I enjoy on our doorstep.

I make reference to what I — a statement that I heard the other day, that we as Haisla people stand in front of a double-barrelled shotgun, indeed we are standing in front of a double-barrelled shotgun. The pipeline — the proposed pipeline will come up through our back door and its ships will come in and transport the crude oil; we are indeed facing a double-barrelled shotgun. The impact — if there’s an impact of any spoil we’ll be in disaster.

The Exxon Valdez, which took place years ago, the damage is still visible today. Last year we witnessed through the news media Gulf of Mexico, they are still suffering today.

I have three children, three grandchildren and one more grandchildren on the way; it is them that will suffer without the resources that we so much enjoy today if there ever is an oil spill. Therefore, I say no to the reality of Enbridge, no, please no.

I thank you for the opportunity to speak. I thank you for listening.

 

Haisla voices at the Joint Review: Rod Bolton

This story presents the unfiltered voices of Haisla chiefs when they testified at the Northern Gateway Pipeline Joint Review hearings on January 10, 2011, at Kitamaat Village, based on the official transcript.  There have been minor edits for clarity.

 

Rod Bolton
Rod Bolton

My name is Rod Bolton. I was born here in Kitamaat Village in 1940. My late father’s name was also “Rod Bolton”. My Chief’s name is “Ligeiff” and also was a spokesperson for the late Tony Robinson and also Sammy Robinson now as one of the chiefs of the Beaver Clan.

I can remember as a very young child with my late cousins, Chris Wilson, Yvan Woods, going over the boat on the other side where there was no industries. There was just a beautiful place to go to; to go hunt and to go fish. There’s nothing around us.

I want to show you the area, the bagwaiyas and the wa’wais that I own. It’s a place where we harvest and where we fish for fish and hunt for food. That person up there is my late — John Bolton — that’s the one Sammy was talking about — Chief to see — and right around that area, the Kitimat River, that’s right by Sand Hill – – it’s right by Sand Hill, all the way down. That’s north of — south of Sand Hill, all the way down to Peace Creek — north of Peace Creek. That’s my wa’wais. That’s my trap line, registered under the government.

On June 7th, 1993, I was able to get the name of my late dad passed on, and the chief that’s sitting beside me was the one who put that name on le gare . Like I remember that time where — it was quite an experience for me. I was on the council for the period of probably 14 years or more, though it could be less, and one of the reasons why I didn’t run again was because of health reasons, I wasn’t very well at that time.

While I was in the council I worked, I worked on the trap lines, there was some trap lines that wasn’t registered and I worked on it until we got — we got them trap lines was registered. So I know the areas, I know the names of the area. The area that I have is called the Axta ; Anderson Creek, that’s where my trap line is.

The reason why I brought this up is the pipeline, if it was to be put in place it would run over all the streams that my trap line is on. I’m not an expert at oil but I watch the news of what’s going on. So that’s what I fear, if they ever get that pipeline in there it will do damage to our environment.
Eurocan just packed up and left, what they have that’s a pulp and paper, woods damaged our river, now they talk about this. That is a big concern of mine.

I don’t mind oil, not the oil we talk about but the eulachon oil. That’s what they want, eulachon oil.

I was on the Treaty team pretty near all my time with the council and I knew some of the areas that they were working on. Environmental departments got a lot to do with it, you know, we got the provincial government, we got the federal government.

As we speak, we don’t have any representatives here from the federal government. They are back east, they’re in Ottawa area. If they have environmental department then we haven’t seen them; they haven’t approached us.

We don’t want surprises; it happened in the past. When they issued out permits in our area we weren’t involved. We are the stewards of our land, we look after the land. If it’s gone it’s not going to come back again. We seen it in places like Alaska, Mexico, Russia, like what our Chief here said, we’re not — we’re peaceful people, we like to deal with it, to deal with our concerns.
I worked in Alcan for 32 years and I retired in 1998, it doesn’t mean that I stopped fishing, I still go out. Every chance that I get I like going out and bringing my grandchildren along with me and try and teach them.

One of my experiences, when my late father was — was going out with him getting trees; I can remember the cedar shakes that we made to make a smokehouse. So we still use that, we use that to our benefit to our people.

I think one of the things that we look at of where we get our information or wisdom or knowledge is how they trained us because we didn’t have anything and that’s experience and that’s what it brings to the table and that’s what we try to pass on to the younger ones, so they’ll be able to survive in this land, in this day of age.

We used to go to my wa’wais every chance we get, my dad and I, and there’s still fish that goes up there, there’s still some coho and there’s still some kinks that goes up there, trouts.

One of the comments — one of the — our people said was on the lower Axta area it was very important progress for people, everyone used to go there and get their coho for smoking. Every time there was a flood in the river the cohos would get washed down and they go up them small streams and our people knew that, so we were prepared for that.

When I got my wa’wais, my name, it was passed on to me by my late father from his mother and from his father; so that’s how it works. That’s how our system works. So when the name goes to a person like Sammy and I, the trap line goes with them, the wa’wais goes with them and there it becomes stewards of the land; that’s how it works.

Like what Sammy said, the oldest sister is the one that inherits the name and if it doesn’t take it then it goes to the next, it goes on like that.

One of the things that I learned from my father — late father was — and late Tommy, that you cannot wear the blanket or sit in his chair until the feast is over and it is done with. And there’s different places for seating in our feast hall; it’s all arranged depending on who hosted.

We’re not allowed to be part of the feast when we’re young; it was very serious business and fear that someone would knock somebody over with the soup or trip somebody. They had to either put up a feast or pay a person for that accident.
My sister, Ann Phillips, she lives in Vancouver Island. She’s the one that we call kikilfle , the woman that goes and supports the man, getting the game and buys all the dry goods. That’s her role and that’s her responsibility. The Haisla word for that is kikilfle or moodis (ph) and the people that was there at that time was there to witness what took on.

One of the things that were learned as I was growing up is the stewardship of east wa’wais. In order for me to go to Sammy’s wa’wais, if we want to harvest anything, we had to go to the person and ask permission. That’s how they could monitor it and be good stewardship and make sure that things are not overfished or people go there and clean it out. So that’s our culture.

We want to get back to the river. We take a look at what was brought up
— what Sammy brought up, the eulachons. They was — I’ve seen that eulachons. I know what Sammy’s talking about. It was plentiful. We still had a system how we harvest the eulachons.

I can relate to my late father speaking to me about the sea, sea to sea. He’d be the first one to drive piles, to harvest the eulachons. Nobody would drive piles, just him. And after he gets eulachons, he’d invite everybody to have that feast. And when they’re ready 24 hours later, they would say “Go; go harvest,” and everybody would go.

We talked about this in our group. That’s part of conservation, to let some escape so they can come back year after year. That’s how we conserve our fish, our clams, our cockles. We were taught that.

I think one of the points in all our areas, all our progress, everything is written down. On the book that we have it’s called Haisla Land, Nuyem Stories. There’s a lot of people who worked on this. We worked on it, and all the names are on the back of it. So we understand and know what it’s all about. It’s education for the younger generation and how it had — how it passes on to names.

I have before me the — the cycle of fish that goes up these streams. We have sprint salmon. We have coho. We got pink salmon. We have deer. We have black bear. We have geese. We have ducks. We have cedar bark, crab apples, marten, beaver and berries. All those we harvest.

That’s what I do in summertime; I go out and prepare for that and my daughter is the one that picks wild crab apples for me. So that’s what we do when we prepare.

One of the things we talked about, as Jennifer was — the trap lines and how I worked on it and when my late father passed away, I was able to get some of his stuff from a box where he kept all his papers and that’s where I found an old trap line registration. And it wasn’t like paper like this. It was like a skin and how thick it was and I showed it to J. Powell. Passing on down names, that’s how far back it
goes.

One of the things that I address is that if we see a spill of oil in our area, it’ll never recover. There’s no way of cleaning it up. I seen it. I got a friend in Alaska who’s going through all this. It still hasn’t recovered. That is our concern here, why we gather here.

And with that, I’d like to thank you for the time. Thank you very much.

Editorial: Just asking: why didn’t anyone object to the Americans at the NEB LNG hearings in Kitimat?

The Joint Review Panel hearings on the Northern Gateway pipeline are less than 48 hours from now. The media are packing their bags and coming to Kitimat (or perhaps Terrace since this town is booked solid).

The propaganda war, and it can only be called a propaganda war, is in full force, driven mostly by right wing columnist Ezra Levant and his Ethical Oil organization, objecting to “foreign intervenors in the pipeline hearings at another site OurDecision.ca

This now seems to have widespread support, in a Twitter debate last night, many even moderate conservatives and even moderate Albertans were saying there is too much foreign influence in the JRP hearings.

I have one question for these people. Where were you in June? On a beach?

It was in June that the National Energy Board held hearings on the first of the three proposed Liquified Natural Gas projects in Kitimat. No media hordes descended on Kitimat. At those hearings only local reporters showed up and I was the only one that stuck through the entire proceedings. (The NEB did approve the export application)

So when the media quote Levant and his spokesperson Kathryn Marshall, the widespread stories about this malevolent foreign influence are inaccurate because they weren’t in Kitimat in June so they didn’t hear all those deep Texas drawls in the hearing room at the Riverlodge Recreation Centre.

Although a lot of good reporters are coming into town this week, they’ll all be gone by Thursday morning when the JRP hearings move on to Terrace.

So in today’s Sun Media papers Levant says:

Who should decide whether Canada should build an oil pipeline to our west coast — Canadian citizens or foreign interests?
That’s what the fight over the Northern Gateway pipeline is about. Sure, it’s also about $20 billion a year for the Canadian economy and thousands of jobs. It’s about opening up export markets in Asia. It’s about enough new tax dollars to pay for countless hospitals and schools.
But it’s really about Canadian sovereignty. Do we get to make our own national decisions, or will we let foreign interests interfere?
The answer should be obvious to any self-respecting Canadian: This is a Canadian matter, and Canadians should decide it.

Why weren’t Levant and the rest of the blue-eyed sheikh crowd (OK they don’t all have blue yes but you know what I mean) across the Rockies here in June objecting to those Americans interfering in Canadian affairs with their plans to export liquefied natural gas to Asia?

Who is behind the Kitimat LNG project? Well, the KMLNG partners are Houston, Texas based Apache Corporation, Houston, Texas based EOG Resources and Encana, a company that originated in Canada but now has extensive operations in the United States and around the world.

The second LNG project, which is now before the National Energy Board, is BC LNG, a partnership between a Houston, Texas-based energy company and the Haisla First Nation here in Kitimat.

The third LNG project is coming from energy giant Royal Dutch Shell.

When are we going to see Ethical Oil and all those conservative columnists objecting to American participation when the NEB holds hearings on the second and third LNG projects?

This goes all the way to the centre of power. Stephen Harper objects to the Northern Gateway hearings being “hijacked by foreign money.” I notice the Prime Minister didn’t object to the hearings in June with American companies Apache and EOG investing in a natural gas pipeline. Cabinet ministers Joe Oliver and Peter Kent are also concerned about foreign influence on pipeline projects. That is they are only worried about possible foreign influence when it comes to the environment. Foreign influences that are building natural gas pipelines and LNG terminal facilities are perfectly fine, thank you.

Blaming “foreign influence”, of course, is one of the oldest dirty tricks in the political playbook. In recent days Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has blamed foreign influence for the demonstrations against the rigged election in that country. In Syria, Bashir al-Assad is still blaming “foreign agitators” for the revolt against his regime. Before they were ousted, both Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and Mohamar Gaddafi of Libya blamed “foreign agitators” for the Arab Spring. Go to Google News and type in “foreign influence” or “foreign agitators” and now that Google News also searches news archives, you can find stories of politicians all over the world blaming foreigners for their troubles going back to the turn of the last century.

It’s just sad to see Canada’s leading politicians and the major media joining that sorry tradition.

Note Natural Gas is not bitumen

Some in the media seems to be puzzled that most of the people in northern British Columbia are not objecting to the liquified natural gas projects. The media seem puzzled that KM LNG has been able to reach agreements with First Nations along the natural gas pipeline routes when Enbridge can’t.

(One factor is that Enbridge got off on the wrong foot with First Nations and things have generally gone downhill from there, leading people in northwest BC to question the general competence of Enbridge management.)

The answer is that natural gas is not bitumen. Natural gas is known factor. Bitumen, despite the thousands of pages of documents field by Enbridge with the JRP, is an unknown factor since there has never been a major bitumen disaster.

The worst case scenario, a catastrophic LNG ship explosion, could cause a huge forest fire. A natural gas pipeline breach under the right conditions could start a big forest fire. The environment of northwestern British Columbia has evolved to deal with fires. After such an incident, nature would take over and the forest would eventually come back. It is likely that the forest would take longer to recover than it would from a lightning strike fire, but the forest would recover. Bitumen leaking into salmon spawning rivers would kill the rivers. Bitumen stuck at the deep and rocky bottom of Douglas Channel would contaminate the region, probably for centuries.

It’s that simple.

 


Related Terrace Daily  No Apology Forthcoming by Gerald Amos

NEB approves KM LNG export licence

Energy

The National Energy Board has approved KM LNG’s (also known as Kitimat LNG) application for an natural gas export licence.

A NEB news release says:

The National Energy Board (NEB or the Board) today approved an application by KM LNG Operating General Partnership (KM LNG) for a licence to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Kitimat, British Columbia to markets in the Asia Pacific region.

The export licence authorizes KM LNG to export 200 million tonnes of LNG (equivalent to approximately 265 million 10³m³ or 9,360 Bcf of natural gas) over a 20 year period. The maximum annual quantity allowed for export will be 10 million tonnes of LNG (equivalent to approximately 13 million 10³m³ or 468 Bcf of natural gas).

The supply of gas will be sourced from producers located in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin. Once the natural gas has reached Kitimat by way of the Pacific Trail Pipeline, the gas would then be liquefied at a terminal to be built in Bish Cove, near the Port of Kitimat.

The construction and operation of the pipeline and the terminal will require provincial regulatory decisions.

This is the first application for an LNG export licence that the Board has considered since the de-regulation of the natural gas market in 1985.

In approving the application, the Board satisfied itself that the quantity of gas to be exported does not exceed the amount required to meet foreseeable Canadian demand. The exported LNG will not only open new markets for Canadian gas production, but the Board believes that ongoing development of shale gas resources will ultimately further increase the availability of natural gas for Canadians.

Prior to approving the licence, the Board considered environmental and related socio-economic effects of KM LNG’s application. These effects included matters related to marine shipping, and the proposed LNG terminal and Pacific Trail Pipeline.

The Board also acknowledges the potential economic benefits associated with KM LNG’s project. These benefits include employment opportunities due to the development of the LNG terminal and the Pacific Trail pipeline.

Kitimat mayor Joanne Monaghan said, “I am glad they got it, because now the project can move forward.”

KM LNG is owned by Apache Canada Ltd. (40 per cent), EOG Resources Canada Inc. (20 per cent) and Encana Corp. (20 pre cent). The Front End Engineering for the LNG terminal at Bish Cove is now underway. The companies say a final investment decision will be made in early 2012.


A news release from Apache
said:

“The Kitimat LNG project represents a remarkable opportunity to open up Asia-Pacific markets to Canadian natural gas and we’re leading the way in being able to deliver a long-term, stable and secure supply to the region,” said Janine McArdle, Kitimat LNG President. “This export licence approval is another major milestone for Kitimat LNG as we move forward and market our LNG supply. LNG customers can have even more confidence in a new source of supply.”

“Today marks a historic day for Canada’s natural gas industry and this is fantastic news for our project and the communities where we operate. Kitimat LNG will bring revenues and jobs and the associated benefits to Canada,” said Tim Wall, Apache Canada President. “The Kitimat LNG partners are very pleased with the NEB’s approval of our export licence and we’d like to thank them for their support and confidence in the project.”

Text of NEB Decision on KM LNG(pdf)