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Grass roots indigenous group to build tiny homes along Kinder Morgan route

“Our people have a right to be there, especially since Kinder Morgan hasn’t had our consent,” Wilson says.


File Photo
 (JENNIFER STAHN / iNFOnews.ca) September 01, 2017
iNFOnews.ca by Mike McDonald

KAMLOOPS – Members of a First Nations group hope their plan to build homes on the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline path will help stop the project from being constructed.

From Sept. 5 to Sept. 8 at Neskonlith near Kamloops, volunteers with the group Tiny House Warriors will be working to build a home in the path of the pipeline with the intention of rebuilding village sites along the route. In doing this the group hopes to assert its authority over unceded territory.

Chief Judy Wilson of the Neskonlith Indian Band says while the band itself isn’t involved with the tiny homes initiative the group has their full support.

“There has always been this colonial thinking that our people are on reserves and we’re just stagnant and we stay in our homes on the reserve,” she say. “That’s not true. Our people have always hunted, harvested, and fished and been connected to the land spiritually.”

Wilson says putting up more permanent lodges on the land where her people hunt, fish and harvest is important.

“Our people have a right to be there, especially since Kinder Morgan hasn’t had our consent,” she says.

The structure going up next week will be the first of ten tiny homes the group plans to install and they are asking for volunteers with construction experience to come and help with the build. Each home will be powered by solar panels.

“We are going big, by going small,” says an organizer in a social media post. “As they attempt to destroy the land and waters that we have never surrendered, we’re building something beautiful that models hope, possibility and solutions to the world and we would welcome your help to do it.”

The Kinder Morgan TransMountain pipeline was originally built in 1953 and the $6.8 billion expansion is expected to triple the lines capacity as it runs from Edmonton to Vancouver.

See article here……


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Tiny House Warriors planning new way to stop Kinder Morgan

Members of the Secwepemc Nation are going to build ten “tiny Houses” directly in the path of the pipeline’s proposed route.

CFJC Today by Doug Collins / September 1, 2017

KAMLOOPS — It’s a different way of fighting a proposed pipeline expansion by Kinder Morgan.

Members of the Secwepemc Nation are going to build ten “tiny Houses” directly in the path of the pipeline’s proposed route.

The first of the houses will be built next week at an undisclosed location, but the members of the Secwepemc Nation, who are tying in with Greenpeace on the project, say the home will be built  on unceded Secwepemc territory, the largest indigenous territory the pipeline will cross.

The group is called the Tiny House Warriors. They’re concerned about the possibility of a spill that could pose threats to the community.

It’s not clear from the news release whether the Warriors group have official backing from the Secwepemc leadership, or are doing this as their own form of protest.

See article here………


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Haida strip two hereditary chiefs of titles for supporting Enbridge

Haida strip two hereditary chiefs of titles for supporting Enbridge

The extraordinary decision by a Haida clan to strip two of its hereditary chiefs of their titles for secretly supporting the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline is being closely watched by First Nations across Canada.

Darin Swanson, head chief of the Yahgulaanaas/Janaas clan at the ceremony where two hereditary chiefs were stripped of their titles. Ernest Swanson, his nephew is to the left holding a staff. Mary Helmer / For PNG

The extraordinary decision by a Haida clan to strip two of its hereditary chiefs of their titles for secretly supporting the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline is being closely watched by First Nations across Canada.

The rebuke, delivered last week in an elaborate ceremony witnessed by more than 500 people, came as the Haida Nation rejected what they say is a growing trend by companies to enlist the support of hereditary chiefs as a way of claiming broad First Nations support.

“This is an absolutely huge decision and I think it is a wake-up call to the hereditary system of governance and leadership,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs.

“I think First Nations across the province and throughout Indian country in general are paying attention to these developments.”

On Aug. 13, members of the clan stripped Carmen Goertzen and Francis Ingram of their titles, effectively removing them as representatives of two houses, the Yahgulaanaas Janaas of Daadens, and the Litjaaw Yaahl Naas. Goertzen, a well-known Haida artist, had held the position for 25 years. Ingram had only been appointed a year ago.

The Haida are made up of 22 house clans, each overseen by hereditary chiefs. An elected council represents the Haida Nation.

The men were part of a group of eight, including two other hereditary chiefs, who signed a letter to the National Energy Board in March supporting Northern Gateway’s request for a time extension to its permit for the bitumen transport pipeline. Earlier this summer, the Federal Court overturned federal approval of Northern Gateway, leaving the company with only one more “faint hope” opportunity.

Goertzen, Ingram and the others, including four men whom the Haida Nation says do not hold any hereditary position, formed a group they called Hereditary Chiefs of North Haida Gwaii LLP.

The head of the clan that Goertzen and Ingram represented said the community never knew the men had signed on to support Enbridge and that their letter made it look like the Haida at large had reversed their long-standing opposition to the project.

“I don’t think anyone in a clan can tell people who they can work for, but when you are a hereditary chief leader you have responsibilities to your clan and you have to consult with them on important issues like this,” said Darin Swanson, the head chief of the Yahgulaanaas Janaas clan. “As hereditary leaders, they didn’t do that. Everything was a big secret up till now. At the end of the day, they are crawling into bed with Enbridge. It is almost up to the point that Enbridge is accepting them as (representing) the consultation on the whole of Haida Gwaii.”

Attempts by Postmedia to contact Goertzen and Ingram were unsuccessful. But in an interview with Vice News, which broke the story, Ingram denied asking for an extension, even though he signed the letter. Goertzen acknowledged that Enbridge had paid the men fees to attend a meeting but that he had his community’s best interests at heart.

 “To meet with them, we’ve been paid per diems, and we’ve had a few meetings, not even four days,” he told VICE News. He said his clan members were “blowing stuff out of proportion.”

Peter Lantin, the elected president of the Council of the Haida Nation, said the letter shocked his members because they had a consensus agreement to oppose the pipeline project and they see this as an attempt by Enbridge to divide them.

“The lesson to be learned in this is that there is a proper way to consult with us and at the end of the day, no means no. People are really questioning the integrity of the Haida Nation,” he said.

“The problem that we’re seeing with the tactics of Enbridge is that they know how we feel, they know what our answer is and they don’t like it.”

A spokesman for Northern Gateway said it was aware of the action against the two hereditary chiefs but maintained they had not represented the Haida Nation to them. It presented meetings with the eight as being for the purposes of discussing “West Coast marine emergency response, employment and training opportunities, food source protection, and other safety measures.”

“At no time have these individuals claimed to us either verbally or in writing that they represent or speak for the Haida Nation or their respective clans,” said communications manager Ivan Giesbrecht.

Phillip, whose organization represents 115 First Nations in B.C., said the implications stretch well beyond the Northern Gateway project and touch on other projects such as Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline project and the provincial government’s push to export liquefied natural gas.

“It is a clear message that hereditary leaders need to know and understand their stewardship responsibilities to caretake the land in a proper and responsible fashion,” he said.

This isn’t the first time First Nations have protested the support given to Enbridge by hereditary chiefs. The company says it has support of 31 aboriginal communities across B.C. and Alberta, including a number of First Nations, as well as Métis associations.

One of the “aboriginal stewards” of the Enbridge proposal is Elmer Derrick, a hereditary chief of the Gitxsan nation. A few years ago, members of the Gixsan seized Derrick’s office in Hazelton after he became the first hereditary chief to support Northern Gateway. Many of the nation’s other hereditary chiefs wrote letters saying Derrick doesn’t represent them, although others do support the project. The Gitxsan remain divided.

See article here……..

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Kinder Morgan Info/Strategy Truth to Power Meeting


The announcement on Thursday, August 10th by Provincial NDP was good news! It is encouraging they will stand with the indigenous nations by supporting the court challenges. Public land will be off limits to KM until all 8 NEB environment ‘Plans’ are satisfied, only 3 are cleared to date.

Facebook Event page here……

In consideration of Kinder Morgan’s comments in response to BC governments announcement for special legal council today, KM states they still plan to build the pipeline on land owned by Kinder Morgan and privately owned land starting in September. Therefore, we feel it is more important than ever to make it crystal clear to KM and the Federal government and to support the BC Provincial government, we NEED TO BE READY to defend our land and water from the risk of this bitumen pipeline.

We have set up this meeting in response to many requests for legal information to be ready for ALL outcomes, especially regarding our right to protest. This event will give up-to-date reports and practical suggestions on what is happening and/or planned on the pipeline route.

There are many questions to be answered regarding what can be done to resist the proposed start and on-going construction. According to media reports, the work is expected to begin September 7th starting work on the tunnel through Burnaby Mountain.

An example of some of the questions to be considered: (please bring your own!) 🙂

What are our individual rights to protest?
What is ‘peaceful protest’?
How do we follow indigenous leadership?
How do we respect indigenous land soveignty and protocols?
How do we communicate?
How do we interface with others?

You will have an opportunity to ask questions and offer ideas and suggestions. You will also hear from experienced Front Line Land Defenders. We will discuss specific things that were successful and others that did not have the best outcomes.

We will have Information/work stations including different groups leading the way in resisting.

Ready to let KM know we say NO to pipelines and YES to clean water! #RESIST

We work and live with gratitude on the traditional, unceded, occupied territories of the Coast Sallish peoples: the mi ce:p kʷətxʷiləm (Tsleil-Waututh), Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish), and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations.

We will have snacks and drinks, if you would like to contribute, please feel free to bring something along! Thank you! 🙂

Here are brief descriptions of groups that will be involved in sharing information:

“Introduction to the Peace Bearer initiative with Bob Ages.

In the Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) language “those who bear the burden of peace” refers to the people who have accepted responsibility to uphold natural law and maintain harmony and balance within and between communities.. This is a concept common to all indigenous societies and an example Settlers should and can learn from.

Whether social and climate justice activists are coming together to march or rally for a few hours, or setting up a permanent camp in the path of a pipeline, these gatherings should be “safe spaces” – free from harassment or other types of oppressive behaviour. Where women, children, elders – in fact everyone – feels welcome and free to participate.

The Peace Bearers has been created to work with, and under the direction of, First Nations land defenders to help make this a reality. Learn more about what Peace Bearers do, the principles that guide our work and how you can get involved.”

Presentation by Cedar Parker-George and Kia Parker-George, Tsleil-Waututh
We need to exert pressure on all fronts possible. ALL tactics and all tools in our collewctive tool box must be used to stop KM. We believe the divestment movement that has been successful in the U.S. will be as effective here as well. We are pleased to have Cedar and Kia Parker-George to present stategies and how to implement those plans.







Large assembly of Tribal Leaders and Chiefs from United States and Canada meet to officially form new cross-border alliance to stop Keystone XL pipeline

Cision / July 4, 2017

RAPID CITY, SD (Black Hills), July 4, 2017 /CNW/

An assembly of Tribal leaders of the Great Sioux Nation along with leaders of the Ponca Nation in Nebraska and Oklahoma today met, in the sacred Black Hills in South Dakota, with a large delegation of Chiefs of First Nations from Canada who have signed the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion. The tribal leaders and chiefs sent a clear message on this July 4th US “Independence Day” about their independence as Sovereign Indigenous Nations and to announce a new cross-border alliance to stop the Keystone XL pipeline. The historic gathering challenging the power of Canada and the US to harm their lands and pollute their water comes on the heels of widespread Indigenous resistance in Canada challenging the July 1st celebrations of Canada’s “150th anniversary”.

The Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion, after the signing today of the 10 Tribes and First Nations from the Great Sioux Nation, Ponca Nation and Blackfoot Confederacy, now counts over 130 First Nations and Tribes who have signed the Indigenous Treaty barring the passage of each of the four pipelines that the Tar Sands industry of Alberta is hoping to build in order to expand production: TransCanada’s Keystone XL, Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline through Minnesota, Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Expansion through British Columbia and TransCanada’s Energy East.

“If you don’t think we’re nations, if you think we’re isolated remnants of a bygone era, just watch us exercise our sovereign right to protect our land and our people by stopping these pipeline abominations from threatening our water and our very future,” said Casey Camp-Horinek on behalf of the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma, who will in fact be organizing a similar type ceremony in Nebraska in the coming weeks where the broad cross-section of opponents of the Keystone XL will be invited to sign a declaration against KXL first signed on May, 17 in Calgary, AB. “Today is not just about our independence as Nations, but also everyone’s much needed independence from the shackles of oil, and especially Keystone’s dirty tar sands oil.”

Present for the formation of this cross-border Indigenous alliance against Keystone XL were most of the Tribes whose lands the pipeline would cross, from Piikani Nation of the Blackfoot Confederacy at the start of the pipeline in Canada to the Great Sioux Nation and then finally the Ponca Nation in Nebraska and Oklahoma where the pipeline would end.

Also signed on this day was The Grizzly: A Treaty of Cooperation, Cultural Revitalization and Restoration, an Indigenous Treaty spearheaded by the Piikani Nation in Alberta which now also counts over 130 signatory First Nations and Tribes from across the continent. The leaders present at the ceremony today pledged to work together to safeguard the sacred Grizzly Bear and combat the recent move by the Trump administration to delist the grizzly of Greater Yellowstone from the Endangered Species Act.

“Indigenous People in Canada, led by our women and youth grassroots water protectors, just finished crashing the July 1stCanada 150′ celebrations, letting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and all of Canada know that not only can they not whitewash history, but they cannot continue to run roughshod over our Nations by looking to ram pipelines like Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Expansion through our lands,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs on behalf of the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion. “We were honored to be invited to come support Tribes in the US as they likewise reclaim this July 4th national anniversary to mark their own independence as sovereign nations.”

“The Tribes of the Great Sioux Nation are gathered here today on this most historic occasion on this most sacred of sites, surrounded by our trusted allies, to make it clear, in honor of Crazy Horse, that we, as a sovereign nations, have not consented to and will all together fight to the end some of President Trump’s most grotesque actions, including illegally ramming through the Dakota Access Pipeline, trying to raise Keystone XL pipeline from the dead and just recently, trying to get away with delisting our sacred Grizzly bear from the Endangered Species List,” said Chairman Brandon Sazue of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe who invited leaders to the event in the spirit of “Remaking of the Sacred Hoop”, a rekindling of the alliance between the Great Sioux Nations and the Blackfoot Confederacy.

“These tar sand pipeline fights like Keystone XL, or Enbridge’s Line 3 which passes through our lands in Manitoba, are about protecting our Mother but will also end up being the turning point for relations between our Nations and state powers – the point where we say no more,” noted Kevin Hart, Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief for Manitoba, on behalf of the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion. “These are more than pipelines: they are lines in the sand for our Nations.”

SOURCE Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion

For further information: For more information, please contact: Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion, info@treatyalliance.org, Cell: 514-445-4414; Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, Cell: 250-490-5314; Chairman Brandon Sazue, Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, Cell: 405-448-6630; Casey Camp-Horinek, Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma Tribal Council, Cell: 580-716-7015; Kevin Hart, AFN Regional Chief for Manitoba, Cell: 613-290-6283

See article here……

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Indigenous protesters erect teepee on Parliament Hill

The demonstration was part of what was described as a “reoccupation” ceremony to counter Canada’s 150th anniversary.
Teepee protest
People hold a teepee, intended to be erected on Parliament Hill as part of a four-day Canada Day protest during a demonstration in Ottawa on Thursday, June 29, 2017.

Ottawa Sun by Lauren Malyk / June 29, 2017

After initially being met with resistance from police, dozens of indigenous protesters erected a large teepee overnight in front of Parliament Hill’s East Block.

The demonstration was part of what was described as a “reoccupation” ceremony to counter Canada’s 150th anniversary.

Between 50 and 60 protesters stood their ground, even after several were detained by RCMP. Police later said none of the protesters would be arrested.

Ottawa police Duty Insp. John Medeiros said the protest started at the Human Rights monument around 6 p.m. Wednesday. He said once the group got the teepee poles at the monument, they came to Parliament Hill to erect it.

After initially being prevented from erecting the teepee by police, it went up in the early hours of Thursday morning.

There was cheering when the teepee was fully up.

“These types of demonstrations need to take place,” said Isadore Day, an Ontario regional chief.

Candace Day Neveau, a spokeswoman for a group called the Bawating Water Protectors that arrived in Ottawa from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., on Wednesday, said 10 people were briefly held in custody before being released and ordered to stay away from Parliament Hill for six months.

Organizers said Indigenous Peoples have little reason to celebrate colonization as Canada marks its sesquicentennial.

Jessica Bolduc, who was with the Sault Ste. Marie group, said they wanted to build a teepee on what is unceded Algonquin territory.

Bolduc said it is also about recognizing there is much work to do before anyone can say Canada had achieved reconciliation.

“I think Canada has one sort of view and way in which they engage with the world around them and then there is the Indigenous experience,” said Bolduc.

“We talk about this smart and caring nation, but don’t acknowledge that those privileges aren’t afforded to indigenous peoples in the same way that they are to folks who have settled here, whether that was 200 years ago or to people who we are welcoming here today in a ceremony of becoming Canadian,” she said.

The demonstration was being held across from the former Langevin Block, which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had renamed as the Office of the Prime Minister and the Privy Council on June 21.

He said the change reflected what he called the “deep pain” felt by indigenous communities over having the building named after Hector-Louis Langevin, a father of Confederation and an architect of the residential school system.

Elsa Hoover, an indigenous activist who came from the United States to take part in the protest said the group planned to gather people together there to discuss how different human rights “are staged differently.”

Kyle Chiblow, another activist, said their intention was to pray and that was what they did.

Medeiros said people have the right to demonstrate.

“We get lots of demonstrations in the City of Ottawa over the course of a year,” he said.

“This group has a view and they’re passionate about it.”

See article here……..




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Lawsuits and land rights: Next B.C. government has its hands full with First Nations

Indigenous candidates, activists and experts weigh in on what next week’s provincial election could mean for resource development in B.C.

Discourse by Trevor Jang | May 6, 2017

Kanahus Manuel stands beside the vast North Thompson River on the industrial outskirts of Kamloops, B.C., a sacred spot for the Secwepemc people. If all goes according to plan, Kinder Morgan, the largest energy infrastructure company in North America, will begin drilling beneath the river later this year as part of its Trans Mountain Expansion Project.

But Manuel wants to get in the company’s way.

An Indigenous rights activist, she’s leading a group of grassroots Secwepemc people who are planning to re-establish traditional villages by building 10 small homes along the route. “What we want to really establish is challenging the provincial jurisdiction over our territory by living and occupying on our land,” Manuel tells me. “The province does not have the title to issue permits to even give Kinder Morgan the [permission] to do that.”

Indigenous rights activist Kanahus Manuel speaks at a gathering of land defenders from across B.C. They’re strategizing their efforts to block construction of resource development projects by occupying camps on traditional territories. Lindsay Sample
Indigenous rights activist Kanahus Manuel speaks at a gathering of land defenders from across B.C. They’re strategizing their efforts to block construction of resource development projects by occupying camps on traditional territories.

The B.C. government approved Kinder Morgan’s $7.4-billion proposal in January after the federal government gave its approval last November. But Manuel firmly believes that final permission for this pipeline route, which stretches from Edmonton to Burnaby, can only be given by the Secwepemc people and other First Nations.

Jurisdiction over Indigenous territory is a complex issue, and next week’s B.C. election will have big implications for how it’s interpreted — and given legal force — in the province. Both the B.C. NDP and Green Party promise to endorse the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which calls for governments to achieve the free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous people before moving forward with resource development projects on their traditional territories.

This would be good news for land-rights activists and environmentalists who want to see energy projects like Kinder Morgan’s live or die by the say of First Nations. But there are concerns, among developers and community members eager for jobs, that giving Indigenous communities more power would stall projects.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government campaigned on a promise to endorse UNDRIP at the federal level. After being in office, federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould told a crowd of First Nations leaders in July 2016 that inserting UNDRIP into Canadian law was “unworkable.” At the time, Canada had endorsed the declaration, but opposed the wording of free, prior and informed consent. The Liberals also sparked tensions by approving mega-projects without the consent of some First Nations who were impacted.

“There’s some really good agreements being worked out. Most First Nations, all they want to be is included, and that’s happening in the northwest.”

Ottawa’s tone changed last month, however, when Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett officially retracted Canada’s objections. “We will amend laws written in a paternalistic and colonial way, and implement direction given to all ministers in [Trudeau’s] cabinet,” she declared at the U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York.

Bennett’s statement came in the midst of election season in B.C. — a province where lawsuits over First Nations’ land rights are often the final roadblock to getting resource development projects off the ground. How major resource development projects get approved — or denied — by Indigenous people could completely change, depending on which party forms the next government in Victoria.

Is the NDP’s promise realistic?

Earlier this week, a group of First Nations leaders launched an “Anyone But Clark” campaign targeting sitting Liberal Party Premier Christy Clark. They’re disappointed with Clark’s push on major resource projects — like the Site C dam, numerous proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects and Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion — all of which face some opposition from First Nations whose territories these projects impact.

The BC Liberals, while claiming to be committed to “concrete measures to achieve reconciliation,” have danced around endorsing UNDRIP or using the word “consent” in their party platform.

“The legal standards of approval for large-scale resource development projects [have] elevated to the level of consent. We’ve moved beyond the need for mere consultation, and yet the provincial government under Premier Clark is refusing to acknowledge that reality,” says Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs.

Some Indigenous leaders and professionals believe the Liberals aren’t necessarily trying to dodge reconciliation commitments.

“I think that they bring that little bit of real-world perspective on how difficult it is to implement something as all-encompassing and broad and inspirational as UNDRIP is,” says Sarah Robinson, who hails from the Fort Nelson First Nation in northeastern B.C. and is head of Rainwatch Consulting, which provides governance planning and advice to First Nations. “Having worked in government myself, it is much easier to say than to do.”

Robinson tells me it’s “certainly admirable” that the NDP have promised to fully endorse UNDRIP, but it’s not realistic in a four-year term. “I find that they often take about 10 to 20 years to catch up when significant court decisions come down, or significant approaches are put together to support things like UNDRIP,” she adds.

Ellis Ross, Liberal candidate for Skeena and former Haisla Nation chief, says the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is a “distraction” from the partnerships already taking place between First Nations, government and industry. Ellis Ross

Ellis Ross, Liberal candidate for Skeena and former Haisla Nation chief, says the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is a “distraction” from the partnerships already taking place between First Nations, government and industry.

One of the Liberals’ most high-profile Indigenous candidates, Ellis Ross, who’s running in the Skeena riding, calls UNDRIP a “distraction” from the partnership that First Nations already have with government and industry. “There’s some really good agreements being worked out. Most First Nations — all they want to be is included, and that’s happening in the northwest,” says Ross, former chief of the Haisla Nation and an outspoken champion of the LNG industry.

“To bring up something external to Canada like [UNDRIP], I mean you’re talking about negotiations, you’re talking about changing legislation, you’re talking about the existing case law,” he tells me. “That doesn’t really help anybody on the ground. The people on the ground, the average citizen, all they want to see is: ‘Do we have a strong economy? Do we have enough revenue coming in to pay for services?’”

What about the Liberals’ promises?

The BC Liberals say they’re proud of the relationships they’ve built with First Nations, and point to the nearly 400 economic agreements they’ve signed with Indigenous communities since 2013 — many linked to participation in the LNG industry. This approach aligned with Ross’ goals when he represented the Haisla in Kitamaat, where three LNG terminals are currently being proposed. “From what I’ve seen, government in our territory has done a good job over the years,” he tells me.

Wanda Good, Liberal candidate for Stikine and deputy chief councillor of the Gitanyow, says the road to reconciliation is complex and that the meaning of free, prior and informed consent should be debated. Wanda Good
Wanda Good, Liberal candidate for Stikine and deputy chief councillor of the Gitanyow, says the road to reconciliation is complex and that the meaning of free, prior and informed consent should be debated.

But the promise of a lucrative LNG industry that Clark campaigned on in 2013 has yet to materialize, with no final investment decisions made from proponents of any of the projects. Meanwhile, many First Nations communities that signed agreements with Clark’s government have been divided over what some are calling a flawed process.

That’s put another Indigenous candidate for the Liberals in a tricky spot.

Wanda Good is running in the Stikine riding, and is deputy chief councillor of the Gitanyow. The Gitanyow are one of a handful of First Nations to file a lawsuit over the federal government’s approval of the Pacific Northwest LNG terminal proposed for Lelu Island on the north coast, just south of Prince Rupert — a project heavily supported by Clark.

“I can’t really comment,” Good says of the court case. What she does tell me is that there are First Nations in her riding who have signed LNG agreements. “There are 63 First Nations across the province that have signed onto pipeline agreements, so there is open discussion in the riding, and I will commit to being involved in those discussions.”

Those agreements don’t necessarily mean there was free, prior and informed consent, nor adequate consultation, argues Anne Marie Sam, a councillor for the Nak’azdli Whut’en near Fort St. James and an NDP candidate for Nechako Lakes. “We had to go to court to get the government to come to the table,” she tells me. “It’s not out of the goodness of the Liberals’  heart that they thought, ‘Okay, let’s work with First Nations.’ It was First Nations having to challenge them in court.”

Anne Marie Sam, NDP candidate for Nechako Lakes, stands with party leader John Horgan. Sam is a councillor for the Nak'azdli Whut'en, and wants to see a new regulatory process for energy projects in B.C. that enables First Nations to provide their consent. Anne Marie Sam
Anne Marie Sam, NDP candidate for Nechako Lakes, stands with party leader John Horgan. Sam is a councillor for the Nak’azdli Whut’en, and wants to see a new regulatory process for energy projects in B.C. that enables First Nations to provide their consent.

Nak’azdli Whut’en did sign a benefit agreement with the Liberal government in relation to the proposed Pacific Trails Pipeline, but Sam says the community felt pressured by the process, and signed out of a fear of missing out — not because they felt they had any say. “I felt with LNG, we were being asked to sign here and accept this project without knowing all the details.”

She adds, “I think you have to step back and see what is the best way to do this and what is the best consultation. And if communities are not wanting it, how do we respect communities that say this isn’t what we want?”

The government and First Nations have to share the land

Darwin Hanna is a B.C.-based Indigenous lawyer with expertise in land claims, self-governance and business law. He says provincial governments legally could implement UNDRIP — it just requires the political will to do so. “Right now, we know that the provincial legislation does not fully endorse UNDRIP, so that’s the challenge,” he says. The main concern, says Hanna, is “having arrangements to recognize co-jurisdiction between the province and First Nations.”

That unresolved challenge of jurisdiction is at the root of the conflict brewing in Secwepemc territory, where Kanahus Manuel and others are preparing for a long battle to stop the Trans Mountain Expansion Project. The oil pipeline is also facing numerous lawsuits from First Nations claiming they weren’t properly consulted. Manuel says she’s not waiting for a judge to confirm what she already knows, nor is she holding her breath for the next provincial government to endorse UNDRIP.

“Native people just have to go out and assert it,” she tells me passionately. “And that’s where we’re at right now — is asserting all of our rights and titles that’s recognized in all of these Supreme Court cases.”

Manuel isn’t alone in her approach. In March, she joined land defenders from all over B.C. who gathered in Vancouver to strategize, fundraise and share their experiences resisting projects on their territories. Members of the Gitwilgyots tribe have occupied Lelu Island in protest of the Pacific Northwest LNG project since August 2015. Members of the Gitxsan Nation have occupied the Madii Lii camp, blocking the path of the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission Line, which would transport natural gas to Lelu Island. And the Unist’ot’en camp is blocking several natural-gas pipeline routes in Wet’suwet’en territory.
“But if you fuck with us … we’re going to lay down the law. We’re going down to lay down our law.”

Meanwhile, in B.C.’s Lower Mainland, members of the Kwantlen First Nation are preparing to build longhouses in the path of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project. “There are two MLAs who are key figures in the provincial government that are in our territory, [Minister of Natural Gas Development] Rich Coleman and [Environment Minister] Mary Polak,” Kwantlen member Brandon Gabriel tells me. “They try to paint this picture that we are consenting, that we are friendly. And if you’ve ever been to Kwantlen, we are friendly. But if you fuck with us … we’re going to lay down the law. We’re going down to lay down our law.”

The message is clear: The issue of jurisdiction isn’t going away for the next B.C. government — no matter which party wins. Rainwatch Consulting’s Sarah Robinson has some free consulting advice for whoever is B.C.’s premier on May 9.

“If a protest camp or blockade of some kind is taking place over a large resource development project, in my personal opinion, sending public servants or representatives from the company to do the negotiating is almost setting yourself up for failure,” she tells me. “It’s certainly worthwhile for the leader of that political party to consider heading down there themselves to begin dialogue and communicate respectfully that they are there in the spirit of honouring that nation-to-nation relationship.”

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