Why Gitxsan built a camp to blockade an LNG pipeline in BC’s north
Vancouver Observer | Mychaylo Prystupa | September 15, 2014
In late August, an Aboriginal protest group with the Gitxsan tribe in northern B.C. constructed a permanent camp in their territory to oppose LNG pipelines that they say do not have their hereditary chiefs' approval. They call it "Camp Madii Lii" and their members block all "LNG traffic and other unauthorized industrial activity." TransCanada is proposing the $5-billion Prince Rupert Gas Transmission pipeline, to transport fracked gas from the northeast to B.C.'s coast.
What follows is an op/ed from the leaders of this camp.
"Let’s be clear – the BC Government has created and perpetuated a system that pits industry against First Nations. It divides communities and negatively impacts the investment climate in BC. It is this system the House of Luutkudziiwus, with the support of many other Gitxsan House groups, other First Nations and non-First Nation, are standing against. We welcome those who would use our territory for non-industrial activities such as fishing, hunting, food/medicine gathering, or outdoor recreation. We are not opposed to logging and would like to enter into access agreements that respect our House. We will never let LNG pipelines or related activities onto our Territory, it is simply too destructive and short-sighted."
"The state of our Gitxsan nation has become very disheartening as people are desperately trying to protect what traditional territory we have left. We seek to uphold the Gitxsan law of Gwalx Ye’insxwtis. This is a deep and broad principle with reference to the land and culture on traditional territory, it is described as the belief and ethic of “we received a full basket and it’s our duty to pass a full basket on.” Our ancestors have left us with a legacy that is being tainted by the ways of the western world system; power and financial wealth through industrialization of traditional lands. Our wealth is directly linked to the health of land and our people are being stifled into situations where their voices are not being heard or validated."