“We protect what was passed down to us.”
KAIROS staffer Katy Quinn traveled to Kitkatla, Haida Gwaii and Prince Rupert to attend hearings of the Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel, meet the communities that will be affected by the proposed pipeline, and to see the area, including part of the proposed supertanker route. Take a look at what she saw.
The proposed Northern Gateway pipeline from Alberta to Kitimat, British Columbia, poses profound challenges for Indigenous rights and ecological justice. The proposed pipeline would run 1172 kilometers and carry 525,00 barrels a day of diluted bitumen to the west coast for export by tankers mostly to Asian markets. A second pipeline would carry hundreds of thousands of barrels of condensate (used to dilute the bitumen) back to Alberta each day. It would allow for increased extraction of bitumen from the Alberta tar sands, resulting in a substantial increase in greenhouse gas emissions.
Gateway would traverse hundreds of streams and rivers where salmon spawn and cut through landscape prone to landslides and occasional earthquakes. The oil tankers would navigate narrow marine channels, including the Hecate Strait, one of the most difficult bodies of water in the world in terms of navigation.
Many First Nations feel impacted by Northern Gateway and have expressed concern for the fragility and interconnectedness of ecosystems on traditional lands. The federal government acknowledges that more that sixty First Nations need to be consulted because the proposed project may impact their Aboriginal and treaty rights.
KAIROS has adopted a policy statement calling for no further approvals for tar sands projects to help contain climate change and out of concern for Indigenous peoples whose rights, health and livelihoods are threatened by tar sands projects.
KAIROS also calls for a renewed covenant with Indigenous peoples in Canada, one that upholds rights to be self-determining, distinct peoples with an adequate land base. These rights are central to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Respecting jurisdiction over traditional lands is foundational to negotiations about Northern Gateway.
Save the Fraser Gathering of Nations
Sixty-six First Nations in British Columbia came together in 2010 to declare their opposition to the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline and protect their lands, territories and watersheds, and ocean migration routes of Fraser River salmon. Since then, an additional 40 First Nations from BC, Alberta and the Northwest Territories have signed the document. Visit the Save the Fraser website for more information on the declaration, including maps and a video of the signing. Click image for PDF version of the declaration.
Coastal First Nations Declaration
The Coastal First Nations is an alliance of First Nations on British Columbia’s North and Central Coast and Haida Gwaii. The Coastal First Nations include Wuikinuxv Nation, Heiltsuk, Kitasoo/Xaixais, Nuxalk Nation, Gitga’at, Haisla, Metlakatla, Old Massett, Skidegate, and Council of the Haida Nation. Lax Kw’alaams is an associate member of the Coastal First Nations. In the face of threats to their ancient Northwest cultures and livelihoods, these nations have issued a declaration, banning oil tankers carrying Alberta tar sands crude oil from their lands and waters. They have also made a declaration to affirm the value of and protect their culture and the natural world. You can find out more about the Coastal First Nations on their website. Click image for PDF version of the declaration.