Members of First Nations whose reserves are in British Columbia returned from a visit to the British Petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico more determined than ever to keep supertankers off their coast.
“Everywhere we went people told us the same thing: if you have a choice when it comes to big oil development, don’t do it. And if you do, prepare for the worst,” says Gerald Amos, a Haisla Nation counselor, in this report posted on Marketwire:
- Coastal and inland First Nations in B.C. are fighting Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline, which would carry tar sands crude oil from Alberta to a tanker port at Kitimat, B.C. and bring 225 crude oil tankers per year to B.C.’s northern coastal waters.
The delegation learned of the BP spill’s impact on the Gulf Coast’s fishing economy from the president of the Louisiana Shrimp Association.
“Shrimp are to Louisiana what wild salmon are to B.C.,” said Art Sterritt, executive director of Coastal First Nations, an alliance of nine Nations from B.C.’s central and north coast. “The shrimp fishermen told us that their economy is gone, but worse than that they risk losing a huge part of their fishing culture. That’s a message that hits close to home for our people who depend so heavily on fish and seafood.”
Members of the delegation met with the United Houma Nation, whose people live on the Louisiana coast and are directly affected by the spill
“It was powerful to meet the Houma and share our experiences as indigenous people,” says Amos. “The oil spill just adds to a whole lot of other impacts on their territories. They fear this oil spill could be the straw that breaks their culture’s back.”
First Nations across Canada have been uniting to oppose more development of the tar sands. (See video above.)
Tags: Alberta oil sands, Alberta tar sands, BP, British Petroleum, buffalo post, Enbridge, First Nations, Gulf oil spill, Gwen Florio, Haisla Nation, Native American news, Northern Gateway Pipeline, United Houma Nations