The alliance between “white” people and First Nations to defend the Skeena River is something real, it’s not a promise that can be broken. Shannon McPhail of the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition works with residents: “Together we can protect the river that is our economy, our nature, our traditional food”. And if gas pipelines go through, all salmon and fish is at risk.
Families stop for a coffee or a soup during the berry season; hunters pass through and leave something for the community: at Madii Lii camp everyone is welcome to take part in the activities organized for children and young people, because this spot on the Suskwa River is becoming a kind of school in the traditional territory of the Gitxsan.
They have moved to the shores of the Morice River to stop Enbridge tar sands pipeline and now they are staying in the bush because this is their traditional territory, “this is our home”: fighting against the gas pipelines that will take natural gas to the plants on the coast, Freda Huson and Dini Ze Smogelgem of the Unist’ot’en are also building a healing center for young people.
Treaties signed with the Crown are not respected, that’s why Blueberry First Nation is suing the Province and the Federal Government for “accumulative impact” of resource extraction. This is the first time ever that such a case arrives to be discussed in court.
With already two dams and thousands of gas wells, the territory around the West Moberly Lake is no longer available for traditional activities: First Nations can no longer practice their culture and are living in a new form of segregation.
Christine Jack of the St’at’imc Nation maintains a checkpoint 50 kilometres into the Yalakom Valley near Lilloet BC, effectively shutting down logging operations from that point and patrols the kilometers before the camp as well as nearby valleys.
Poul and Esther Pedersen have their fields and their horses right in front of the construction site of the dam and they remember when an helicopter took off from their land to take Chiefs and activists to the occupation camp on the other slope of the Peace River. But that camp had to be removed.
Every Summer since more than 10 years people gather on the Peace River for the Paddle for the Peace: settlers and First Nations, farmers and native people are fighting together to protect 83 km of valley.
Peter McCartney of the Wilderness Committee in Vancouver gives an overview of the proposed developments planned in northern British Columbia, from the fracking wells in Fort St. John to the gas refrigeration plants on the coast, from the Site C dam to the pipeline network.