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REPORTING · 10th June 2010
Walter McFarlane

Speakers representing the Wet’su’weten Chiefs rose next to speak at the Solidarity Gathering of Nations at Kitamaat Village on Saturday May 29th. By now, it was estimated there were 600 people in the recreation centre.

They drummed and sang as they approached the stage. Chief Dsta’hyl drummed and sang a song of unification; he stated what affects one group of the First Nations affects them all.

“It’s interesting, in life, what brings people together. In this case, each and every one of you is amazing,” said Dsta’hyl. “If you ever think you’re too small to make a difference, try being in a room with a mosquito. Each and every one of you who is here today is a catalyst for change. Each and every one of you moves things, whether you know it or not, the instant you think about something, change starts. Some of the most great changes and the raising of consciousness amongst the human race always started with one person and rippled out right across.”

Hereditary chief Alphonse Gagnon was called upon next to speak. He stated when they started fighting Enbridge in 2006, there were less people present and people were less concerned. However, as the threat became more apparent more people have joined.

He stated their concern is their territory on the continental divide between the Frasier and the Skeena River. “The decisions that we make and the things that we allow to happen on our territory can affect all the people through out BC. All the way down the Skeena and all the way down the Frasier,” said Gagnon.

He added their land is also the incubation ground for the salmon. They have to look at all the threats which are coming in. Dumping, mining, agriculture, roads and CN Rail are the existing threats, each is leaving something in the water.

He stated everyone needs to be heard. Gagnon was also concerned the BC Government was removing red tape so projects could move forward. Another concern is voices which are discouraged from speaking because they are in an impoverished state and Enbridge promises jobs. “We’ve got to make sure our voices our heard, so when we hear of some of the stuff that is being pushed through, we all have to stand up to it,” said Gagnon.

Gagnon said they wish to have another gathering along the route of the pipeline. He spoke highly of one of the later speakers, Dr. Rikki Ott, and about history repeating itself as the tankers and the pipeline had come up in the 1970’s.

The final speaker was Chief John Richdale. He called everyone future Chiefs. He said to become Chief, one has to be pointed in a direction they know is right. He then addressed questions he asked at an Enbridge Shareholders Meeting.

“How do you plan on putting a pipeline through British Columbia when you don’t have the permission of the Wet’su’weten for the 22,000 square kilometres of traditional territories, for their homes? We have the right and title to that,” said Richdale. “He’s a very funny man. I don’t understand. He makes $6,000,000 a year and he doesn’t understand English.”

Richdale suggested to his clan, upon returning home, to take up a collection for an English Teacher for this person.

“We talked to him a couple of years ago and told him ‘No.’ He said ‘Oh, ‘no’ can be a maybe,’ said Richdale. He was later asked by this person if he had changed the no to a yes.

“Another collection we could do is for a hearing aid, he’s not listening to us,” said Richdale.

He stated it would not stop at one pipeline as one would become a ford and the ford would become a freeway.

“I know how to cook moose, I know how to cook fish, I don’t know how to cook money,” concluded Richdale.
Chief Dsta’hyl drummed and sang a song of unification; he stated what affects one group of the First Nations affects them all.
Chief Dsta’hyl drummed and sang a song of unification; he stated what affects one group of the First Nations affects them all.