Pipeline a risk too great

They will lose even more: their ability to live from the land and the sea and with that, their culture and their identity as a people.

Dear Sir:

Don Roberts, chief counsellor of Kitsumkalum, made an eloquent presentation

in front of the Enbridge hearings Jan. 12 on behalf of his people and us all.

Chief Roberts talked with simple and powerful eloquence of the rich

diversity of wildlife along the Skeena Valley and out into the adjoining

sea.  He not only described the commercial wealth of the salmon, halibut and

herring harvests but also of their intricate interdependence with the bears,

birds, seals, whales and the whole vast chain of sea life.

Then he connected that to the life of his people, a people who have a

similar interdependence that has grown over thousands of years.  The

Ts’msyen have a huge economic stake in a healthy environment because their

culture and way of life is based on the annual cycle of life around them.

They still harvest their food from their territories throughout the year.

They don’t take the occasional salmon for Sunday dinner.  They harvest clams

and cockles, herring and herring roe, sea cucumbers and seaweed.  It is an

incredibly diverse and healthy diet and it is utterly dependent on the

health of the land and sea.

A seasoned fisherman, Don Roberts knows the currents and tides of the river

and the coast. He knows how quickly oil could come down river and how

impossible it would be to stop it, especially if the river was iced over.

He knows that it would take the tides a single day to move an oil spill off

Hartley Bay to the mouth of the Skeena.  He knows both how quickly disaster

can come and how total it would be.

The Kitsumkalum people would lose their economy.  It takes half a million

dollars to buy a fishing boat, outfit it and license it. No fisherman can

afford the loss of his fishery but the Ts’msyen least of all.  If a healthy

part of their economy is removed, they are destitute.

But if their food source is removed they will lose even more: their ability to live from the

land and the sea and with that, their culture and their identity as a


Their well-being is tied to the well-being of their territory.  So is ours.

“There is no compensation that will ever cover that,” he said.  He’s right.

Robert Hart,

Terrace, BC



Just Posted

B.C. BUDGET: New spaces a step to universal child care

Fees reduced for licensed daycare operators

BC BUDGET: NDP cracks down on speculators, hidden ownership

Foreign buyers’ tax extended to Fraser Valley, Okanagan, Vancouver Island

B.C. BUDGET: Payroll tax replaces medical premiums

Health spending to increase $1.5 billion for drugs, primary care teams

Terrace runner earns honour for U20 Team Canada

Tyler Dozzi takes silver in Pan American Cross Country Championships, gold with U20 team

B.C. freestyle skier wins gold

Cassie Sharpe of Comox shines in the halfpipe

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Northern B.C. runner earns medal for U20 Team Canada at Pan American race

B.C. record-breaking runner Tyler Dozzi says it was unlike anything else earning silver for Canada

Hydaburg makes it three in a row

Hydaburg came back from 10 points down in the second half to beat Aiyansh

Kitkatla end 54 year drought with title win

The Warriors defeated Hydaburg 70-67 in overtime to win the 2018 All Native Tournament title

UBCO students to get medical cannabis coverage

Kelowna - The pilot project will be implemented in April

BC BUDGET: NDP push for purpose-built rentals in ‘historic’ $1.6B investment

Hundreds of thousands of new low- and middle-income units coming over three years

B.C. BUDGET: More for wildfire recovery, campsites

NDP government to hire 20 more Conservation Officers this year

B.C. BUDGET: Liberals blast ‘tax and spend’ plan

Payroll tax, carbon tax increase threaten growth, opposition critics say

Most Read