Tired of sitting idle in Masset’s Haidawood Studios, puppets from the recent production Haida Raid 2: A message to Stephen Harper got together in downtown Masset to Defend Our Coast from the Evil Enbridge Empire. According to Raven, “We’re sick and tired of these companies like Enbridge threatening to bring massive oil tankers to our coast hauling toxic bitumen. It’s time to stop their motion and start defending our coast!”
While the members of the Haida Raid production were feisty and bold at the protest action, the event was largely peaceful and no arrests were made.
“The Haida Nation grilled Enbridge executives and pipeline experts with questions about the price of oil, how much money the federal government stands to make and which First Nations are in favour of the pipeline during final hearings for the Northern Gateway project last week in Edmonton. Council of the Haida Nation president Guujaaw and lawyer Terri Lynn Williams Davidson spoke on behalf of the Haida Nation at the Sept. 20 session.
Guujaaw began his questions by asking about prices for crude oil, and how they would be affected by the proposed pipeline, which would carry tar sands oil to Kitimat for transport to markets in the Far East. Continue reading →
The Haida culture is based in our spiritual, mental and physical relationship to the land, waters and all life forces. The very core of our culture is our spiritual connections, which govern our use of the Creator’s gifts.
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We well know the sweat of our brow. We follow our ancient harvest calendar to provide for self and community. Harvesting, preparing and preserving for the year takes a great deal of work and community effort from the spring through winter. On Haida Gwaii, our people are working intimately with all life forms: seaweeds, clams, cockles, all species of fish, sea cucumber, geoduck, mussels, octopus, to name a few of the ocean foods. The forest gifts include trees, medicines, berries and greens.
Last week saw the second visit of the Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel to Haida Gwaii, this time in Skidegate. The Panel returns to the islands in June. Here is an excerpt from the Courage to be posting on Blue Sky Haida Gwaii Blog:
We know from other such panel visitations in the past, that the quasi-judicial JRP process is an exercise in pretty raw governmental power. There are massive sets of rules and regulations, arbitrary procedures and technical requirements. Unless you are a lawyer, it’s not the most comfortable of circumstances. At face value, the purpose of the JRP is to gather evidence. But, inevitably, if you find yourself on the negative side of a proponent who is being outright supported by the federal government, it’s difficult not to see yourself forced into the position of supplicant – pleading, imploring, offering evidence and testimony in your own defence.
It’s tough to maintain a centre of dignity and integrity in a situation like that. But then, people around here have always been very good at absorbing issues of power and, always respectfully, moving forward through an entirely different axis of action. This is the history of politics on Haida Gwaii.
Coverage of the inspiring words of people presented at the Old Masset hearings in February:
Some 50 people occupy the seats at this end of the gymnasium – hereditary chiefs, elected leaders, witnesses, and elders, all of them observing the events. The remainder of the space is row seating and bleachers, where 400+ islanders also listen attentively, as speakers share their stories with the panel – how they learned to fish, to harvest seaweed, to hunt. How these activities are essential to who they are, to their survival. Songs and stories are shared, detailing how Haida culture has continuously evolved along with the ocean for millennia.