The Jim Ciccone Civic Centre gym was practically filled to capacity for the beginning of a day-long protest against the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline organized by the Gitga’at of Hartley Bay, a community that lies long the proposed route of oil tankers coming from Kitimat.
The protest started with speeches from Elders and councillors and chiefs of many different First Nations as well the mayor of Prince Rupert and the local MLA, all stressing the importance of protecting asserting aboriginal rights and title and protecting the environment.
After the initial speeches there was dancing. Ceremonial dancers from many different clans performed their traditional dances to the sound of singing and drums. And it wasn’t just the dancing troupe with their headdresses and button-blankets who dances, people who belonged to each clan got out of the bleachers and danced in their plain clothes or in the maroon anti-Enbridge hoodies many were wearing. Every one from the very old to the very young made their way to gymnasium floor, and even a city councillor or two.