Gitxsan Chiefs and House Leaders on Lax Eula on Sept.12

Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs show support to ‘peaceful occupation’ of Lelu Island

Members of the Lax Kw'alaams band who have been camping on Lelu Island gained some further support this weekend.

Members of the Lax Kw’alaams band who have been camping on Lelu Island to oppose the Pacific NorthWest LNG terminal gained some further support this weekend with the arrival of a number of Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs.

Luutkudziiwus House leaders have been maintaining a camp on their traditional Madii Lii territory since August 2014 in order to stop the construction of the proposed Prince Rupert Gas pipeline, which would supply gas to the proposed Pacific NorthWest LNG plant, and say the two camps have a lot in common.

“We are standing together with the Chiefs on Lelu Island in opposition to the same LNG project. Our Madii Lii territory is on the pipeline route, and their Lelu Island territory is on the terminal site. We have both said no. This project threatens the salmon that all Skeena River and North Coast people depend on, and we thank the Yahaan (Don Wesley) and other Tsimshian Chiefs for what they are doing for all of us,” said Gitxsan Hereditary Chief Luutkudziiwus (Charlie Wright).

“We are taking the government to court over the lack of consultation, the inadequate baseline information presented, the weak and subjective impact assessment, the current cumulative effects from past development, and the massive infringement of our Aboriginal rights. People are now on the ground blocking the Petronas project from the coast to far inland,” said Madii Lii spokesperson Richard Wright.

The occupation has been taking place since late August and continue even as equipment has shown up on the shores of the island.

“The Prince Rupert Port Authority has given permission for Pacific NorthWest LNG to continue geotechnical work, which will inform their environmental assessment. This does not represent the start of project construction,” said port authority manager of corporate communication Michael Gurney, noting the port Charles Hays vessel has been patrolling the area to ensure the safety of all concerned.

“We continue to respect the right of any part to voice their opinion on any project as long as it is done safely and respectfully … our staff has been instructed to ask anyone who jeopardizes safety on the water to cease that activity.”

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