The totem pole for Lelu Island was carved by Tsimshian carver Phil Gray. (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)

In Our Opinion: Lelu unsettled

The raising of the totem pole on Oct. 20 was a statement to be heard in Ottawa

The onslaught of rain took pause as people stood atop the hill where a totem pole would be raised.

Some said the shining sun was a blessing, a sign. The special occasion drew Tsimshian and Indigenous people from other nations as well as the likes of musicians, environmentalists, the owner of Patagonia and a small crew of media.

For many this was the first time they had ever witnessed a pole raising — a ceremony not to be taken lightly. The ropes tied to the cedar were pulled by young and old, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, in a community effort to raise the wolf carving to face out into the open sea.

RELATED: TOTEM POLE RAISED ON LELU AFTER LNG PROJECT FALLS

But the celebration wasn’t unanimous. The Prince Rupert Port Authority’s patrol boat floated in the distance, eye-level with the totem pole, a reminder that despite the end of Pacific NorthWest LNG’s project on Lelu Island there is a disconnect, a lack of concensus, on who owns the land.

“PRPA considers any activities conducted on Lelu Island without PRPA authorization as trespass,” the port authority stated.

But Ken Lawson, or Gwishawaal of wolf clan, a Gitwilgyoots house leader of one of nine allied tribes of the Lax Kw’alaams said otherwise. “We’re marking our territory, we’re occupying our land as we have years ago,” he said at the pole raising.

It’s clear that more discussions lay in wait between the federal government and the people who are steadily rooting themselves — more visually — in to Lelu.

Just Posted

City of Prince Rupert foots the bill for armed RCMP officers at Alaska ferry terminal, two trips scheduled

Two temporary voyages between Prince Rupert and Ketchikan added to AMHS schedule in Oct. and Nov.

Climate change, economy and reconciliation take centre stage at Oct. 15 All-Candidates Forum

Six of the eight candidates were in attendance at the Smithers event

LETTER: How do you like these NDP apples MLA Rice?

Prince Rupert District Teachers’ responds to MLA Jennifer Rice’s letter regarding union rally

HAMILTON: Something was wrong — really wrong, but there is hope

Hamilton shares a defining moment in his life for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Spotlight on B.C.: Liberals need at least 10 B.C. ridings to take the election

Black Press Media presents a four-part series into how B.C. will affect the federal election outcome

Kawhi Leonard, former Toronto Raptor, welcomed back to Vancouver at pre-season game

Fans go wild at pre-season game between L.A. Clippers and Dallas Mavericks at Rogers Arena

Greens and NDP go head to head on West Coast; Scheer takes fight to Bernier

Trudeau turns focus to key ridings outside Toronto after two days in Quebec

Anti-pipeline protestors clash with supporters at North Matters event in Smithers.

The event was organized by The North Matters (TNM) and billed as a non-political event

Canucks beat Stanley Cup champs 4-3 in a shootout

Leivo nets winner, Vancouver dumps St. Louis for fourth straight win

‘The more you test, the more you find’: Beef recalls a sign of success, experts say

Despite appearances, experts say a recent rise in major recalls is not a sign of food supply problems

Scholars say religious vaccine objections can’t be traced to Biblical sources

Vaccinations are a requirement to attend class in Ontario and New Brunswick, while B.C. launched a demand this fall

ELECTION 2019: How would the major parties address Canada’s housing crisis?

Promises include speculation taxes, more affordable housing, and declaring housing a human right

Japanese buyer expands wood pellet contract with B.C.’s Pinnacle

Mitsui and Co. increases contract with Interior energy producer

Most Read