Greenpeace increases anti-oil campaign in HG

  • Jun. 7, 2015 5:00 a.m.

By Stacey MarpleHaida Gwaii ObserverThe Greenpeace ship MY Esperanza visited Haida Gwaii last week in a bid to raise awareness about its People vs Oil campaign. The 36-member crew, which included six people from as many First Nations, set sail from North Vancouver May 19 to Haida Gwaii to help connect coastal communities opposing pipelines and super tankers. The campaign specifically targets Arctic oil drilling. According to Greenpeace, Shell is currently preparing to send its fleet of Arctic oil drilling and support vessels to the Alaskan Arctic, where it plans to begin exploratory drilling July 1, which would mean increased oil tanker traffic along B.C.’s coastline. Greenpeace has a long-standing relationship with many First Nations from around North America, but the mission to Haida Gwaii is the first all-indigenous delegation in Greenpeace history. The Crew and delegates were welcomed to Skidegate by a traditional Haida canoe along with Haida drumming and singing from the students of Sk’aadgaa Naay Elementary School. Hereditary chiefs and other members of the Haida Nation were welcomed aboard the ship for a tour and brunch.As the ship laid anchor in Queen Charlotte harbour for several days, the public was invited aboard for toursMasset’s Victor Thompson was aboard the vessel representing Haida Gwaii. Mr. Thompson was asked to join the campaign when he was aboard the ship for a ceremony recognizing a First Nation design for the campaign, used by Greenpeace, in Vancouver.Mr. Thompson said he was honoured to join the movement, and to show the other delegates, who had never been to Haida Gwaii, his home.Other than a case of seasickness the delegates said the mood was positive, and they were committed to their campaign. Audrey Siegl  of the Musqueam nation spoke passionately about her nation’s history and continuing battle to save their territory. “It is uniting to have Greenpeace working with first nations,” Ms. Siegl said. Following the breakage of a pipeline and the spill of 79,500 litres of crude oil along California’s coast last week, Ms. Siegl added the timing of their voyage highlights just how unprepared we are to handle a spill off Canada’s west coast.”The difference in the time of the response and the equipment deployed in English Bay versus Santa Barbara demonstrates that the west coast is not ready for increased fossil fuel traffic. It took four hours for the Canadian Coast Guard to arrive at English Bay and 12 hours to deploy the oil booms. In California, authorities responded almost immediately. “But of course, that oil in California will never completely leave its shores. This land and this water is never going to be the same after what happened in English Bay, to say nothing of what would happen to the coast from a more catastrophic spill. This is not the future my ancestors envisioned.””The only way to efficiently safeguard our coasts is to say no to pipelines and supertankers, regardless of where the oil comes from, tar sands or the Arctic. For our coast and sacred waters, they mean exactly the same.” Aboard the Esperanza, the Observer asked delegates how the people back home reacted to the news of their joining the Greenpeace campaign. All delegates agreed they were both surprised and proud. Taylor George-Hollis from the Squamish Nation. Candace Campo from the Shishalh Nation, Robert Holler from the Anishinabe Nation and Michael Auger from the Woodland Cree Nation in Alberta were along with Mr. Thompson and Ms. Siegl on the ship as delegates. The nations represented on the MY Esperanza all have been faced with oil development on their territories and the risks associated with oil transportation. Greenpeace says those most severely affected and threatened by oil development are coastal first nations of British Columbia. They are on board the Esperanza to connect with each other and the rest of the world to “bring a single message of hope: people will prevail and our coasts will not be devastated.”

Just Posted

Haida Gwaii gets top spot in The World

It was already a nice Christmas present, but Keith Moore was really… Continue reading

McNeill fined again for illegal fishing

A local man with a long history of poaching has been convicted… Continue reading

Painting her way home

Janine Gibbons talks about all she learned illustrating Haida and Tlingit story books

Old Massett taps grassroots for community plan

Over coffee, kitchen tables, and community dinners, Old Massett is taking a… Continue reading

Subsea internet cable to link up Haida Gwaii

Cable to connect Haida Gwaii, Prince Rupert, Vancouver Island, Sunshine Coast with mainland network

B.C. cougar kitten rescued after mother struck by vehicle

Conservation Officers find home for young kitten found dehydrated and frostbitten near Williams Lake

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

B.C. woman who forged husband’s will gets house arrest

Princeton Judge says Odelle Simmons did not benefit from her crime

Women’s movement has come a long way since march on Washington: Activists

Vancouver one of several cities hosting event on anniversary of historic Women’s March on Washington

Liberals’ 2-year infrastructure plan set to take 5: documents

Government says 793 projects totalling $1.8 billion in federal funds have been granted extensions

Workers shouldn’t be used as ‘pawns’ in minimum wage fight: Wynne

Comments from Kathleen Wynne after demonstrators rallied outside Tim Hortons locations across Canada

John ‘Chick’ Webster, believed to be oldest living former NHL player, dies

Webster died Thursday at his home in Mattawa, Ont., where he had resided since 1969

World’s fastest log car made in B.C. sells for $350,000 US

Cedar Rocket auctioned off three times at Barrett-Jackson Co., netting $350,000 US for veterans

Most Read