Group admonished for last-minute pipeline support

Eight Haidas showed support for the Northern Gateway pipeline last week as a firm called Haida Hereditary Chefs of North Haida Gwaii LLP.

Eight Haidas showed support for the Northern Gateway pipeline last week as a firm called Haida Hereditary Chefs of North Haida Gwaii LLP.

Only four are hereditary chiefs.

The group incorporated in March, when they also signed a letter endorsing a three-year extension for Enbridge’s crude oil export project.

“We require more time to engage with Northern Gateway, in light of significant engagement progress made over the course of the past year,” they wrote.

In the last year, Enbridge has offered First Nations and Metis living along the Northern Gateway pipeline route the chance to own up to a third of the project, up from 10 per cent—an increase that would double their shared benefits to $2 billion.

The chiefs’ letter only went public last Wednesday, when it was received by the National Energy Board.

Copies flew around Masset and Old Massett as surprised residents learned of the group and its support for the controversial project.

On Facebook, several denounced it as a case of “Rent-a-Chief.”

Peter Lantin (kil tlaats’gaa), president of the Haida Nation, said in a radio interview that the chiefs involved do not have the support of their clans.

Hours after the letter went public, news arrived that the Haida and seven other First Nations won a federal court ruling that overturns the 2014 approval of Northern Gateway.

In its own letter to the National Energy Board, the Council of the Haida Nation opposed the Northern Gateway extension, said it is the sole collective voice for the Haida Nation, and criticized Northern Gateway for offering money to Haida hereditary leaders in exchange for their support.

Such efforts, said the CHN, are “contrary to the spirit and intent of Canada’s commitment to both reconciliation and a ‘renewed relationship with Indigenous Peoples.”

The CHN also cited the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which requires the free, prior and informed consent of First Nations—and from representatives of the people’s own choosing.

“Under Canadian and Haida law, Enbridge cannot meet any project approval conditions through engagement with any Haida governing body other than the CHN.”

In its filing to the National Energy Board, the CHN included draft copies of contracts that Northern Gateway offered Haida chiefs in exchange for their support.

Northern Gateway offered $10,000 to help chiefs set up a corporate structure and up to $90,000 “to promote traditional cultural activities of their choosing.”

The contracts also offer $50,000 to help chiefs negotiate work contracts for related emergency response and marine services—work that might include running tugs or spotter boats, as well as studies of things like tanker drift and local marine birds.

The contracts also say chiefs can negotiate up to $5 million in sole-sourced construction contracts and offer a “first mover advantage” should the Haida chiefs be “the first coastal community to partner up with Northern Gateway.”

Calls to the Hereditary Chefs of North Haida Gwaii LLP were not returned by the Observer press deadline.

Wilson Brown, one of the eight who signed the letter, posted a Facebook note to explain the letter to members of his clan.

“It says ‘hereditary Leaders’ which refers to the chiefs who are part of our persuit of a fair process in the event Tankers start moving regardless of what the Haida say,”  said Wilson, noting that he has made it clear to Enbridge that neither he nor his father are potlatched chiefs.

Under review from 2005 to 2014, the Northern Gateway project has so far cost Enbridge $630 million, including $100 spent after the now-overturned 2014 approval to meet conditions attached to that approval and to build First Nations and Métis support.

 

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

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Complaint against Prince George RCMP in death of Wet’suwet’en man

Thirty-five year old Dale Culver died while in Prince George RCMP custody last summer.

Philadelphia Eagles headed to Super Bowl

After routing the Minnesota Vikings 38-7, they will face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots

Heavy snowfall closes Mount Washington on Vancouver Island

Road to ski resort deemed unsafe, vehicles buried under more than three feet of snow

VIDEO: Dramatic video shows return of rescued B.C. snowboarders

Two snowboarders were rescued near Rossland, B.C. on Sunday after being lost overnight.

Tom Brady leads Patriots back to Super Bowl, top Jaguars 24-20

New England to face winner of Sunday night’s game between Minnesota and Philadelphia on Feb. 4

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Final phase of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trials to kick off in B.C.

Doctors hope to get psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy legalized in Canada and the U.S. by 2021

Most Read