Saints demand end to oil and gas sponsorship

  • Feb. 16, 2015 5:00 p.m.

By Quinn BenderHaida Gwaii ObserverMembers of the Skidegate Saints have appealed to organizers of the All Native Basketball Tournament to terminate its relationships with sponsors from the oil and gas industry.In an emotional letter to the tournament committee Jan. 21, 14 signatories of the three-time defending Seniors Division champions wrote the industry’s presence is an attempt to gain social license in a tournament that once filled a void created by genocide and colonization. They want tournament organizers to reject sponsorship from companies planning to export oil or liquefied natural gas from the North Coast ­-including current sponsors BG Group, Pacific NorthWest LNG and Aurora LNG-as well as those planning to construct pipelines to carry the product to the terminal. The Saints, who will look for their fourth straight title this year, claim the sponsorship is ruining some of the enjoyment of past years. “The tournament is special for so many reasons and we strongly feel the committee’s fundraising direction is eroding the spirit and soul of this once great event,” reads the letter.”For our generation the All-Native is the place where we gather and interact with one another Â… with the heavy oil and gas industry presence and sponsorship last year it feels like the whole event has been compromised and has lost some of the integrity that has been built up over the years.”Looking back at photos Â… these great memories are tainted with the sponsorship signs and imply an acceptance of the industry by all participants and communities. As far as we know, these companies are using images of the First Nations people at the tournament to sell their projects as First Nations supported and endorsed, which is not the case.”We are in opposition to the fracked liquefied natural gas and oil projects that are being proposed and if playing in the tournament is associated with these projects the we will have to consider not attending the tournament in the future.”Part of the expenses incurred by the tournament come from a per diem paid to players and coaches still competing, a number that reached $45,000 in 2013, but the Saints say that is an expense they could do without. “We are not there for the fancy prizes or per diem, but for the pride of representing our nation,” the team wrote.All Native Basketball Tournament president Peter Haugan declined to comment on the letter or the request of the Saints to forgo sponsorship from oil and gas companies. The Observer called 2014 Best Defensive Player, Jason Alsop, who posted the letter to his Facebook page, but he declined to comment further. “I think the letter speaks for itself and we have nothing else to add,” he said.with files from Shaun Thomas

Just Posted

Number-one bud: Q.C. cannabis store could be the first on Haida Gwaii

A local business owner is looking to open the first licensed cannabis… Continue reading

B.C. chiefs show solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs

Chiefs from around B.C. outside the Coastal GasLink pipeline route in Smithers show support.

December windstorms led to record ferry cancellations

Baileys for breakfast? It may not be what the doctor ordered, but… Continue reading

RCMP to review actions at Wet’suwet’en pipeline protest camps

Senior Mountie says he hopes protests will be peaceful following deal with hereditary chiefs

On the Wing: Christmas Bird Count #4 — Skidegate Inlet

By Margo Hearne The marine forecast read “winds northwest 15 to 25… Continue reading

B.C. opioid crisis to get same world-renowned treatment approach as HIV/AIDS

A program that focuses on treatment as prevention will roll out Jan. 17

Ex-Liberal candidate in Burnaby, B.C., says volunteer wrote controversial post

Karen Wang dropped out following online post singling out NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s ethnicity

Asteroids are smacking Earth twice as often as before

The team counted 29 craters that were no older than 290 million years

Canada’s arrest of Huawei exec an act of ‘backstabbing,’ Chinese ambassador says

China has called Canada’s arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou ‘politically motivated’

Port authority imposes ban on development around Lelu Island

Following Pacific Northwest LNG, there will be no future projects proposed near Flora Bank

In limbo: Leftover embryos challenge clinics, couples

Some are outright abandoned by people who quit paying storage fees and other couples struggle with tough decisions

BREAKING: Jury finds man accused of killing B.C. girl, 12, guilty

Twelve-year-old Monica Jack disappeared in May 1978 while riding her bike along a highway in Merritt, B.C.

B.C. government extends coastal log export rules for six months

Premier John Horgan promises reform at loggers’ convention

B.C. pair accused of ‘honour-killing’ in India to be extradited within days

Malkit Kaur Sidhu and Surjit Singh Badesha are accused of conspiracy to commit murder

Most Read