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In Defence of the Waters

Monday, October 31, 2016 17:47
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(Before It's News)

Voices met up with two of the Women Founders of the Occupation at Lax U'U'la

We're here in so called Prince Rupert, visiting with our friend Goot-Ges.  We've been lucky enough to spend the last 3 days processing Wild Salmon, which is exactly what is at stake as the Province and Corporation of Canada make announcements to move forward with the Fracked gas facility Pacific North West LNG on Lax U'u'la, (Lelu Island).  It seems fitting for us to share our 2nd update from June 18th when we visited Goot-Ges, Christie Brown and spent some time out on the waters and on Lax U'u'la.  You can check out the original post and see updates from the Voices: Indigenous Women on the Front Lines Speak on our website.

<3 wulfgang and beyon

We left Lekqungen Territory to cross the Salish Sea on the last day of May on our way to Lax U’u’la (Lelu Island) in Tsimshian territory.  On our first day out of so called vancouver we stopped in at Ulluisc to deliver donated food supplies, cash donations and photographs to Christine Jack, the caretaker and protector of the mountains there.  We were also able to sleep along the banks of Wedzin Kwah in the Gitemden Clan’s territory.  Wedzin Kwah is the life giving river that flows through Wet’suwet’en territory and has been fiercely protected by hereditary leadership of the Unist’ot’en clan.  Wedzin Kwah is a tributary to the Skeena river and we would eventually follow the Skeena along the highway of tears to the sea.

Lax U’u’la, is located at the mouth of the Skeena river.  Adjacent to the island are the Flora Banks, an area made up of glacial silt from the last ice age where eelgrass flourishes.  The Flora Banks and the eel grass that grows there is a crucial habitat for young Salmon smolts who as adults will run the Skeena river.  The eelgrass provides shelter from the strong currents and tides while the smolts acclimatize to their new lives in saltwater and adult salmon re-adjust to begin their journey up the river.  This is a place where one generation of salmon passes another.  The straight next to Lax U’u’la teams with porpoises, humpback whales pass through the region and wolves hunt the deer who find bountiful food on the island.  We were told the ancestors and wild spirits of the animals protect Lax U’u’la.

It is on this small marshy island, covered in berries, ancient cedars and eagle’s nests that Petronas and Pacific North West LNG (PNW LNG) scheme to build an export facility for gas fracked in the North East of so called bc.

There are 8 facilities planned for the Tsimshian’s territories around colonial Prince Rupert.

In August of 2015 five Women of Haida, Gitxsan and Tsimshian descent, with the support of the Hereditary House Leader for the Gitwilgyoots tribe responsible for Lax U’u’la, began an occupation of the Island.  Since that moment they have been offering their prayers, utilizing the medicines of the island, raising their children and going out onto the water to courageously stop the work of surveyors hired by PNW LNG.  Many warriors and supporters have joined these women in their fight for the land, waters and air.

We were honoured to have the opportunity to sit down with Christie Brown in her home and talk about her experiences protecting Lax U’u’la and beginning the occupation.  Once on the island we joined Goot Ges and her three children who harvest medicines there, offer prayers and join supporters in stopping industry on the water.  We were able to assist with cooking meals for supporters, constructing a cedar smokehouse, building a composting toilet and joining patrols to protect the island.

If you are interested in supporting the work of Goot-Ges, Independant Mama and Land Defender, with her work ending gender based violence and protecting both Tsimshian and Haida territories from Industry you can send a donation via e-transfer to [email protected], let us know it is for Goot-Ges and we will be sure to pass it along.  You can learn more about her work at Yakguudang Journies.

If you are interested in learning more about Lax U’u’la you can check out their facebook page or this short documentary.

If you would like to support the Land Defenders who are out there protecting the salmon, waters, land and air there are two specific needs:

The first is for financial donations to fuel the boats necessary for patrols, and you can donate to the go fund me, or e-transfer funds through: [email protected].

The second is a need for people to be out there on the land.  Supporters are welcome and skills related to working collaboratively, navigating conflicts, care work, boating, cooking and construction are super helpful.

If you have questions about accessibility or anything at all, please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected].

xo beyon and wulfgang


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