I remember watching a Wade Davis (an explorer in residence with National Geographic) talk some time ago that spoke of the Tahltan’s fight to keep their sacred headwaters. There was this moment in the story that stuck with me where he is describing a community meeting of some sort. One young non Indigenous man jumps up and says if you go through with this project we will all leave this place! A few moments later a Tahltan man stands up and says that maybe this guy (the young man) would leave but I will still be here regardless.
Home is where the land knows your name.
I read in an interview that the provincial energy Minister Bill Bennett said that 75 percent of the 600 workers on the Site C project are from British Columbia. But what part of BC are they from? We, Indigenous and Non Indigenous, are tucked away in the North Eastern corner of BC. There are non Indigenous people who have been raised here for generations and love what the North has to offer. We lNortherner’s love our wide open spaces, we love quadding and camping, and yes, a lot of us love our hunting and trapping. We have watched as the mudding holes we used to quad in turn into developed subdivisions to accommodate the influx of workers due to the oil and gas development. We have watched our best berry picking spots disappear, or our favourite secret getaways become leases.
The fact of the matter is that when the job is done and when everything slows down, we will be the people who will still be here. I am not trying to draw lines or divisions in between British Columbians, when Burnaby Mountain happened, we felt your rally cries. When the Unistoten Camp on the North West side of BC put a call out for help, my mother and I gathered food supplies and drove thirteen hours and back in a straight shot to show our support. The point is, that we are all in this together but we are your North Eastern brothers and sisters, and just because the voice is far, does not mean it isn’t loud or doesn’t ring true.
There is a great amount of support from Non-Indigenous Allies and Indigenous people because the only way to make change is to do it together. We move to protect these places and spaces that makes Beautiful British Columbia one of the best places to live. We, the Treaty 8 Stewards of the Land at the Rocky Mountain Fort and our dedicated amazing Allies who are also Stewards of the Land, have not given up hope and continue to believe that our home, our lands, are worth fighting for.
I read a lot of comments from people saying “it’ll just go through anyway,” or even more accurate, “stupid people its already happening, leave it alone”. There has been countless of peaceful actions before this but this is what happens when a Government refuses to listen or take notice. We have to make movement and why? Why not just stop?
Because when you will no longer take a stand is when they win. I stood in camp a few nights ago and held a woman while she wept for the land, for the loss, and for the struggle. My internal compass says that this is not right.
I talked with my Great Aunt last night and she told me that even if you only have one voice, you make it loud.
I believe in walking with integrity. This summer almost my entire family and an amazing young man walked 36 kms of the Valley with a summer heat of 28 degrees Celsius beating down on us. We had three generations walking along the valley, praying for the land, being visible, and downright enjoying the beautiful scenery. I sat all of my cousins and my son down that night as the son was setting and I told them, “You remember this, you come from a family that stands for what they believe in”.
I call on our brothers and sisters from BC, from the Treaty 8 Territory that spans out, to the Tse Keh Dene who have already been impacted from the dams upstream on the Peace River, to the Indigenous and Non Indigenous to join us. But bring wall tents and stoves because it’s cold! Haha.. Make your own movement where you are, host a day of action in your own community and stand with us, make a sign and post a picture. Tweet. Lay Tobacco, say a prayer, hold the land and the animals in your thoughts. Pray that our families are watched over.
It is the belief that we can create change that has moved mountains (or kept valleys).
To those who disbelieve in change (doesn’t even have to be applicable to this current fight to keep the Peace Valley), my prayers are with you because I once believed I held no power myself. That is something that life and hard experiences teaches you and I pray that you experience otherwise and are able to move your own mountains as well.