Snuneymuxw elder Gary Manson, left, shows images of marine life to a National Energy Board panel on Wednesday at oral traditional evidence proceedings at Nanaimo’s Vancouver Island Conference Centre. The Snuneymuxw had a dozen members as part of their delegation including Chief Mike Wyse, middle, and Coun. Paul Wyse-Seward. (GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin)

Snuneymuxw elder Gary Manson, left, shows images of marine life to a National Energy Board panel on Wednesday at oral traditional evidence proceedings at Nanaimo’s Vancouver Island Conference Centre. The Snuneymuxw had a dozen members as part of their delegation including Chief Mike Wyse, middle, and Coun. Paul Wyse-Seward. (GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin)

Vancouver Island elders ‘scared’ of potential impacts of pipeline expansion

Snuneymuxw First Nation presents traditional evidence at National Energy Board hearing in Nanaimo

Snuneymuxw elders, speaking at a National Energy Board hearing held on their traditional territory, expressed fear and sadness about risks of pipeline expansion on the West Coast.

The NEB is holding oral traditional evidence proceedings, hearing from about 30 indigenous intervenors. There were sessions in Calgary and Victoria the last two weeks of November and this week the hearings are taking place at Nanaimo’s Vancouver Island Conference Centre.

Speaking on behalf of the Nanaimo-area Snuneymuxw First Nation on Wednesday were elders Geraldine Manson (C’tasi:a) and Gary Manson (Xulsimalt). Chief Mike Wyse was among 10 other members of the Snuneymuxw First Nation there as part of the delegation. Wyse presented a gift to the panel and said the Snuneymuxw were there to participate in the process in a good way.

SFN members performed some examples of ceremonies that demonstrated the First Nation’s connection with the environment, especially the ocean. Gary Manson said the Snuneymuxw have not forgotten that connection and he wants it to remain for his grandchildren, so that they will be able to see, in the future, the same sea they see now. He said he’s scared and made a plea in Hul’qumi’num that he said translates to “have pity.”

“I know that there’s this effort to send some tankers full of oil through our territory and I’m afraid of that and so are the people,” he said.

Geraldine Manson said an oil spill in the area would be devastating.

“Even though they have set a plan for oil spills, it’s not going to help in our community. It is saddening. It is like taking something away from us once again. [The ocean] is something spiritual. It is something our whole community relies on.”

She mentioned “the coast, all the sea life, medicinal plants that are found in the waters, all the shellfish, the salmon” and wondered, “where will they be if we don’t be the voice of protecting the waters?”

The elders were asked what it would mean if there were no more killer whales in the Strait of Georgia.

“To remove something that is so sacred to our communities, the killer whale and all the [other marine life], to remove them would be so devastating,” Geraldine Manson said. “It’s like losing language, it’s like losing culture. It’s removing something [that’s] a part of us.”

Gary Manson said he would grieve the loss of the killer whale for a long time if it were to happen. He said the impact of a potential oil spill would be unimaginable.

“I would blame myself somewhat. It’s another layer of anger that would come to the surface of my spirit…” he said. “I would carry the sadness to my grave. It’s something that I would not be able to justify fixing my spirit.”

Trans Mountain representatives and NEB panellists did not ask any questions of the Snuneymuxw delegation.

“We will consider all that we’ve heard as we decide on a recommendation,” said Lyne Mercier, NEB panel chairwoman.

The final day of hearings is tomorrow, Dec. 6. The oral traditional evidence proceedings are part of the federal government’s Trans Mountain expansion project reconsideration hearings.

RELATED: Energy board to hear traditional indigenous evidence in Trans Mountain review



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

An example of the forest land in the Port Renfrew and Fairy Creek area of Vancouver Island is shown on May 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne
Old-growth logging opponents launch hunger strike as arrests continue at Fairy Creek

Zain Haq says the hunger strikers will gather today at Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver

The City of Victoria is hoping to ring in the summer by celebrating local art and offering some distanced, live music to surprise people in parks, plazas and other public spaces. (Photo courtesy of the City of Victoria)
Live, pop-up concerts and local art being showcased in Victoria this summer

People will see surprise serenades at 16 locations throughout the summer

An example of the forest land in the Port Renfrew and Fairy Creek area of Vancouver Island is shown on May 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne
Old-growth logging opponents launch hunger strike as arrests continue at Fairy Creek

Zain Haq says the hunger strikers will gather today at Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver

Jada Benwell and Connor Larkey are the valedictorians of the 2021 graduating class at Parkland Secondary School. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Pandemic taught lessons in perseverance for North Saanich high schoolers

Parkland Secondary School to release 2021 grad ceremony video on June 25

The 14th annual Oak Bay Young Exceptional Star (YES) awards June 3. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)
Oak Bay celebrates its Young Exceptional Stars with outdoor award ceremony

Nine young people recognized in 14th annual awards

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read