The Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs is supporting a protest action that may grow into a defining stand on the ground against the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion project.
Stewart Phillip, president and grand chief of the UBCIC, said that he and his wife, Joan, will join a march Saturday (March 10) at 10 a.m. that will start near the Lake City Way SkyTrain Station in Burnaby and end at an undisclosed location.
“The opposition against the Kinder Morgan pipeline is broad-based and widespread throughout the province, particularly along the proposed pipeline route,” Phillip told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview. “For good reasons, British Columbians and First Nations believe that we have a fundamental right to protect the safety, health, and well-being of our communities from the devastating impacts of a catastrophic pipeline rupture or a tanker spill.”
The March 10 protest, dubbed in part as Kwekwecnewtxw, is organized by members of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation.
The website protecttheinlet.ca, created by organizers, states that the march is the beginning of “ongoing action” that will establish a “new frontline of resistance” against the $7.4-billion expansion of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline.
Although no details were available, the site explains that the word Kwekwecnewtxw translates into “a place to watch from”. “This name refers to the land defense grounded in Coast Salish spirituality and culture.”
The protest is also called ‘Protect the Inlet’, which organizers say refers to “ongoing mobilizations” that start on March 10.
Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has declared that the government will ensure that the Kinder Morgan pipeline project will be done.
The Tsleil-Waututh Nation, which has formally opposed the project, is not organizing the protest, according to the mobilization's website.
The Tsleil-Waututh have formed the Sacred Trust Initiative as an arm to fight the pipeline project, which will triple the capacity of the pipeline and increase by seven-fold tanker traffic in the Burrard Inlet.
In a statement posted on its website on February 6, the Sacred Trust Initiative states: “We respect that all residents and TWN members have the right to voice their concerns. Although direct action has a long history of playing a role in moments of important social change Tsleil-Waututh Nation is focused on fighting Kinder Morgan in the courts.”
Formerly known as the Burrard Indian Band, the Tsleil-Waututh have considered the inlet and the lands and waters around it as part of their traditional territory.
Tsleil-Waututh elder Ta’ah Amy George and member Will George have called for the March 10 mobilization.
Neither Will George nor any spokesperson of Kinder Morgan was available for an interview.