Kinder Morgan open house in Belcarra, BC on November 6, 2012
On November 6, 2012, Kinder Morgan held its open house in Belcarra, a community of 500 in Burrard Inlet. No public speeches could be made. Kinder Morgan representatives explained the event was not an open forum. What follows is the speech Kinder Morgan did not want to hear at their “open” house:
Ivona Vujica – Vancouver, BC
The Salish Sea Inlet of Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Musqueam First Nations is to celebrate, nurture and love. The otherworldly beauty of the inlet is unprecedented and cannot be replaced. The Inlet’s human stories so rich, have to be heard.
Present day Belcarra used to be home to a Tsleil-Waututh community that was wiped out by a small pox disease a generation before the arrival of the white man – his destruction potential was so great then.
I pray for forgiveness to those who had died and those who have lived to tell the story of the colonizers’ tragic beginnings in the inlet.
At least three First Nation bands live in their homeland Salish Sea Burrard Inlet together with many other First Nations people in Downtown East Side. The number of Aboriginal people in the inlet is small, yet they are the source of a high degree of cultural diversity, traditional, land-based knowledge and technology that is the key to protecting ourselves from our own self-inflicted extinction through imported and then legitimized practices of genocidal destruction.
Very few in number, a First Nations band in this vast inlet could not secure salmon for its young – the majority of its people – this year. These people’s bones are made of salmon. Salmon together with shellfish is their culturally relevant diet, and a major part of their diet. Neither this vast inlet nor the largest river in North America – Sto:lo (Fraser) River – could provide enough salmon to feed the Salish Inlet’s First Nation’s young. We are responsible to restore the Inlet and the River to their original condition.
This year, a First Nations youth ocean canoe was denied access to this Inlet’s waters. The culturally relevant activity helps the youth to be strong and healthy against all odds in our very unjust society. The government which denied the inlet to see its young is the same Harper’s government that is enthusiastically ushering five hundred or more of tarsands supertankers into the inlet. Kinder Morgan has signed decades long merchant contracts to load a million of barrels of diluted bituminum a day on transpacific supertankers in the Salish Sea Burrard Inlet, before ever consulting the Inlet’s communities.