No tankers, no pipelines: Thousands attend Save the Salish Sea Festival

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On Saturday Coast Salish nations led a canoe to protect Burrard Inlet.

Summer is winding down and as autumn approaches and the back in school fixation sets in, it's a better time than ever to remind and mobilize British Columbians regarding oil tanker traffic on the coast of B.C. And that is exactly what organizers of the Save the Salish Sea Festival did this last Sunday at Waterfront Park in North Vancouver.

Close to 3,000 people gathered throughout the day to show support for the Coast Salish nations as they stand firmly against oil tanker traffic and the corresponding Kinder Morgan and Enbridge tar sands pipelines proposals.

This festival and concert followed a canoe journey Saturday through waters of the Burrard Inlet where Kinder Morgan hopes to increase oil tanker traffic, organized by the Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish nations.

Sunday's festival was an opportunity for non-Indigenous folk to embrace solidarity in the struggle for self-determination and environmental stewardship along with Indigenous elders and activists.

Speakers included Squamish Chief Ian Campbell, Rueben George of the Tsleil-Waututh, Melina Laboucan-Massimo, Naomi Klein, Rex Weyler and Tantoo Cardinal, who all spoke of climate justice and the sheer terror which is the idea of B.C.'s unspoiled waters and Indigenous land being the (continued) target of oil profiteering.

With the musical talents of artists such as Amanda Nahanee and the Boom Booms playing on two separate stages, a vibe connecting the celebratory and the struggle was effectively made. And it only made the festival complete to have booths with the works of local Indigenous artisans, community organizations, and of course a food and coffee station.

As the leaves change and fall arrives upon us, let's take heed of this festival's momentum and not let standing up to oil companies go out of season. And from what I've seen lately, it clearly won't. 


Tania Ehret is a contributing editor with 

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