Earth Justice posted up an impressive photo essay documenting the struggle by treaty Indian tribes and Canadian native bands against a proposed oil pipeline.
A proposed tar sands pipeline through Western Canada threatens the Salish Sea—rich, abundant border waters shared by the U.S. and Canada—and the very existence and way of life of Native tribes located in the United States.
The pipeline would end near Vancouver, but from there, massive oil tankers carrying toxic tar sands bitumen must thread their way through the waters of the Salish Sea along the U.S-Canada border, where an oil spill would destroy one of our nation’s most valuable ecosystems.
The essay also features notable insights by tribal leaders:
“I’m a commercial fisherman. I’ve been a commercial fisherman all my life. It’s all I’ve ever done,” said Dana Wilson, member of the Lummi Nation. “My father was a fisherman; his father was a fisherman; and his father was fisherman. My son is in the industry; he’s fishing now on his own. My grandkids fish with me. I have 11 grandkids—the way of life that we teach our children is the water and the way to fish. In our language, it’s called Schelangen—the way of life, the way of the water.”
Chair Cladoosby is effectively the chief executive of the sovereign Swinomish nation and the current President of the National Congress of American Indians, which advocates for 566 tribal nations in the United States. “The place that we’re living now, we’ve been there since time immemorial. Our roots go very deep. We are a place-based society. All of us in the Coast Salish territory are. What that means is, we just can’t pick up and move to Ottawa or New York or Texas. We are where we are.”