Eco-partners: Fighting together for the health of an inlet
My partner Jimmy Thomson and I co-authored a multimedia feature on the often controversial collaboration between Vancouver-area First Nations and environmental groups. Below is an excerpt. Read our entire article here, courtesy of 2013 Indigenous Reporting website.
“Curling ribbons of smoke rose from the burning sage, filling the crowded room with perfume. More than a dozen guests had either piled onto the couch or improvised seats on the floor, leaning on the television stand or the refrigerator for support. Rueben George, a spiritual leader in the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation community, lit the long, wooden ceremonial pipe, held it to his lips, and then asked that it be passed to his friend, Ben West.
All kinds of people converge at George’s weekly spiritual ceremonies, hosted at his house on the Tsleil-Waututh reserve in North Vancouver. But West is much more than a friend. A director at ForestEthics Advocacy, West is one of several environmental activists who campaigns alongside George. Their goal: to protect the Burrard Inlet.
The inlet shimmers only a couple hundred metres below George’s hillside home. For the Tsleil-Waututh, the inlet represents more than a simple body of water. It is the birthplace of the first Tsleil-Waututh woman in their traditional beliefs.
However, in recent years, industry has claimed the waterway. From his doorstep, George can see the reflection of the Chevron oil refinery on the shore opposite the reserve. He can see tankers anchored in the flat waters.
And now, George worries that the proposed expansion of the nearby Trans Mountain pipeline will further threaten the health of the inlet.”
To continue reading, please click here. This piece was co-written with Jimmy Thomson for IndigenousReporting.com, a source for indigenous news stories in the Lower Mainland from the University of British Columbia.
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