This Article is part of the Tar Sands Reporting Project special report See the full report

Gitga’at Nation holds 'Chain of Hope' blockade against Northern Gateway

Crocheted yarn spools with family messages were carried across the Douglas Channel in protest of oil tanker plans.

Gitga’at Chain of Hope symbolic blockade of Douglas Channel Northern Gateway
'Chain of Hope' blockade against Northern Gateway multi-color crochet wool
float with messages in Chain of Hope
Gitga’at canoes took to the Douglas Channel Friday to protest Northern Gateway - source: "Chain of Hope" Facebook Page

As a sign of what's likely to come for the embattled Northern Gateway project that was given federal approval this past week, a remote B.C. tribe staged a protest on the Douglas Channel waterway on Friday to show their opposition to oil tankers and oil spills.

Members of the Gitga’at First Nation stretched a crochet “Chain of Hope” across the channel as a symbol of their opposition to the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline, and its ecological risks. 

A flotilla of community canoes paddled in the pouring rain, carrying a giant spool of multi-color crochet wool, interspersed with mementos and fishing floats with messages written on them.

'Chain of Hope' blockade against Northern Gateway multi-color crochet wool

Symbolic multi-colour wool spool on ship in Douglas Channel - source: "Chain of Hope" Facebook page

“The community came together and everyone crocheted, to show our full support for the Gitga'at way of life, to stand up for our coast, the whales, our traditions, our food and for the future Gitga'at that will use our territory for generations to come,” said Jodi Hill, a member of the Gitga'at First Nation and Chain of Hope participant, states a release.

“We stand today to take care for generations we will never meet, just as our ancestors stood up for us. The crochet line means something to us all now. We won't stand for Enbridge or the government that supports them."

The paddlers laid a crochet chain more than 11,000 feet long from Hawkesbury Island to Hartley Bay.

“This chain is made of wool, but it’s stronger than steel,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.

“First Nations will do whatever it takes to protect our communities from the dangers of oil spills because we have everything to lose. The BC and Canadian governments ignore this message at their own peril.”

1511378_10152341190517177_1733507275_n

If the project is ever built -- and there are intense political and legal battles still unfolding to stop the project -- the Channel would be a conduit for 220 super tankers per year to export Alberta bitumen for Asian and California refineries.  

The exported energy would be burned by consumers worldwide. 

The Gitga’at First Nation lives in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest on the North Coast of British Columbia, and say a single oil spill from one of these tankers could destroy the Gitga’at food supply and way of life, states a release.

Women of 'Chain of Hope' blockade against Northern Gateway

Gitga’at women and girl paddlers - source: "Chain of Hope" Facebook Page

More in News

Vancouver's bicycle sharing grows as 15 new stations installed

Mobi bicycle by Shaw Go in Vancouver. Photo by Christopher Porter from Flickr Creative Commons

International Women's Day Concert celebrates female musicians who turned tragedy into triumph

Every March 8, on International Women's Day, we hear about the achievements of brilliant, talented women around the world. But how often do we learn about the physical and mental disabilities or...

Deputy Provincial Health Office and Vancouver Police Sergeant Call Addiction a Health Problem, not a Criminal One

An evening panel focused on addressing the opioid overdose crisis: a public health disaster that saw almost 1,500 deaths provincially in 2017.
Speak up about this article on Facebook or Twitter. Do this by liking Vancouver Observer on Facebook or following us @Vanobserver on Twitter. We'd love to hear from you.