20 First Nations have signed agreements with LNG along the pipeline route in northern British Columbia. (Lakes District News file photo)

Most First Nations in northern BC support LNG pipeline

Despite the headline-grabbing news coming from the Gitdumt’en anti-pipeline site, most First Nations living near the LNG pipeline route support the project.

READ MORE: RCMP arrest 14 people in northern B.C. over anti-LNG pipeline protest

At least 20 First Nations from Fort St. John to Kitimat have signed agreements with LNG Canada, Donald MacLachlan, media officer with the First Nations LNG Alliance told Lakes District News.

The Indigenous groups around Burns Lake who have signed onto the the project include the Stellat’en, Nadleh Whut’en, Yekooche, Witset, Nee Tahi Buhn, Skin Tyee, Burns Lake, Wet’suwet’en, and Cheslatta Carrier First Nations.

Chief Rene Skin of the Skin Tyee said his First Nation was among the first to lend its support to LNG.

“We’ve always been in support of the pipeline. We voted together,” he said.

The chief regards the project as offering several benefits to his First Nation.

“Lots to do with jobs, up and coming housing, people will be able to start their own companies. For years to come there will be a lot of benefits.”

Skin couldn’t offer many specifics on the benefits, which are detailed in the confidential term sheet that was negotiated with LNG.

In general, the agreements signed with the First Nations near the pipeline are worth millions of dollars, MacLachlan explained.

“$620 million in conditional contracting and employment opportunities, and another $400 million in contracting opportunities for local and Indigenous businesses,” he said.

Though much attention has focussed on the opposition of hereditary chiefs towards the pipeline, Skin Tyee band councilor Helen Michelle said a long process of negotiation between Skin Tyee members and hereditary chiefs eventually led to an agreement with Coastal GasLink (CGL).

“It was difficult for us, but we supported CGL,” she said. “We discussed it thoroughly and we struggled with it. We agreed upon it for our future generations. No other chiefs speak for us or our territory. We speak for ourselves. We speak for our territory.’”

Burns Lake First Nation Chief Dan George – who is also the First Nations LNG Alliance chair – has said there are hereditary chiefs who support the project.

“Helen Michelle and Skin Tyee are not alone. Other First Nations such as the Haisla and Kitselas have declared their support for LNG.”

Karen Ogen-Toews, CEO of the First Nations LNG Alliance, explained that amidst the media coverage of the Gitdumt’en situation, regular people from the Wet’suwet’en community are caught in the middle.

“The backlash Wet’suwet’en people are facing, whether they are for or against the project, is devastating. Our leaders, elected or hereditary, are advancing what they believe is right, and as such all deserve respectful treatment. Social-media campaigns led by non-Indigenous groups are simply not contributing to a solution.”

The activity at the Gitdumt’en blockade camp near the Morice River Bridge south of Houston has been trending on Twitter under the hashtag #unistotencamp.

“There is no doubt that the hereditary leadership has some responsibility for land and natural resources within our territory,” Ogen-Toews added. “At the same time, the elected leadership has responsibility for our people and the external affairs of their First Nation.”

Just Posted

Roller derby in Houston

The Bulkley Valley Roller Derby (BVRD) league hosted their first ever derby… Continue reading

Northern B.C.’s Ridley coal terminal sold, Canada divests, First Nations to own portion

Ten per cent of shares transferred to the Lax Kw’alaams Band and the Metlakatla First Nation

Recreational fishing for sockeye salmon in the Skeena River watershed temporarily closed

Effective July 11 recreational fishing will be banned until further notice

Skeena mainstem closed to recreational sockeye

Escapements expected to be below 800,000 threshold

B.C. to begin increasing coastal log export charges

New fees based on harvest cost, cedar no longer exempt

‘Bad choices make good stories’: Margaret Trudeau brings her show to Just for Laughs

Trudeau says over the decades she has been suicidal, manic, depressed

B.C. couple bring son home from Nigeria after long adoption delay

Kim and Clark Moran of Abbotsford spent almost a year waiting to finalize adoption of Ayo, 3

Health Canada revokes licences of B.C.-based pot producer Agrima Botanicals

The agency said it notified the company of a suspension in November due to non-compliance with regulations

Deals, protests during Amazon Prime Day

The Seattle-based e-commerce behemoth says it is offering more than a million deals

Canadian national softball team wins second straight Canada Cup

Team Canada defeats Texas-based Scrapyard International in gold-medal game Sunday in Surrey

June sees drop in home sales, prices for real estate across B.C.: report

Sales dropped by 11.8%, while prices fell by 4%

Video captures driver narrowly avoiding hitting Granfondo cyclists in Okanagan

“I’m just glad that everything aligned enough and no one got hurt,” said Shaun Siebert

Most Read