Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Eagle Spirt Energy heralds First Nations support for proposed development

The prospect of oil shipments out of the Prince Rupert area is getting a bit of news bump this week, with word of a Memorandum of Understanding between Eagle Spirit Energy and 30 First Nations communities across this province and into Alberta.

Yesterday, Eagle Spirit Energy provided this media release, outlining the scope of the Memorandum of Understanding signed at the Vancouver event.

With Eagle Spirit officials noting in the information statement that  "a very large delegation of representatives attended from the community of Lax Kw'alaams."

The statement also provided some additional background on the importance of Lax Kw'alaams to the overall plan to ship Alberta Oil to world markets.

Lax Kw'alaams is a key to the proposal because it could host the port near it at Grassy Point. Grassy Point, due to its close proximity to open water, is considered the safest location for such a port since oil tankers are only a threat to the environment when they are close to land. Key representatives from the nine tribes of Lax Kw'alaams and elected councilors participated.

Group photo of those participating in this week's Gathering of Chiefs event
Marking the signing of an MOU with Eagle Spirit Energy

Three representatives from the Lax Kw'alaams delegation were nominated to speak to the topics of engagement and offered up some of their impressions of the proposal.

Gitxoon (Alex Campbell) was requested to speak for the nine tribes and stated "Eagle Spirit has met with and informed our community members what they were proposing from day one. They have shown great respect for our culture and protocols by coming to us from the very beginning, and really listening to our concerns. We do not like big companies coming in and giving us take-it-or-leave-it ultimatums in our traditional territories which we have looked after for over 10,000 years."

Ski-las (Jack White) who represented the elders commented, "We like the fact that the Eagle Spirit project put the environment first. Many of our elders are in need and we want our legacy to our children to offer something more that gives them opportunities." 

Youth representative Corey Wesley noted that "There are no opportunities for young people in our community. We want a better way of life with real jobs and business prospects so we too can offer our future kids more hope." Elected councilor and matriarch Mn'gadn wii hayetsk (Helen Johnson) said "Eagle Spirit has widespread support in our community because it shows a real way forward for our members."

A video featuring some background to this week's event can be found below:

More details and resources related to the Chiefs Gathering Ceremony can be reviewed here.

The approach that Eagle Spirit Energy is taking in moving forward it's proposed development has started to catch the attention of the province's larger media outlets.

Following this week's signing ceremony, Global BC's Keith Baldrey outlined some of the interesting notes on the latest agreement, as well as some moves out of Alberta that might provide for some forward momentum for the proposed development.

Eagle Spirit Energy recently took their plans for a proposed shipment terminal at Grassy Point near Lax Kw'alaams to that community, holding a community meeting where they announced a measure of support for the project.

However, there is at the moment, no word provided on either the Lax Kw'alaams Band Council website or Facebook page suggesting as to what kind of progress Eagle Spirit proponent Calvin Helin has made with the Lax Kw'alaams government when it comes to the development.

For more items related to that proposed shipment terminal see our archive page here.

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