Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Gitxaala First Nation joins Metlkatla with response to Lax Kw'alaams

The proposed LNG Terminal at
Lelu Island is part of the backdrop to
a growing difference of opinion between
members of the Tsimshian First Nations
of the North Coast

The Gitxaala First Nation is the latest member of the Tsimshian community to take issue with some of the talking points from the Lax Kw'alaams First Nation when it comes to events related to Lelu Island.

As we noted on the blog last week, the Lax Kw'alaams First Nation outlined its plans to move forward on an aboriginal title action for the Lelu Island and Flora Bank region.

A process that has gained momentum with the start of recent survey work around the Lelu Island area by contract workers hired by Pacific NorthWest LNG.

As well as the update last week on those developments, the Lax Kw'alaams Band government  through an expanded information statement to community members, provided some background to their disappointment in the actions of other Tsimshian members on issues related to the Lelu Island issue.

With the following observation from that statement, appearing to have set off the current flurry of media releases on the topic:

"Sadly, it seems that other Tsimshian communities chose to accept agreements with PNW, both prior to a full scientific evaluation of the proposed facility and in conflict with Lax Kw'alaams rights and interests and those of up-river Nations. This is regrettable. A number of these same Tsimshian communities are making spurious claims in respect of Prince Rupert harbour."  -- From a community update for members of the Lax Kw'alaams First Nation.

Metlkatla was the first of those Tsimshian communities to offer up a rebuttal to those comments, providing for their own information release last Friday.

Today, it was the turn of the Gitxaala First Nation to address the controversial remarks from Lax Kw'alaams.

In their media release of this morning, the Gitxaala First Nation observes that they are bringing "Demonstrated Environmental Leadership" to the review process for the LNG Terminal project proposed by Petronas/ Pacific NorthWest LNG.

On the theme of the Lax Kw'alaams reproach to other Tsimshian communities, the Gitxaala Nation provided this reply:

 "Consistent with the Tsimshian tradition of Bak Laansk -- pulling together, Gitxaala continues to work cooperatively with other Tsimshian nations as part of the Tsimshian Environmental Stewardship Authority."

"It is disappointing and irresponsible for Lax Kw'alaams to take an adversarial position with other Tsimshian nations on the Petronas project." 

"The Tsimshian communities need to work together to ensure projects in our shared territory are properly reviewed and delivered to the highest standards, now and into the future."

You can review the full media release from the Gitxaala First Nation here.

The Lax Kw'alaams First Nations Government has advised its membership that they will be hosting a Community meeting on September 30th, when they will outline their plans and answer further questions on the question of their title action related to Lelu Island.

More background on the proposed development of an LNG Terminal on Lelu Island can be found from our archive page here.

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