Wednesday, May 17, 2006
ELDERS JOIN EAGLERIDGE PROTEST
This is a follow up on yesterday's story "TENT CITY VOWS TO FIGHT ON TO SAVE "PRICELESS ECOSYSTEMS". Check it out for lots of background on the story below from the CBC.
Aboriginal elders join Eagleridge protest
Two First Nations elders have thrown their support behind the protesters who are trying to stop the expansion of the Sea to Sky Highway through Eagleridge Bluffs in West Vancouver.
The two members of the Squamish First Nation spelled out their opposition to the project at the site of the tent city above Horseshoe Bay on Tuesday.
"The government has no jurisdiction in our territory," said Harriet Nahanee, as she waved a copy of a royal proclamation from many years ago that detailed the First Nations' right to the land.
Nahanee was joined by hereditary Chief Capilano, who said many members of his band are opposed to the highway expansion – which is part of the preparations for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver and Whistler.
The Squamish First Nation has signed agreements with the B.C. government on a number of Olympic-related projects, and stands to benefit financially from the Games.
But Capilano said he's opposed to the elected chiefs who made those deals, declaring the land belongs to his ancestors and grandchildren – not the B.C. government.
Capilano said many Squamish people have been too afraid to speak out until now. "Their livelihood comes from the elected chiefs, so they're put in line as soon as they stand up.
"A lot of them talked to me and I know what's in their hearts. So all I can say is that there will be, if necessary, there will be a great bundle of us here if it carries on."
On Monday, a B.C. Supreme Court judge ordered the protesters to move out, to allow the construction to begin – or to face being arrested. The Coalition to Save Eagleridge Bluffs is appealing that ruling.
The protest camp went up a month ago, in an effort to stop the provincial government from building a new section of highway through the area . Instead the coalition wants the government to build a tunnel.