REPORTING · 2nd June 2010
“THIS IS ABOUT THE PEOPLE HAVING CHOICES” - AMOS
It was just after 10:30 in the morning on Saturday, May 29th when Gerald Amos and Clare Hill welcomed everyone to the Solidarity Gathering of Nations. Amos thanked everyone for coming.
“This is about people. This is about the people having choices and having a say about what is going on in their territory,” said Amos.
Hill referred to this gathering as not a historic moment but a proud moment for their people. He stated how the Haisla and the Gitga’at people worked together in the past, how they traded and how the feeling of community has been lost because they have been focusing on their own problems.
“It’s not about me, it’s not about Gerald, it’s not about Haisla, it’s not about Hartley Bay. This is about something much more bigger that would affect us forever,” said Hill.
Hill expressed hope people would find the information both beneficial and walk away changed by the experience.
“THEY SEEM TO WANT TO CLOSE THEIR EYES” - POLLARD
Chief Councillor Dolores Pollard and Chief Earnie Hill were the first speakers to address the Solidarity Gathering of Nations on Saturday May 29th 2010.
“It took our people, our elected officials, a number of years to figure out what our stance was going to be when it comes to fighting a multinational corporation that has really deep pockets,” said Pollard
She expressed the company has money to give away and the First Nations do not have the money to fight a multinational corporation but they do have the money to send a message.
“But we are not fighting only a multinational corporation with deep pockets, but we are also fighting two levels of government who have an obligation to First Nations people, to make sure that, what could result from projects that our going to happen in our territory. They seem to want to close their eyes and pretend that they don’t see,” said Pollard.
She expressed concerns the vessels scheduled to come to the coast were two big and they would fight to defend their territory. Pollard said their cultures and traditions would be lost if there was an environmental impact as these are passed through the land.
“The land tells our story. It teaches us how to provide,” said Pollard. “And if they think we’re going to sit back and allow a multinational corporation to walk all over us, they have to think again.”
She added that when the oil spill does happen, the Haisla would not be able to afford the devastation so they have a responsibility to their children. She said this was only the beginning.
Hill thanked Pollard for her speech and thanked her for holding this celebration on Haisla Territory. He confirmed the bond between Kitamaat Village and Hartley Bay. He apologized for people who were not present and encouraged people to look at the posters which were made by young people who understand what is at stake.
“We hope that there grandchildren will experience what we are experiencing today,” said Hill.