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CONTRIBUTION · 21st January 2012
January 20, 2011

Open letter to the Haisla Nation

Thank you seems trite in expressing my gratitude for being welcomed into the hearings for the Joint Review Panel, as set up by the National Energy Board hearings into the reviewing of the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline project. Haisla hospitality is second to none in my experiences in the Village over the years whether by cultural warming, basketball games, funerals, or wedding showers. Observing the effort, respect, and welcome to the JRP and to all of us you afforded on Tuesday and Wednesday, was remarkable; to consider what was asked of your community given the circumstances, seems generous indeed. Yet it seemed as if it were just natural, for your community members to shake hands with everyone, put the coffee on for two days, and feed your guests without reciprocity. Ofcourse, it is.

Thank you to the Hereditary Chiefs and Chief Councillor Ross for giving the audience an opportunity to be educated in Haisla oral history. I guarantee it did not fall on deaf ears. Ofcourse, to listen to the elders in anyone’s community is always a good schooling.

Thank you to Verlie Nelson, who welcomed us and humbled us with her words and instruction. Those words will lead us.

And to the Spirit of the Kitlope dancers and voices, particularly the little one who’s voice called out in song, Thank You for reminding me that it’s the voices of the future, as well as the past, I need to remember in all of this.

I came away with many reflections, but most noteably, that industries, businesses, and corporations will come and go out of this valley, but the Haisla have always been, and always will be, here. Thank you for that.
Veronica Slanina