On October 13, 2016, the tug Nathan E. Stewart ran aground in Seaforth Channel in Heiltsuk territory and sank. The tug spilled over 110,000 litres of diesel oil at the mouth of Gale Creek and into the waters, adjacent to an ancient Heiltsuk village site and Heiltsuk marine harvesting area. Now the Heiltsuk are suing the owner of the tug, Kirby Corporation, and the governments of Canada and B.C. Their case seeks to challenge the constitutionality of Canada’s oil spill response; compensate the Heiltsuk for cultural and economic losses due to the spill; and establish Heiltsuk Aboriginal title to reserve lands, near-shore and seabed in Seaforth Channel and surrounding areas.
1. To raise sufficient funds to meet the Heiltsuk every step of the way as they challenge Kirby Corporation and Canada.
2. To change the law and strengthen Heiltsuk jurisdiction so they can manage their territory according to Heiltsuk laws.
3. To require BC and Canada to consult with Indigenous Peoples on the environmental impact assessment and remediation following an oil spill.
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