“This is What a Spill Looks Like”: Photographer, first responder share images, stories from 2016 Great Bear Rainforest oil spill
RAVEN (Respecting Aboriginal Values and Environmental Needs) presents “This is What a Spill Looks LIke”, a fundraising event in support of the Heiltsuk Nation. The event features underwater and wildlife photography of the Great Bear Rainforest by April Bencze and a talk by Jaimie Harris of the Heiltsuk Nation.
The pair are fundraising to keep wild fisheries safe from spills and support the Heiltsuk Nation who are struggling to recover from a devastating spill in their traditional territories. Both Harris and Bencze were in Bella Bella in the fall of 2016 when the tug, Nathan E. Stewart, spilled over 110,000 litres of diesel fuel straight into the Heiltsuk’s main marine harvesting area.
After spending weeks fighting to contain the oil spill, the Heiltsuk are now preparing a civil case against Kirby Corporation, and the government of Canada, to recover damages for loss of Aboriginal rights to food, social and ceremonial harvesting, and the loss of their commercial harvesting of marine resources.
“For thousands of years we have created clam gardens, and seeded them, to ensure we would always have access to that resource. Our harvesters come down with a punt full of clams and call it out on the radio: come get clams! And everyone comes down, old people who can’t go out themselves, single moms, people who need that food, they come down to the dock and help themselves. And now it’s gone.” – Ayla Brown
The Heiltsuk aim to expose the actual state of British Columbia and Canada’s “world class” oil-spill response system. The small First Nation are reaching out for assistance to prepare their case and to stand up against lawyers from the Department of Justice and Kirby Corporation. If they can demonstrate how the poor spill response impacted directly on their community’s breadbasket, their case may support increased environmental awareness, better safety measures and/or restrictions on oil shipping, and real improvements to spill response.
Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea, 6 pm-9:30
with pre-show reception from 6-7 $25
The Hub, Cowichan Station 7:30-9:30
By donation, at the door.
Fulford Hall, Salt Spring Island 6-9:30
with pre-show seafood bbq $30
Slideshow & Talk 7 pm : by donation.