The Petronas LNG plant could spell the end of healthy and abundant Skeena salmon runs, on which many First Nations in northern BC and southeast Alaska depend; any threat to their salmon fisheries threatens their survival as Aboriginal peoples. Without access to abundant salmon, these Nations will be unable to share this bounty through traditional feasts which reaffirm their culture and their Indigenous law and governance, and ensure their health and well-being.
Yet these Nations say that the federal government failed to adequately consult and accommodate First Nations’ Constitutionally-affirmed Aboriginal rights and title. The Nations contend that the federal government cherry-picked only a fraction of Aboriginal groups to consult with, entirely excluding upper Skeena Nations.
If the proposed Petronas project is developed, the region’s First Nations stand to lose 10,000 years of Indigenous cultural heritage, including the grease trail “Babine Trail”. There will be direct and indirect adverse impacts of the proposed pipeline to First Nations rights, including title. These include negative effects to fish and their habitats, wildlife and their habitats, terrestrial and aquatic resources, including cumulative effects, as well as large-scale impacts to social, cultural, and economic values.
The LNG pipeline and LNG terminal will have detrimental impacts on the wildlife and ecosystems along the route— but especially in the Skeena River estuary. The mouth of the Skeena, where this grand river meets the Pacific Ocean, is a vital habitat for more than 300 million juvenile salmon who depend on the Flora Bank in the Skeena estuary for their survival. This LNG terminal may prove catastrophic for the wild salmon population of the entire Skeena Watershed, on which 10 First Nations and a total of 60,000 people depend for their lives and livelihoods. The wild salmon economy is worth $100 million per year.1 Meanwhile, Petronas plans to replace these sustainable, long-term livelihoods with temporary jobs, 40% of which will be filled by workers brought in from outside of Canada.
The LNG plant could spell the end of healthy and abundant Skeena salmon runs, on which many First Nations in northern BC and Southeast Alaska depend; any threat to their salmon fisheries threatens their survival as an Aboriginal people.
Our goal is to raise $300,000. Funds are urgently needed for case preparation, drafting pleadings and motions, and court time. A generous donor is matching every donation dollar for dollar, until the goal is reached.
Four Aboriginal groups – the Tsimshian tribe of Gitwilgyoots, the Gitanyow, the Gitxan House of Luutkudziiwus, and the Gitsxan House of Gwininitxw – are challenging the Pacific NorthWest LNG Project (the Petronas pipeline and LNG facility).
SkeenaWild Conservation Trust, based in Terrace, is also challenging the Petronas project in court. Both SkeenaWild and Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition are working closely with the four Nations and RAVEN to help raise funds to stop the Petronas project.
The Gitsxan House of Luutkudziiwus possess two ancestral territories: Madii Lii, which is located on the north bank of Suskwa River, and Xsi Gwin Hauums, which is located on the north bank of the Skeena River across from Hazelton, BC. The House of Gwininitxw holds and exercises authority over two territories: Galaanhl Giist and Maxhla Didaat. Galaanhl Giist and Maxhla Didaat are located adjacent to and are bisected by the upper Skeena River.
These Gitxsan territories support salmon migration, spawning, and rearing in a myriad of freshwater habitats.
The Gitanyow have Aboriginal rights and title to territories in the upper Skeena that includes the Kitwanga River and Gitanyow (Kitwancool) Lake. The Gitwilgyoots assert Aboriginal title to territories in the lower Skeena and its estuary including Lelu Island and Flora Bank, and the Aboriginal right to hunt and fish for salmon and other marine resources in the Skeena estuary and the Skeena River.
RAVEN is encouraging people everywhere to be part of the effort to protect wild salmon from LNG development. Standing with First Nations to stop Petronas is an important, strategic move that will help protect wild salmon for future generations. There are three ways to contribute:
Donate online -. Whatever your capacity, there is a way to help us win this fight. Your donation, be it $10 or $1000, goes directly toward helping First Nations stop the project in the courts.
Fundraise online – Through our simple, effective online fundraising platform, you can set up your own crowd-funding page, set a target, and reach out to your friends, co-workers and family to help you reach your goal. It takes just minutes to get your own mini-campaign going – and it’s easy and fun!
Host fundraising events in your community — Host a film screening, a dinner, a fishing party, or team up with your favourite coffee shop/grocery store/outdoor outfitter for an in-store fundraiser. Doing a real-world fundraiser is one of the best ways to raise money and deepen community solidarity with the First Nations leading this legal challenge. Hosting a “Wild for Salmon” event can be fun and is a rewarding way to contribute towards the success of legal efforts trying to stop LNG infrastructure from forever changing the course of life along the Skeena. Events can be simple – like a car wash or bottle drive, a wild salmon BBQ, a movie night, or a benefit concert. We’ve got supportive materials on hand to help your event be a success! To get started organizing an event, contact RAVEN Trust.
Gwininitxw (Yvonne Lattie) notes: “Slamgeesh sockeye have declined to less than 15% of their historical abundance. The collapsed Slamgeesh sockeye runs have and continue to impact Gwininitxw culturally, socially, environmentally, and economically. We remain very concerned about how the proposed Petronas PNW LNG project will affect our fisheries.”
“Fishing is a central part of Gitxsan culture and history,” said Luutkudziiwus (Charlie Wright). “We are very distressed the Minister and the Governor in Council announced the federal government’s decision to approve the Project. The Project will have serious impacts on our fisheries.”