MegO here. I recently moved back to Toronto from Vancouver. I love Vancouver, but with Niamh relocated to NYC I just couldn't stand being the only Nightshade in a city, and I am a Toronto girl at heart. So the Vancouver chapter of DNS is closed for a while. We loved Vancouver, for its mountains and beaches, bike lanes and bike raves... but now we say thank you, and ta-ta for now. xo
The Skeena River
Before I left BC, I had the opportunity to go up to beautiful Prince Rupert to visit my friend Cody Brown. I met him through the awesome young East Van bike scene; I helped out his collective house make a memorial to dead bikes for the Parade of Lost Souls. He's rad. He was willing to help me learn the tricks of riding fixed and we share a love for the colour purple so naturally we became besties. Cody is also Nisga'a, and last year moved back home for some of the more lucrative electrician jobs he could get up north, and also to learn more about himself and his people's way of life. I missed Cody and wanted to see the wilds of Northern BC before I left for the Big Dirty, so I went.
Sea Lion Tacos
I loved my visit. Prince Rupert is a very beautiful and tranquil place. The mountains are giant, the rivers long and wide, the sky large and awe inspiring. The air is nothing like what I am breathing here in Toronto. Everyday we ate salmon Cody and his Grandfather caught and even turned smoked sea lion into gourmet tacos. How hipster, right? Fishing in the area makes up a huge part of the economy, but is also a way for people to have nutritious food inexpensively. The community lives off the rivers in many ways.
The Nass River
My trip really hit it home- if Canadian rivers are poisoned by oil, mining or construction, not only is the Nisga'a way of life compromised, but so are the lives the lives of the 120,000 Canadians fishery workers who bring in $5 Billion dollars a year. If the fish are gone or inedible, then what will the cost be to society, forced to pay much more for non-local food?
Backyard deer, Prince Rupert
More importantly, the majority of the community doesn't want the proposed "Northern Gateway" pipeline and mining development, not just first nation communities or hippies. Ottawa, Calgary and China should not have ultimate say in how BC coastal communities run themselves, it doesn't seem very fair to me. I met a man in Prince Rupert who had been working in oil, gas and mining for 20 years. (The area does sustain itself in natural resource extraction already.) He said about the pipeline: "The proposal is the stupidest, worst planned proposal I have ever seen with my own two eyes." The proposals put natural gas refineries where the fish spawn, and there is no contingency plan for Tsunamis or Earthquakes- in a geographically active area. The same week as Hurricane Sandy in NYC, northern Haida Gawaii had an earth quake of 7.7 magnitude. Imagine the next big one does create a Tsunami. Imagine there are dozens of oil tankers in the area, along with pipelines that can burst. This is more of a proposed Northern Gateway to Hell.
Then I met a group of guys at a bar in neighbouring Terrace who worked in mining and bragged about their drinking and cocaine habits... like, while ON the job. Great. Glad they make so much money polluting rivers. Glad we're putting all this federal monetary effort into basically helping the drug cartels. This is great for the health of the Canadian Economy I'm sure.
Trumpet Swans, Nisga'a Territory
Forcing any community to accept the proposed pipeline plans is just simply jerky thing to do. It's not right. When will our governments stand up and do the right thing?
Here is a beautiful video by Above on the Sacred Headwaters featuring Summer Rayne Oakes, model and entrepreneur. For any fashion designers out there, her company Source4Style is one of the most progressive ways to source fabric on the internet.
We're winning, by the way. Shell has pulled out of the Sacred Headwaters, the proposed pipelines are being blocked on all three levels of Govenrments, and #IdleNoMore is creating an international solidarity movement. So lets keep it going. I'm going to keep riding my bike, buying local and independent, avoiding plastics and reducing my consumption. Why? I like democracy, human rights, water, food and oxygen, I use all that stuff like everyday.
love, love, love,
Cody Brown, Gitwinksihlkw, Nisga'a Territory