Prince Rupert, BC – The hereditary chiefs of Lelu Island have officially responded to a Prince Rupert Port Authority demand they halt construction.
Simoyget Yahaan (Donnie Wesley) and Gwishawaal (Ken Lawson), the Hereditary chiefs whose traditional territory include Lelu Island, responded with an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. They also included Justice Minister Jody Wilson Raybould, Transport Minister Marc Garneau and local MP Nathan Cullen.
The letter asks Prime Minister Trudeau if he supports the port’s action, reminding him that Lelu Island is unceded territory, despite the port authority claiming jurisdiction over it. It also asks the Prime Minister if this is an example of his calls for a “renewed nation to nation relationship with Indigenous peoples”. The letter concludes with a demand that the port authority withdraw their letter, informing them that there are already plans for further development on Lelu Island for cultural spaces.
Hereditary Chief Yahaan (Donnie Wesley) of the Gitwilgyoots, stated, “What we’re building are permanent structures. Under Canadian law, our rights are protected to build whatever structure is needed to practice our Aboriginal rights and title”.
Since August 2015, members of the Gitwilgyoots Tribe, one of the Nine Allied Tribes of Lax Kw’alaams, have peacefully re-occupied their traditional territory of Lelu Island, to oppose Petronas’ controversial PNW LNG project.
To view the letter and response, click here: http://cfnrfm.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Lelu-Island-letter-to-Prime-Minister-Trudeau.pdf
For media contact:
Hereditary Chief Yahaan (Donald Wesley), Gitwilgyoots Tribe of the Lax Kw’alaams – 250 625 3359
Gwishawaal (Ken Lawson), Gitwilgyoots Tribe of the Lax Kw’alaams – 250 600-6643
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