Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Latest Lelu Island Letter highlights range of divisions

The latest twist of events when it comes to the many themes of  Lelu Island is leaving many around the North Coast somewhat surprised and perhaps wondering just a little bit at the moment, who has the full claim to be speaking for the community of Lax Kw'alaams.

On Monday a letter from the Hereditary Chiefs of the Nine Tribes of Lax Kw'alaams provided for the latest addition to the long running story.

The document which has the title "Nine Tribes of Lax Kw'alaams set the record straight on Lelu Island Occupation" outlined a range of observations related to events surrounding the current occupation group on Lelu Island.

The statement opens with some background as to how the hereditary leaders are viewing with alarm the occupation of Lelu Island by what is called a small radical handful of community members, who continue to mis-represent the Tribes.  

The majority of the focus of the correspondence directs its attention to whether Donald Wesley has the right to claim title as Hereditary Chief. Noting that from their point of view, Mr. Wesley does not have the authority to represent and should cease and desist doing so publicly.

The statement also goes on to trace some of the background to the current occupation of Lelu island and suggests that Mr. Wesley and his group have not followed traditional protocols.

Other comments return to old grievances related to former Mayor Gary Reece's time in office, retracing how the Hereditary Chiefs, Matrons and elders have viewed some of the events from that period of time.

Of particular concern for Hereditary Chiefs appears to be the make up of the group which has joined Mr. Wesley on Lelu Island, a collective that they refer to at times as a faction, or as environmental militants and outsiders.

The final notes of the statement expresses concerns for the safety of everyone concerned and calls for all parties on Lelu Island to leave the traditional territory immediately.

Monday's letter on Lelu Island
from the Nine Tribes of Lax Kw'alaams

(click to enlarge)
The signatories to Monday's letter
(click to enlarge)

Today marks the third day since the statement was issued, and the document still does not to appear to have generated much in the way of feedback from the groups or individuals that it was directed towards.

There have to this point, been no comments released related to the document from those environmental groups or supporters of the Lelu Island group that are normally associated with the current occupation of Lelu Island.

The social media platforms of many of those groups, portals which in recent months have been quick to fill with commentary whenever anything of note is contributed about Lelu Island, have so far avoided any mention of Monday's document.

Stop Pacific NorthWest LNG/Petronas on Lelu Island
Friends of Wild Salmon

As well, neither Mr. Wesley, or former Mayor Reece have offered a response to the tone of the commentary directed towards them that was found in Monday's missive.

So far the elected Band Council of Lax Kw'alaams  has not offered any comment, or issued any form of statement in response to the Monday statement from the Hereditary Chiefs.

For the most part, the Band Council has remained fairly quiet on the issues of Lelu island since their last correspondence to the CEAA in March. At that time, in what was another surprise announcement on the situation, the newly elected Council reversed the previous council's opposition to the development offering up conditional support.

A decision which did provide Former Mayor Reece opportunity  to offer up some comments related to the developments from March, through an interview in the Globe and Mail in April, he outlined his disappointment at that decision.

Monday's statement from the Hereditary Chiefs also comes in the wake of a recent trip to New York City by those opposing LNG development on Lelu Island, where a group related to the current occupation delivered their concerns to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

Similar concerns were delivered in Ottawa back in April, when a delegation including former Mayor Recce, travelled to the national capital to reinforce their opposition to the proposed development at Lelu Island.

Left to sort out the latest contributions to the conversation will be Environment Minister Catherine McKenna and the Federal Cabinet.  They will have to explore the very diverse opinions of late that appear to highlight the growing divides and rhetoric on the issues of Lelu Island

The Federal group still has yet to sit down to consider the full file related to  the NorthWest LNG proposal from the Petronas led energy group. And while another pause takes place, the growing level of delays in the review process appear to be providing for more and more documentation for them to work their way through whenever they do get to the table.

The CEAA process related to the proposed development has been the subject of yet another pause as of March, it's anticipated that some form of decision on the fate of the project will be made as we head into the summer months.

Our archive page related to the Pacific NorthWest proposal provides more background on both the project itself and the long running assessment process.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

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