Friday, Oct. 17, 2014

Pipeline News

Stó:lō Talk About Connection to Land

NEB hearings continue in Chilliwack

Staff/Voice photos


Stó:lō elder Sonny McHalsie gives an oral history presentation at the NEB hearings on Thursday at the Coast Hotel in Chilliwack.


he National Energy Board began hearing Aboriginal traditional historical evidence hearings for the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project Thursday at the Coast Hotel in Chilliwack. The meetings are scheduled to take place from October 16-24 and will hear from several First Nations bands from BC and Washington.


The hearings were initially set for August but were rescheduled to accommodate presenters who were taking part in the salmon fishing season.

In a release earlier in this week, the NEB said they "recognize Aboriginal peoples have an oral tradition for sharing stories, lessons, and knowledge from generation to generation. This information cannot always be shared adequately in writing yet it will make up an important component of the evidence the Panel will consider as it decides whether or not to recommend approving the Project."

One of the first to present was Sonny McHalsie from Stó:lō Nation who gave an in-depth oral history of areas along the Fraser River from Yale through to Chilliwack.

After his presentation, McHalsie told The Voice the point Stó:lō is trying to make is how coupled they are with the natural world.

"Mainly, the point that we're trying to get across is the connection we have to everything. We're looking a this pipeline which is a narrow right-of-way that goes through our territory and that's how it's viewed as and we're trying to focus on that pipeline," explained McHalsie. "What we're trying to show is that everything is connected. It's not just about this little pipeline, this right-of-way that goes through our territory, it's about everything else that its connected to and that's what I'm trying to show."

McHalsie figures living around a pipeline has it's pitfalls and said Stó:lō elders sat up the night before talking about the "dangers" associated with the pipeline such as in Sumas.

"It has to be dangerous because they moved some of our people from there. That pipeline when they put it in there, two of our members had to move away from it," said McHalsie.

Sto:lo Nation is looking at gathering more information to "conduct their own studies."

Trans Mountain submitted its application to the Board on 16 December 2013. The project would expand the existing Trans Mountain pipeline system in Alberta and British Columbia and include approximately 990 km of new pipeline, new and modified facilities, such as pump stations and tanks, and the reactivation of 193 km of existing pipeline between Edmonton and Burnaby, BC.

Details of these hearings and a daily schedule of appearances are available on the NEB website at Live audio from the hearing will be streamed through the NEB website.

For more information on the NEB and its mandate, please visit


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