Page 57

know that the inlet—there was a richness. “…[W]e There was abundance. If the people took care of the environment and themselves, they would survive. There was enough richness available that if you knew how to take care of it and how to harvest and not overuse the resources, then it would always be there.” 21

o

ur stories, traditions, and knowledge describe environmental, cultural, spiritual, and economic conditions that persisted in our territory for thousands of years prior to contact. These conditions provide a standard or baseline from which cumulative effects on our title, rights, and interests over time can be assessed and measured.

Historical conditions in the territory were the result of proactive management by Tsleil-Waututh as a sovereign nation with the full right and power to govern our territory. For thousands of years, from time immemorial to contact and beyond, Tsleil-Waututh people have relied on the bounty of Burrard Inlet for physical nourishment, cultural vitality, and economic benefit. Resource harvest for food, clothing, shelter, cultural work, and trade is an enduring legacy of our origin and history as a people. Our rich waters and lands benefited from the exercise, in accordance with Coast Salish protocols, of our sacred stewardship obligations, as described in Sections 4, 5, and 8. Our oral history speaks of the abundance and wealth Burrard Inlet gave us. It tells of our ancestors’ seasonal use of various resource harvest sites and of canoeing or walking to visit or trade with Coast and Interior Salish relatives. All the while, our elders told stories and shared skills and traditional ways with our youth as a means of transmitting the culture to the next generation. During the annual cycle, artistic endeavours flourished and stores of food sufficient to feed thousands of Tsleil-Waututh in many villages were put away in preparation for winter ceremonial gatherings and potlatches. Feeding 1,000 individuals from Burrard Inlet required about 450,000 kilograms of salmon annually (Morin 2015)—about 90,000 chum or 225,000 pinks—in addition

21

to herring, clams, birds, and so forth. While some of the protein requirement was met by sockeye taken from the Fraser River, the bounty of pre-contact Burrard Inlet must have been rich and giving to feed so many people. To feed 3,000 individuals, Tsleil-Waututh needed to fish half or less of the pre-contact salmon returns to the Indian River described in Section 5. One key aspect of the pre-contact era was the lack of urban, commercial, or industrial development. Our waters and lands were pristine. For cultural work, there were plenty of suitable places in scenic, remote, and quiet settings without threat of exposure to pathogens, hazardous chemicals, or other types of pollution. While abundance and bounty were the norm, occasionally there were calamities. The Ice Age, floods, serpents, epidemics such as smallpox, and occasional famines tested us. We survived all those events because of the resilience of our teachings, cultural traditions, social structure, and governance—including our stewardship of Burrard Inlet.

Oral Aboriginal traditional evidence given by Gabriel George on October 16, 2014, during the National Energy Board’s hearing for the TMEX proposal, held in Chilliwack, British Columbia.

assessmenT of the Trans mounTain pipeLine and Tanker expansion proposaL

57

Profile for Tseil-Waututh Nation Sacred Trust Initiative

Tseil-Waututh Nation Assessment of the Trans Mountain Pipeline and Tanker Expansion Proposal  

Landmark independent assessment by the Tsleil-Wautuh Nation of Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain Expansion Project. The assessment applies TWN'...

Tseil-Waututh Nation Assessment of the Trans Mountain Pipeline and Tanker Expansion Proposal  

Landmark independent assessment by the Tsleil-Wautuh Nation of Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain Expansion Project. The assessment applies TWN'...

Advertisement