Posted by: adminjs at 2:57 pm on August 24th, 2012
“The Pipeline Offers Nothing But Cultural Demise” Our Time With The Nadleh
Nadleh, home to the Nadleh Whut’en First Nation, is located just a few kilometres down the road from Katrin Maclean’s cabin. We arrange to meet Anne Ketlo, the band’s Natural Resource Manager, at the band office. Spoiler alert: she’s probably the most helpful person any of us have ever met. As part of the Yinka Dene Alliance, Anne tells us, the Nadleh have been integral in affirming First Nations opposition to the Northern Gateway pipeline proposal. In May, they sent a delegation as part of the Freedom Train, which sought to declare a legal ban on the project on behalf of the many First Nations through whose territory it would pass.
The Nadleh have been living off of this land since (at least) 1272 AD, Anne tells us, and continue to depend on fishing for both sustenance and cultural practice: “In the summer, it’s salmon. In fall, it’s char. In winter, whitefish.” Indeed, during the Great Depression, it was the Nadleh who local non-First Nation farmers turned to for help when their fields had turned to dust and their herds had all but evaporated.
It’s clear then that the Nadleh are a band with strong, flourishing cultural traditions. When I ask Anne whether she thinks that there are any beneficial aspects to the equity sharing agreements of the sort offered by Enbridge to First Nations – providing additional revenue, as it’s sometimes been argued, for expanded language curriculum or cultural centres – her answer is swift: “Here we are: we’re already living that lifestyle. We’re already doing what we have to do to protect who we are. No, the pipeline offers us nothing but cultural demise.”
You can listen to an interesting audio excerpt of our interview with Anne below: