September 2, 2015
(Bella Bella, BC) Heiltsuk Nation uplifts the leadership at Unist’ot’en Camp for holding strong to defend their lands in the face of multiple pipeline proposals that lack consent of traditional owners.
“We will advance farthest as Indigenous peoples when we not only speak of our rights and title, but also assert them” said Heiltsuk Hereditary Chief Harvey Humchitt. “Our ancestors guarded our lands and waters in a sacred relationship of mutual dependence, and it is our responsibility to continue this relationship today.”
“The immense pressures our people face from extractive industries weigh heavy on our way of life and sense of balance with our homelands,” said Chief Councillor Marilyn Slett. “We have a responsibility to stand tall in the face of these threats. Heiltsuk know this pressure well from our opposition to Enbridge Northern Gateway, and we uplift our relatives at the Unist’ot’en Camp for their strength and dignity in doing their important work.”
Heiltsuk note that a long history of attempts to uproot Indigenous peoples from their sacred and unceded lands has consistently failed. Exchanges between Unist’ot’en leadership and the Heiltsuk community have reinforced the sentiment that Nations stand strongest when they stand together.
“We have a higher law that is rooted in the authority of our hereditary chiefs and derived from our relationship to our lands and waters,” said Chief Humchitt. “When we exercise that law to protect our lands, we are doing so for future generations. This is our sacred trust.”
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Chief Marilyn Slett