20+ Quotes from First Nations Who Support Coastal GasLink

Do Indigenous Peoples in Canada support Coastal GasLink (CGL)? The answer is yes, as indicated by the fact that all 20 elected councils of First Nations found along the pipeline’s right-of-way have signed benefit agreements with CGL and publicly stated their support for the project in one way or another.

Today, with renewed attempts by “environmentalists” to amplify oppositional voices to the pipeline, it’s critical we do the same for the proponents of Coastal GasLink to ensure that we hear both sides of the story.

So, here are more than 20 quotes from Indigenous members belonging to the communities along Coastal GasLink pipeline's route who support the project. Let's have a balanced conversation around natural resource development and Indigenous Peoples in Canada! Also see:

Helen Michelle - Hereditary Chief, Skin Tyee Nation, Wet’suwet’en

wet'suwet'en coastal gaslink pipeline indigenous supporters 2

“I support the resources because like I said we had lots of consultation, we asked lots of questions, we walked the very ground where the LNG [project] was going to go.

We’ve had lots of consultation in the last 5 years or so, and we all discussed it: elders, our band, all our band members, we agreed. We all agreed, and I have hereditary chiefs too, and they all agreed.”

Source: Canada Action

Rene Skin – Chief, Skin Tyee Nation, Wet’suwet’en

wet'suwet'en coastal gaslink pipeline indigenous supporters 2

“We’ve always been in support of the pipeline. We voted together.

Lots to do with jobs, up-and-coming housing, people will be able to start their own companies. For years to come there will be a lot of benefits.

$620 million in conditional contracting and employment opportunities, and another $400 million in contracting opportunities for local and Indigenous businesses.”

Source: Burns Lake Lakes District News

Marion Tiljoe Shepherd, Big Frog Clan, Wet'suwet'en

wet'suwet'en coastal gaslink pipeline indigenous supporters 15

"It's none of their business. All of these protestors don't have the right to close down railways and ships. It's not right. Go away.

I want them to leave... It's divided my family. It's just so sad."

Source: Canada Action

Crystal Smith – Chief Councillor, Haisla Nation

wet'suwet'en coastal gaslink pipeline indigenous supporters 12

"I've seen the impacts firsthand. I've felt the impacts firsthand. The focus for us is the long-term careers.

For the first time ever, we're funding culture and language programs. We're also expanding existing programs. This independence is what we want. This is what we need more of in our community. We need to heal our people. No other government... has been able to heal our people the way they need it.

At every First Nations table I sit at, or to the other First Nations leaders in the room... I want to see your people come to Kitimat. There is enough opportunity, we're not going to be able to fill it all. That opportunity is LNG Canada and Coastal GasLink."

Source: Prince George Citizen

MYTH vs FACT Coastal GasLink 2

Justin Napoleon – Chief, Saulteau First Nation

"We've had a lot of opportunities brought to us through Coastal GasLink, which has been supremely beneficial for our membership and for the nation as a whole.

I think that's been the greatest benefit for us, being able to take on projects ourselves and employ our own members.”

Source: Coastal GasLink

Bonnie George – Witset First Nation, Wet’suwet’en

wet'suwet'en coastal gaslink pipeline indigenous supporters 2

"There's quite a bit of support for this project. But people are afraid to speak up because, in the past few years, people that [have] spoken up were either ostracized … ridiculed, bullied, harassed, threatened, and being called a traitor — a sellout.

Even with me accepting [an] employment contract with Coastal GasLink, I was called a traitor and I was just totally, you know, bullied on social media and so on.

People are afraid to speak up. 

There's a small group of members from the Wet'suwet'en Nation that doesn't support the [Coastal GasLink] projects."

Source: CBC

Karen Ogen-Toews – Councillor, Former Elected Chief, Wet’suwet’en
wet'suwet'en coastal gaslink pipeline indigenous supporters 6

“The [UN] committee should have been aware that the 20 First Nations participated extensively during five years of consultation on the pipeline and have successfully negotiated agreements with Coastal GasLink. This is on the public record.

To date, more than one-third of the work completed on the project has been conducted by Indigenous people. Coastal GasLink has earmarked $620 million in contracting opportunities to First Nations in BC. And there is more to come. All this is on the public record.”

Source: Dawson Creek Mirror

Gary Naziel – Councillor, Witset First Nation, Wet’suwet’en

wet'suwet'en coastal gaslink pipeline indigenous supporters 6

“Today’s announcement [benefit agreement] is a testament to what we can accomplish when industry and First Nations work together.

This project will provide jobs, contracts and financial benefits that Witset First Nation can use to enhance programs and initiatives for our citizens, such as language and cultural programs.

We look forward to continuing to work together with the Coastal GasLink project toward these common goals.”

Source: Energetic City

Robert Skin – Councillor, Skin Tyee Nation, Wet’suwet’en

wet'suwet'en coastal gaslink pipeline indigenous supporters 4

“The protesters get one side of the story, and they want to stand up with their fists in the air.

Come and listen to us. Get both sides of the story before you go out and stop traffic and stop the rail line. All you’re doing is alienating people who are trying to put a roof over their children’s heads and food on their table.

Instead of saying ‘no’ to everybody all the time, now we can say ‘yes, we have the money for housing. Yes, we have the money for education’."

Source: Victoria News

coastal gaslink pipeline myths and facts 1

Troy Young – Witset First Nation, Wet’suwet’en

“People in Canada have the right to protest. This is a democracy.  It is unfortunate that they are protesting with only half the story being told.

I don’t feel the elected councils are being given a fair voice in this matter. From discussions I have had, the elected chiefs recognize that employment can be a multi-generational gain for the family. People working on a pipeline can send their children to school to provide for better opportunities in the future.

The elected chiefs want to break the bondage of poverty that exists within our communities.”

Source: Vancouver Sun

Rita George - Matriarch & Hereditary Subchief, Wet'suwet'en
wet'suwet'en coastal gaslink pipeline indigenous supporters 11

The world thinks the matriarchs are behind all the protests going on and that's not true. None of the matriarchs were contacted.

If I keep quiet, if I don't come forward to address our point of view, it will look like we are supporters. We are not.

Source: Canada Action

Dan George – Chief, Burns Lake Band (Ts’il Kaz Koh), Wet’suwet’en

wet'suwet'en coastal gaslink pipeline indigenous supporters 9

"I had our community vote [on Coastal Gaslink] and most of my community – 80 per cent – voted in favour of the gas line, so that gave me my marching orders to do what I needed to do to negotiate the best deal I can for my people in my reserve.

There is few economic opportunities in northern B.C. There’s a huge mountain pine beetle that has devastated all of the pine in northern B.C. and most of us First Nations have been loggers at one time or another throughout our lives, and there’s not very much logging.

There are very few opportunities now and this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Source: CBC

Theresa Tait-Day – Hereditary Subchief, Wet’suwet’en

wet'suwet'en coastal gaslink pipeline indigenous supporters 8

“As female Wet’suwet’en members and community leaders, we want to be heard and involved in the decision-making. That is our way. But our voices are not being heard.

We have been working particularly with LNG and Coastal GasLink. Our people wanted a benefit and they wanted to be able to make a decision on a positive note. However, we’ve experienced lateral violence and coercion since then by the five chiefs who claim to represent the nation.

These chiefs’ voices have been amplified by the skills and resources of outside environmental activists, who say that they support the Wet’suwet’en but whose primary interest is stopping the pipeline.

The protest organizers are conveniently hiding beneath our blanket as Indigenous people, while forcing their policy goals at our expense. This compromises our Nation’s social well-being and our people’s economic futures.”

Source: APTN News

Dominic Frederick – Councillor, Lheidli T’enneh First Nation

“Strong economic development is essential to keep our community thriving.

This pipeline benefits agreement with the Province gives the people of Lheidli T’enneh the ability to be a full partner in the opportunities LNG offers. It will provide jobs for our young people and a secure future for their families.”

Source: My Prince George Now

MYTH vs FACT Coastal GasLink 3

Joe Belas – Former Chief, Kitselas First Nation

“We look forward to continuing our relationship with the Coastal GasLink team. We believe that meaningful participation can work to the benefit of our members and the project, and that we can achieve balance with protecting our environment.”

Source: Coastal GasLink

Shirley Wilson, Wet'suwet'en Nation
wet'suwet'en coastal gaslink pipeline indigenous supporters 16

“I don’t agree with the protests at all because it’s all one-sided.

The protestors that are there a lot come from out of area like Eastern Canada or even the USA.”

Source: Canada Action

Candice George - Wet'suwet'en Nation

wet'suwet'en coastal gaslink pipeline indigenous supporters 18

"Three to five hereditary chiefs DO NOT speak for all hereditary chiefs.

Media only speak to the same chiefs and it's portrayed as all Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs - they are misinformed!"

Source: Canada Action

Raymond Morris – Chief, Nee Tahi Buhn Indian Band

wet'suwet'en coastal gaslink pipeline indigenous supporters 19

“Being directly involved in expanding LNG in British Columbia presents our community with an opportunity to benefit from this new industry.

The land that we have depended on for generations will continue to provide for our members and contribute to the LNG industry and the provincial economy.”

Source: Indigenous Business & Finance Today

Marvin Yahey – Chief, Blueberry River First Nation

wet'suwet'en coastal gaslink pipeline indigenous supporters 10

"We believe the pipeline project will benefit our members today and for future generations, both financially and in terms of employment for our members.

The relationship we have established with TransCanada is just as important as the agreement, and we are confident that the relationship we have built will continue to the benefit of both parties for years to come."

Source: Alaska Highway News

Myth - Wetsuweten do not support Coastal GasLink

Roland Willson – Chief, West Moberly First Nations

"This is a major milestone for West Moberly First Nations," he is quoted as saying in a press release.

"Our team has worked diligently over the past five years to ensure that our cultural and environmental principles are protected, and we continue to work closely with the Coastal GasLink team to maximize the economic benefits for our community members and future generations."

Source: Prince George Citizen

Chris Sankey – Former Elected Councillor, Lax Kw’alaams Band

wet'suwet'en coastal gaslink pipeline indigenous supporters 14

"British Columbia’s LNG sector is an emerging success. It is set to attract billions in investment to our province, while producing tens of thousands of good-paying jobs.

It will be environmentally sound, producing some of the lowest emitting LNG in the world. And it is working to ensure meaningful participation with Indigenous peoples, with more than a billion dollars in Indigenous procurement spending and benefits already negotiated with Coastal Gas Link, Kitimat LNG and Woodfibre LNG.

Indigenous communities, rural and urban municipalities, businesses and workers throughout B.C. are calling on the provincial and federal governments to fully support our resource development industries and help us ensure a strong recovery.

I hope these calls don’t fall on deaf ears. We can no longer afford it."

Source: Vancouver Sun

Ellis Ross – Former Chief Councillor, Haisla Nation

wet'suwet'en coastal gaslink pipeline indigenous supporters 21

“The fact is all 20 First Nations whose territory runs along the pathway of the Coastal GasLink pipeline — including the Wet’suwet’en — have each signed agreements with the company.

Professional protesters and well-funded NGOs have merely seized the opportunity to divide our communities for their own gains, and ultimately will leave us penniless when they suddenly leave.

It is therefore truly ignorant for non-Aboriginals to declare that elected Aboriginal leaders are only responsible for ‘on reserve issues’ or are a ‘construct of the Indian Act meant to annihilate the Indian.’”

Source: Vancouver Sun

Archie Patrick – Chief, Stellat’en First Nation

wet'suwet'en coastal gaslink pipeline indigenous supporters 22

“And basically what I am doing is saying that I want to see shelter for everyone. I’d like to see a job for everyone and I want to see our children go to our schools.

“We will invest it [money from benefit agreement], we will try to start economic development in the territory, probably provide services and there is the whole question of tourism which we haven’t explored at all.

There is a pipeline through our territory just over the mountain here, it was put in 30 years ago.  It is overgrown, nothing has ever happened to it and likely that is going to happen.”

Source: APTN News

Derek Orr – Former Chief, McLeod Lake Indian Band

“This is one of the biggest projects in Canada, who wouldn’t want to be a part of it?

You can talk about the millions, but it’s really the people on the ground who are employed, feeding their families, buying clothing for their kids. They’re being part of the economy; they can make money and live a good life.”

Source: Coastal GasLink

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