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Lessons from the canyon : Aboriginal engagement in the Enbridge Northern Gateway environmental assessment Panofsky, Sarah 2011

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LESSONS FROM THE CANYON: ABORIGINAL ENGAGEMENT IN THE ENBRIDGE NORTHERN GATEWAY ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT  by Sarah Panofsky  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in The Faculty of Graduate Studies (Geography) THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver) August 2011 © Sarah Panofsky, 2011  ii  Abstract This thesis examines the environmental assessment for the proposed Northern Gateway Pipelines project, focusing on Aboriginal concerns with the process. Northern Gateway is a highly contentious oil pipeline that would link the Tar Sands in Alberta to the BC coast in Kitimat, in an effort to ship Canadian crude to Asia. I focus on the extent and quality of First Nations’ participation in the EA and its meaningful acknowledgement of Aboriginal rights and ontologies. Environmental assessment in Canada has become an important space for the negotiation of Aboriginal rights though it was never intended as such and is wrought with criticism. I present this analysis within a post-colonial framework, grounded in political ecology, political ontology and posthumanism. It is important to understand the case of Northern Gateway in BC today within a broader analysis of a legacy of colonialism, and colonial relationships. To explore these issues, I center on the experience of one Aboriginal organization, the Office of the Wet’suwet’en, in Smithers BC, which is publicly opposed to Northern Gateway.  iii  Table of Contents Abstract ..........................................................................................................................ii Table of Contents ...........................................................................................................iii List of Figures................................................................................................................. v List of Terms.................................................................................................................vii Acknowledgements ......................................................................................................viii Introduction: “River with Clear Blue Water”................................................................... 1 Chapter 1: “It’s a Fish and Water Story” ......................................................................... 6 People of the Lower River........................................................................................... 6 The Pipelines............................................................................................................. 14 Environmental Assessment: a Federal Joint Review Panel......................................... 25 The Post Colonial Present.......................................................................................... 29 Scope of Analysis...................................................................................................... 38 Chapter 2: Methods and Methodology........................................................................... 41 Participant Observation ............................................................................................. 42 Yintakh ..................................................................................................................... 44 Positionality and Personal Politics of Research.......................................................... 47 Theoretical Currents.................................................................................................. 52 Chapter 3: Contentious Politics of Environmental Management .................................... 60 Historical Development of Environmental Assessment in Canada ............................. 61 The Berger Inquiry: A Model for Assessment........................................................ 64 Slow Development ................................................................................................ 66 Towards a Critical Environmental Assessment .......................................................... 70 ‘Science for Hire’ .................................................................................................. 71 Eco-Governmentality ............................................................................................ 73 Uneven Politics ......................................................................................................... 76 Traditional Ecological Knowledge......................................................................... 77 Defining Representation ........................................................................................ 79 Project Scoping ..................................................................................................... 80 The Holistic Approach........................................................................................... 84 Sustainability......................................................................................................... 87 Jurisdiction............................................................................................................ 88 Public Participation ............................................................................................... 91 Concluding Remarks ................................................................................................. 93 Chapter 4: Aboriginal Rights: Developed and Dismissed............................................... 96 Ambiguous and Ill-defined: Aboriginal Rights in Canada.......................................... 97 From Calder to Taku ............................................................................................... 100 The Politics of Recognition ..................................................................................... 104 International Indigenous Rights ............................................................................... 107 Northern Gateway: Aboriginal rights, dismissed...................................................... 110 Communications Protocol Agreements with Enbridge ............................................. 116 Further Enbridge Initiatives..................................................................................... 125 Chapter 5: A Process of Ontological Exclusion ........................................................... 128 Ontologies............................................................................................................... 128  iv An Ethnographic Moment: Ontological Exclusions and a Colonial Encounter ......... 130 Consultation ............................................................................................................ 131 The Nation .............................................................................................................. 133 Regional Representation.......................................................................................... 135 Time, Structure and Yintakh.................................................................................... 139 Future Hearings....................................................................................................... 144 A New Vocabulary.................................................................................................. 144 Chapter 6: Your Voice, Our Future: Working Together for the Betterment of All........ 148 Conclusion: Lessons from the Canyon ........................................................................ 156 Bibliography ............................................................................................................... 163  v  List of Figures Figure 1: Fall at the Gosnell, Thautil and Morice confluence (Photo BRH) ..................... 2 Figure 2: Young Boy at Moricetown Canyon circa 1900 (Photo National Archives). Figure 3: Fisherman with gaff Moricetown Canyon (Photo Stephen Shugg) .................... 3 Figure 4: The headwaters of Wedzin Kwa, Wedzin Ben (Morice Lake) (Photo BRH) ..... 5 Figure 5: Wet’suwet’en Territory in BC (Image OW)...................................................... 9 Figure 6: Tsayu clan meeting in Moricetown Multiplex (Photo OW)............................. 11 Figure 7: The proposed route (Image Northern Gateway) .............................................. 16 Figure 8: Northern Gateway Brochure, 2010 (Image Northern Gateway) ...................... 17 Figure 9: Protestors march prior to JRP meetings in Prince George, Sept. 2010 (Photo BRH) ............................................................................................................................ 19 Figure 10: In solidarity with salmon at a rally in Prince George, Sept. 2010 (Photo BRH) ..................................................................................................................................... 24 Figure 11: The joint review panel superimposed on the outflow of Wedzin Kwa from Wedzin Ben (Photos: NEB, BRH)................................................................................. 27 Figure 12: A grizzly bear fishing for salmon in Hanna Creek (Photo Paul Colangelo) ... 40 Figure 13: The OW team with author in background, Prince George, Sept. 2010 (Photo BRH) ............................................................................................................................ 43 Figure 14: A drum is raised alongside placards in PG, Sept. 2010 (Photo BRH) .......... 112 Figure 15: Hereditary Chiefs at water mixing ceremony, Moricetown 2009 (Photo OW) ................................................................................................................................... 120 Figure 16: The route through Wet’suwet’en territory, with clans and houses defined (Image: Francois Depey) ............................................................................................. 121 Figure 17: The meeting hall (Photo BRH) ................................................................... 131 Figure 18: Dolores Pollard: “We don’t need Enbridge on the Douglas” (Photo BRH).. 132 Figure 19: The rally outside the meetings (Photo BRH)............................................... 136  vi Figure 21: Skeena River Sockeye salmon (Photo OW) ................................................ 143 Figure 22: ‘For future generations”, a young Wet’suwet’en girl at Kitimat rally (Photo OW)............................................................................................................................ 155 Figure 23: Wet’suwet’en Chiefs stand proudly in opposition, Kitimat, May 2010 (Photo OW)............................................................................................................................ 157 Figure 24: Hundreds gather for the Solidarity Gathering of Nations to oppose NG, May 2010 (Photo Ian McAllister)........................................................................................ 159  vii  List of Terms CEAA- Canadian Environmental Act CEA Agency- Canadian Environmental Agency EA- Environmental Assessment DFO- Department of Fisheries and Oceans ATK- Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge TEK- Traditional Ecological Knowledge UN- United Nations OW- Office of the Wet’suwet’en  viii  Acknowledgements I am grateful to many people for their help and support in the completion of this thesis. Foremost, I would like to thank the Office of the Wet’suwet’en, especially the Natural Resources Department, Mike, John, David, David, and François, for inspiring me with your passion and trusting in my potential. My experience in the North has been shaped by the peace of the Kispiox Valley, and its kind people. I am thankful to Brian for teaching me patience and for reminding me of the power of the river. Thank you to my supervisors, Juanita, for your intuitive and consistent guidance and Philippe, for your enthusiasm and the initial idea. I am grateful to my parents for their eternal sunshine and interest. I dedicate this story to the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs who have shown me the strength and adaptability of tradition in tumultuous times, and particularly to Chief Woos, Roy Morris, whose knowledge of the land and gentleness of character I only began to know.  1  Introduction: “River with Clear Blue Water” To the Wet’suwet’en, it is Wedzin Kwa, “river with clear blue water,” the Morice-Bulkley River1 which runs 257 kilometers, from its source in Wedzin Ben, or Morice Lake to its confluence with the Skeena. The Wet’suwet’en, “people of the lower river,” have lived with and along Wedzin Kwa since the beginning of time. As Chief Na’moks told me: “The river is the lifeblood of the Wet’suwet’en because it nourishes the land, the animals, the plants, it nourishes us” (Personal Communication 22/10/2010). The river weaves and winds its way down the Bulkley Valley. Turquoise waters sparkling brightly on sunny days, turn to grey under the rain. Early mornings cast pink hues on the constant flow, bringing, a certain softness to boiling eddy lines. In springtime the river surges with melting snow and ice, pushing against steep riverbanks, sometimes washing out the gravel slopes. Tributaries pour into the main current, building and shaping the river that flows powerfully northwest, eventually emptying into the Skeena River on its course to the sea. Water levels rise and fall, the roar of the canyon, a little less by the end of summer. Early autumn shakes with the vibrancy of the land, resonating through the brilliant hillsides of poplars changing leaves. As the cold sets in, the sound of 1  Wedzin Kwa is the Wet’suwet’en name for the Morice River and the Bulkley River. There is no distinction made between these two rivers, as the Bulkley, before its confluence with the Morice has little volume. Popularly in the region though, there is generally a difference between the Morice River, which runs 80 kilometers, from Morice Lake, to Houston, and the Bulkley River, which runs 285 kilometers from Bulkley Lake to the Skeena River in Hazelton (Gottesfeld and Rabnett, 2008). In terms of the campaign opposing Enbridge, the river is often referred to as the Morice-Bulkley, to draw attention to the union of the rivers. The proposed pipeline would cross the Morice River in a remote section, near to its outflow from Morice Lake, potentially affecting the entire watershed, and importantly, the Bulkley. Throughout this analysis I use Wedzin Kwa and Morice-Bulkley interchangeably. At times I refer to the rivers by their separate names as well.  2 ice forming fills the landscape with eerily warm moans and groans. Winter brings with it a new network of trails as the frozen streams and rivers provide open pathways of ice, and still life gathers on and around the water. It is a constantly changing force, pulling together all that surrounds it in its ever-changing ebbs and flows.  Figure 1: Fall at the Gosnell, Thautil and Morice confluence (Photo BRH) If you look closely on clear days in the summer and fall, you can see salmon swimming upstream to spawn, resting behind boulders and in swirling eddies. You can often discern them out jumping the chaotic steps in Moricetown canyon. Magnificent silver bodies thrust their way up and on, astoundingly nimble in the raging current. Fisherman stand tethered to the familiar cliffs, nets and gaffs2 in hand, as their ancestors have for generations. Nets dip into the water, moved methodically by practiced hands, erratic spray splashing focused foreheads and bare arms. Hand over hand the nets are pulled up, weighted by the twisting bodies of determined chinook, sockeye, coho, chum, pink Salmon, and steelhead trout. Sports fishermen come from all over the world to fish these waters, to taste the abundance at the center of life in Northwest BC. They are not the only ones drawn to the river; grizzly bears prowl the shores and waters- wolves,  2  A gaff is a long pole with a sharp hook on the end used to stab a fish and bring it ashore.  3 eagles, and wolverine find their home in the quiet interior forest. All life is part of a greater system with the river at its center. The highway itself snakes alongside the river in sections, offering magical glimpses to the traffic of logging trucks, tourists in their RV’s heading north or south, locals accustomed to the striking landscape. The river as well as the road link together the communities along the valley. Sparse fishing camps dot the shores from Morice Lake down to the confluence with the Bulkley River in Houston, a town developed on agriculture, logging and mining. The river continues through Quick, Telkwa, Smithers, Moricetown and Hagwilget until it meets with the Skeena River in Hazelton.  Figure 2: Young Boy at Moricetown Canyon circa 1900 (Photo National Archives). Figure 3: Fisherman with gaff Moricetown Canyon (Photo Stephen Shugg) Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway Pipelines Project would run alongside Wedzin Kwa for approximately thirty kilometers, crossing it not far from its source at Wedzin Ben. The pipeline would pass below and alongside the river, one section of the pipe that would ship bitumen crude oil from the Tar Sands to Kitimat, BC, in an effort to  4 deliver Alberta oil to Asia and principally to China. The project is at the forefront of energy, environmental and Aboriginal rights issues in Canada and is currently undergoing an environmental assessment by a federal Joint Review Panel (JRP) of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEA Agency) and the National Energy Board (NEB). I have come to the river and to Northwest British Columbia recently, interested in the opposition to the Northern Gateway Pipeline Project and its environmental assessment process. I have been shaped by the river and life around it. This thesis is based on ethnographic research I conducted in the region between June and December of 2010. For five months of this time I worked collaboratively with the Office of the Wet’suwet’en, a First Nations’3 organization in Smithers, BC, observing and participating in their opposition to the proposed pipeline. I worked primarily with the Natural Resources Department and conducted interviews with its members, as well as with others associated in the web of interactions around Northern Gateway: non-Aboriginal community members, representatives from local environmental non-profit organizations, fly fishermen, other First Nations peoples organizing in their own communities, representatives from Enbridge, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and the  3  The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (2007) emphasizes the importance of self-definition: “Indigenous peoples have a collective and individual right to maintain and develop their distinct identities and characteristics, including the right to identity themselves as Indigenous and to be recognized as such”. In Canada, the term Indigenous is not used legally. Instead, Canadian Aboriginal Peoples comprise three groups, North American Indian, Metis and the Inuit. ‘Indian’ is considered derogatory and outdated and has generally been replaced by Native or First Nation. First Nation is not an officially defined category but is widely used to describe Aboriginal peoples not of Metis or Inuit origin. In this work I use the terms First Nation and Aboriginal interchangeably.  5 Department of Fisheries and Oceans. My account is grounded in the actions and experiences of those working for and associated with the office, as well as the Wet’suwet’en territories that would be affected by the project. I borrow from Rauna Kuokkanen (2007) in using the river as a conceptual metaphor to guide this account. With this approach I hope to invoke a fluid analysis, one that is rooted in Wet’suwet’en practices and experience, but which moves, as Kuokkanen writes, ‘into other waters’ (Kuokkanen, xvi). In this way I hope to shift between multiple discourses and intellectual traditions. It is above all my goal to extend beyond strict binaries, of nature and culture, human and non-human, traditional and non-traditional, indigenous and non-indigenous. The process around Northern Gateway, the geographies affected and the associations of actors that are guiding the path of the project, come together in varying ways, creating flux and fluidity, sometimes rushing and crashing together, at other moments creating equilibrium and calm. My own positionality as a white researcher from the BC south is also subsumed in this metaphor of the river. I am pulled back and forth between the actions and words of the Wet’suwet’en and my own situatedness within academia. This too is a force pushing and pulling the story I tell.  Figure 4: The headwaters of Wedzin Kwa, Wedzin Ben (Morice Lake) (Photo BRH)  6  Chapter 1: “It’s a Fish and Water Story” This thesis addresses the environmental assessment process for the Northern Gateway Pipelines Project. I am interested in the experience of the process for Aboriginal groups whose territories would be impacted by the project. I argue that there are severe limitations to the extent and quality of First Nations participation in the EA process and the lack of meaningful acknowledgement of Aboriginal rights and authority over their lands. With these limitations in mind, I present this analysis under a postcolonial framework. It is important to understand the case of Northern Gateway in BC today within a greater understanding of a legacy of colonialism, and colonial relationships in BC and in Canada. The environmental assessment that will determine the future of Northern Gateway does not allow actors to come together as equals in an open and fair process. Instead, actors around Northern Gateway, Aboriginal communities, Enbridge representatives, members of the Joint Review Panel, the Crown, representatives from environmental organizations, the BC and Canadian public, Chinese investors, Tar Sands investors and extractive companies, the animals, rivers, streams and life that would be impacted by the project and others, come together based on distinct journeys, ontologies and epistemologies, which must be appreciated in any analysis of the project and which shape the path of the decision on the project itself.  People of the Lower River Our people used and managed the natural resources for thousands of years, and the resources remained plentiful. The environment was cared for and kept healthy. It took 100 years of extraction by the Europeans to just about wipe out the resources and environment. This was done without any regard whatsoever for the true owners of the land. (Gisdaywa (Alfred Joseph) in Mills, 1994)  7  The Gitksan and the Wet’suwet’en, in seeking recognition from this court of their rights to ownership and jurisdiction over their territory, are seeking recognition of their societies as equals and contemporaries. The challenge here, both for the court and for us as counsel, is to understand and overcome the tendency to view Aboriginal societies as existing at an earlier stage of evolutionary development. The assumption underlying such a position offers persistent, powerful, and ultimately distorting conclusions as to the real nature of Indian society. (‘Opening statements’- Delgam’uuk and Gisdaywa, in Daly 2005) The Wet’suwet’en are considered a division of the Athabaskan-speaking Carrier peoples in Northwestern British Columbia; their traditional territory encompasses the Morice-Bulkley River Valley, the lands to the west and south of the valley and the area of Ootsa Lake and part of Francois Lake. These territories include headwaters of the Skeena and the Fraser. The principal communities of the Wet’suwet’en are Hagwilget, Moricetown, Broman Lake, Burns Lake, Skin Tyee and Nee Tahi Buhn. Kya Wiget, or Moricetown, was the summer fishing and ceremonial centre on Wedzin Kwa, the MoriceBulkley River, where most Wet’suwet’en gathered each year during the warmer months for the salmon run. Archaeological evidence shows continued use of the village for the last 6,000 years; it remains an important Wet’suwet’en center today. In their stories, the Wet’suwet’en Nation has lived with and alongside Wedzin Kwa since almost the beginning of time. Long ago the people of Moricetown lived at a village called Dizlegh which means “Dead trees all pointing in one direction”. This place on the Bulkley River is now known as Mosquito Flats, Diztlegh was a great village where the Carrier, Gitksan, and Sekani people all lived together. The people of the village built a big weir across the river to catch the salmon going up to spawn. With their stone axes they cut timber on the hillside. They dragged the logs to the waters edge with ropes of cedar bark, moose hide, and caribou hide. Strong men drove in the piles with large stones. They laid the logs in place, forming a blockade across the river with gaps in which to set their fish traps.  8  One summer day during the salmon run many people were standing on the weir. Two squirrels wandered over it, quite fearless, and examined the structure above and below. The people were terrified. They believed the squirrels’ visit would bring bad luck; all of the people would die at the hands of the sky-god Udakke. Everyone who lived at the Diztlegh scattered in all directions, the Gitksan moved down to the Skeena River, the Carriers went to Babine Lake and others places, the Sekani fled northward. Some people traveled to Trout Creek. They lived there until Moricetown canyon was found. Then everyone moved to the spot where Moricetown is now. (in Cassidy and Cassidy, 1980 ) The Wet’suwet’en have continued to maintain jurisdiction over their lands since European settlement through their traditional system of governance, the matrilineal inheritance of titles, designated at feasts, in which rights to land are passed on. The Wet’suwet’en are divided into a complex society of clans and houses. Descent and inheritance are traced through the female line; house groups, run by house chiefs, hold communal ownership of their territories. The chief inherits the rights and responsibilities to the land and the use of the territories is exclusive to the particular house and their relations. Wet’suwe’ten clans are: Gilserhyu- Frog Clan, Laksilyu- Small Frog Clan, Gitdumden- Wolf Clan, Laksamshu- Fireweed Clan and Tsayu- Beaver clan. The clans are the most important division in society for the Wet’suwet’en, “supporting them in their grievances and bearing the responsibility for their misdeeds” (Cassidy and Cassidy, 1980:20). A house group contains members of an extended family and two or more house groups make up each clan. The central institution of the Wet’suwe’ten is the potlatch, in which political and social decisions are made (Mills 1994, Daly 2005).  9  Figure 5: Wet’suwet’en Territory in BC (Image OW) In the emerging Canadian nation-state, the !potlatch! or feast system of Northwest Aboriginal groups became perceived as a threat, reflective of unwanted values of excess and waste. The potlatch was incomprehensible to colonial authorities. According to commissioner Malcolm Sproat, “the Potlatch is a form of aboriginal self-government that stands in the way of the Canadian government and its civilizing mission” (in Kuokannen 2007:46). Gift giving in the potlatch was seen as a threat to progress and civilization. To protect their civilizing mission, colonial authorities forbad the potlatch under law in 1884 (the law was rescinded in 1951). Despite concerted efforts by missionaries and government officials to ban the potlatch system, it remains at the center of Northwest Coast Aboriginal culture; it is the foundation of Wet’suwet’en government, law, social structure, business and world-view. Father Morice writes about his attempts to stop Wet’suwet’en feasts in the early 1900’s:  10 All our missionary’s labours, the constant efforts of nineteen years joined to the seven of an excellent predecessor’s work, had been in vain. […] Another priest had to be sent up who, with the best will in the world, caused to reappear all those reprehensible customs which had been solemnly abolished in their last strong hold in the presence of the Bishop himself. […] The Indians, but yesterday so exemplary, had returned to their vomiting. (Morice, 1930:238) In this passage Father Morice describes the practice of the feasts as vomiting. The feasts system, based on a deep respect of the spirituality and interconnectedness of the land, the animals and the holders of title, has persisted. There are feasts for all important occasions in life, birth, marriage, death, taking on chiefly title, etc. Feasts allow for the entire community to gather and come to decisions. They provide public validation of chiefs, transferring property and serve judicial purposes for enforcing laws and resolving conflict. Feasts are centered on amassing goods and giving them away. The greatest wealth is shown by giving all wealth away. With an ongoing system of credit and debt, feasts encourage relationships of reciprocity and close ties. The feast hall provides a forum for chiefs to use the authority vested in them to settle disputes or breaches of Wet’suwet’en law (Mills, 1994, Dally, 2005). I attended a cleaning of the headstone feast in which Chief Na’moks received his voice, after ruling silently for two years since getting his name. Chief Samooh explained to me the importance of this day: Right now the feast hall is for the people […] It’s for serving the people. […] The feast today, John Ridsdale is his given name but inherited name is chief Na’moks. His uncle passed on three years ago. And the importance of this feast is Na’moks is a hereditary chief and he’s a Tsayu member, beaver clan. Today’s a special day for him, !because, he had […] a smoke feast, had the funeral feast, we had the headstone feast and now we have the dry up stone feast. The dry up stone feast is when he gets his voice to speak in the feast hall. He has the voice to speak for his people, his clan and his house members. He has the authority to make decisions. He has to make decisions within our system, with our governance. (Personal Communication 20/10/2010)  11 I learned what the feasts mean for members of the community. For a middle-aged man, “the feast is about taking care of every member of the community”. For a teenage girl, “the feast is about protecting and maintaining our traditions”. The traditional system of governance is the fundamental framework for all understanding. “We need to get back to the potlatch system. This is how we make decisions. We’ve got to start using our laws, our Inuk Nu’at’en in order to move forward”, said Chief Madeek (Personal Communication 6/12/2010). Using the traditional feast system, conflicts can be resolved “in a traditional way,” added Madeek.  Figure 6: Tsayu clan meeting in Moricetown Multiplex (Photo OW) The Office of the Wet’suwet’en (OW) is a non-profit society, created in 1994 to pursue treaty negotiations with the crown. The OW is governed by the thirteen Hereditary Chiefs which meet on a monthly basis to make all decisions regarding the office. It is intended as the central office for the Wet’suwet’en Nation, though some communities participate more than others. The office offers services in Lands and Resources, Social  12 Services and Fisheries. Initially the OW was affiliated with the Gitxsan Nation; indeed the important courtcase, Delgamuukw, saw the union of the two Nations. Now the two groups operate as distinct entities. Though not a Tribal Council, the office serves similar administrative functions; however, it does not receive continuous funding from the provincial or federal government. Instead it must negotiate its funding on a yearly basis and much of this funding is tied to treaty negotiations. The most pressing issues for the office involve projects for the development of their traditional territories. Every month they are faced with additional proposals by mining, forestry and energy proponents regarding exploration and development on their lands. Chief Na’moks, describes the mission of the office and the traditional governance at its center: It was set up to be the national government, for our nation. The idea was we’d have satellite offices to monitor all the territory, we’d deal with the federal and provincial government and we would still have a representative in the communities and out on the land, letting us know what’s going on. Education, job opportunities, protection of the land. The board of directors, that table is the arm of our feast hall. It is the cornerstone of the feast hall. That’s our government. That’s our government building. Our feast hall is our parliament building. Each of our chiefs that sits at our table are Prime ministers. But the bosses are the people. (Personal Communication 22/10/2010) Upon entering into treaty negotiations with the crown, the Hereditary Chiefs issued a statement, Inuk Nu’at’en (Our Own Law), outlining their view of a treaty between the Wet’suwet’en Nation and the crown. Throughout the statement, they emphasize the continuing strength of Wet’suwet’en culture, spirituality, economic and political practices. Treaty should build a new relationship of meaningful coexistence, based upon recognition, sharing and respect. Seven standards must be met to assure the Wet’suwet’en presence on the entire traditional territory is recognized and affirmed: -Our occupation of the territory for living, economic, cultural, spiritual and others purposes so as to provide for the many generations of our people to come;  13 -Full access to the comprehensive range of natural resources so that we can engage in economic, cultural, spiritual and other related endeavors; -The continued reinforcement and full enjoyment of our House, Clan, and Feast system. -The ecological health and sustainability of our territory so that our children and our children’s children can continue to enjoy the harmony, bounty and beauty of the land; -The full exercise of our cultural pursuits on the land and with regard to natural resources. -The affirmation of our spiritual values with regard to the land and all of the living things it contains; -The recognized presence of jurisdictional and institutional arrangements which will enable us to full exercise Wet’suwet’en governance so that we are able to accomplish our social, economic, environmental, cultural, spiritual and political goals in relation to our entire territory. (Wet’suwet’en view of Treaty, 1997, Statement of Hereditary Chiefs) This statement reflects the fundamental approach of the OW and the chiefs with regards to their people and territories. This approach extends not only to treaty negotiations but to the overall management of their lands. They are seeking equality of treatment with the Crown, to negotiate on a government-to-government basis. They advocate for selfgovernance and opportunities for the future, for their people and the wellbeing of their territories. The chiefs do not envision a closed society, but welcome others to their territory. They are fighting for a greater extent of self-reliance, governance and determination. In 2000 the Office of the Wet’suwet’en and The Province of British Columbia, as represented by the Premier, the Minister of Forests and the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Canada, as represented by the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development signed a political accord of understanding concerning land and resources. The Accord stipulates that the parties “are committed to work together cooperatively and collaboratively in a mutually beneficial way with regard to land and resources”. Furthermore, the Accord states: “each of the parties seeks to work with the other parties  14 in the spirit of mutual recognition, respect and reconciliation”. Long term goals of collaboration include: “fostering Wet’suwet’en involvement in lands and resources, planning and management and the exploration of means of the protection of key areas of environmental, cultural, spiritual and other values”. These are not simply lofty goals, but an agreement of engagement between the Crown and the OW, regarding mutual respect and recognition. These values have not yet been integrated into all matters of negotiation between the Wet’suwet’en and the Crown. There is a fundamental distinction between the Crown’s and the Wet’suwet’en understanding of jurisdiction over traditional lands. The Wet’suwet’en maintain that their system of governance has entailed their continued jurisdiction over their lands and territories. The lands are passed on through matrilineal succession and validated in the feast hall. The federal and provincial governments, though, consider the territory to belong to the Crown, entitled to the Queen by the colonial right of sovereign nations to claim unoccupied land. There is in existence a difficult situation in which “two different peoples with two different conceptions of jurisdiction held, and hold, conflicting views of legal rights and responsibilities” (Mills, 1994:5). Thus far, the Crown has failed to adequately acknowledge and accommodate Aboriginal jurisdiction to their lands.  The Pipelines The proposed Northern Gateway Pipelines Project would stretch from the Alberta Tar Sands to a marine terminal in Kitimat B.C. and would result in crude oil and condensate tanker travel on B.C.’s North Coast, in an effort to create new markets for Alberta oil, primarily in China. The project, in fact, would entail the construction of two  15 pipelines. A westward line would carry 525,000 barrels per day of bitumen crude oil to a newly constructed tanker port at Kitimat at the head of the Douglas Channel and an eastern line would move condensate, a petroleum product used to dilute the bitumen, to the Tar Sands. The pipelines would necessitate a 50-meter right-of-way during construction and a 30-meter right of way throughout the life of the pipeline, to be kept clear. The pipelines would stretch 1,172 kilometers, beginning in the prairie farmland of northern Alberta, northeast of Edmonton and heading west across wetlands, through forests yet unaffected by resource development and urban expansion, passing north of Prince George, through Bear Lake and Fort St. James, dipping south to Burns Lake. There it would enter Wet’suwet’en territory, and would run along Wedzin Kwa, the Morice-Bulkley River, an area of globally significant wild salmon habitats, and pass underneath the river. The pipeline would then follow a drilled passageway through two mountains, and continue down river valleys south to Kitimat. In Kitimat, the bitumen would be loaded onto bulk crude oil tankers, which would then navigate the Douglas Channel, en route for Asia (Enbridge Northern Gateway, 2011a/b, Enbridge Northern Gateway 2010a).  16  Figure 7: The proposed route (Image Northern Gateway) The project would further diversify Chinese oil supplies in a market dependent on tenuous Middle East holdings. Furthermore, it would diversify Canadian supplies within uncertain U.S. markets. Currently Tar Sands bitumen is sold exclusively within Canada and to the United States but political agitation for clean energy threatens the receptiveness of the U.S. market. China looks favorably upon Alberta oil to bypass the insecurities of trade in the Middle East (Hume, 2010, Caldicott, 2011). Enbridge says that they are “building more than Pipelines”, that their project will nurture economic development in Northern BC and Alberta and in the country at large (Enbridge Northern Gateway Project 2010a). They promise an increase of $270 billion in Canadian gross domestic product over 30 years, as well as $1.2 billion in tax revenues in BC and $462  17 million in Alberta. Enbridge claims that the project will generate 217 long-term job opportunities nationally, and 15,675 person years of employment during the construction phase. They are also offering a 10% ownership stake for First Nations affected by the project. Supporters of the project hail the opportunity of employment and development in a flaccid northern economy. Colin Kinsley, former mayor of Prince George is the chair of the Northern Gateway Alliance, an organization sponsored by Enbridge to promote the project. Kinsley has been probably the most vocal supporter of the project in BC’s north. For Kinsley, the project would bring long-term benefits as well as bolster Canadian trade relationships in the world. He is confident that the environment would be protected by “incorporating world-class maritime and pipeline standards, strict regulations and best practices” (Kinsley, 2010)  Figure 8: Northern Gateway Brochure, 2010 (Image Northern Gateway) Kinsley hopes for increasing jobs and economic expansion in the north is not unjustified. Northern towns have been particularly affected by the recent recession. Kitimat, a coastal town built by the Canadian Aluminum Company in the 1950’s, is no exception. At the  18 end of January 2008, Eurocan Pulp and Paper shut down permanently and 500 people lost their employment. If the pipeline is approved Kitimat would be the site of the marine terminal, overseeing oil supertanker travel and the transfer of bitumen from the pipeline to ships and creating 35 permanent jobs (Enbridge Northern Gateway Project, 2010a, Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines, 2011b). With its headquarters in Calgary, Enbridge is a leading North American corporation in the transportation of energy. Founded 60 years ago, it has grown to operate the world’s longest liquids transportation system. Their pipelines, moving oil and natural gas, link Western Canada to the U.S. Midwest and to Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and New York State. In addition to liquids and gas pipelines, Enbridge is involved with sponsored investments in the form of the Enbridge Income Fund and Enbridge Energy Partners, gas distribution and services and green energy. The company employs close to 6,500 people across North America. Northern Gateway would be the biggest project Enbridge has yet undertaken, with an estimated cost of $5.5 billion, also making it one of the biggest industrial projects constructed anywhere in Canada (Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines, 2011b). Many remain skeptical of the project. Despite the promise of jobs and economic growth, people are worried at the risk of a pipeline to their waters, lands and communities. Northern Gateway would increase Tar Sands production by an estimated thirty percent and would create unprecedented tanker travel on BC’s North Coast, passing through rich marine ecosystems (Levy, 2009). A spill in these waters would impact the recently protected Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area Reserve and Haida Heritage site, encompassing Haida Gwaii and the waters around it, as well as the Great  19 Bear Rainforest, a significant portion of the world’s remaining intact temperate rainforest. Furthermore, the pipelines would open up a right-of-way for future developments, a trench cut through Alberta and BC, passing over or under more than 1,000 rivers and streams. There is fear of a pipeline spill on any one of these crossings which would extend impacts upstream4 and downstream. The pipeline would cross the Fraser and the Skeena watersheds, two of the world’s most productive wild salmon watersheds, potentially affecting Canada’s legacy of wild salmon. Revenue generated by Skeena River wild salmon was $110 million in 2006 and the Morice-Bulkley system is a major contributor to this economy. Many disagree with the fundamental nature of the project, arguing that Canadians need to think about a different energy future, one not reliant on the Tar Sands, termed “the dirtiest project on earth” (Brown et al. 2010).  Figure 9: Protestors march prior to JRP meetings in Prince George, Sept. 2010 (Photo BRH)  4  Through Salmon migration upstream to spawn, the effects of an oil spill would quickly travel throughout the watershed.  20 Within Aboriginal and environmental groups there is solidarity with the First Nations that have been adversely impacted by the Tar Sands, the Fort Chipewyan First Nation and the Lubicon Cree (see Nikiforuk 2008, Lemphers 2011, Brown et al. 2010). A Mustel Poll in May 2010 found that 80% of British Columbians oppose tanker travel on the north coast (ForestEthics, 2010). Another poll, carried out by Strategic Communications in April 2011 confirmed this finding, 79% of British Columbians support a tanker ban on the coast (Beers, 2011). Two oil disasters in the last year have magnified the risk of Northern Gateway for residents of BC. The BP Deepwater Horizon rig that blew up April 20, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico reminded the world, and especially northwestern Canada, of the dangers of oil exploration in marine environments. The oil quickly seeped from the site of the rig to surrounding waters and coastline. Environmental and First Nations groups opposed to Enbridge have employed the disaster in their critique, offering pictures of oil soaked swans and viscous, black waves as an example of what could happen to the BC Coast. Despite promises of safety standards and technological savvy, the BP explosion was could not be mitigated and the ensuing clean up, a desperate and inefficient mess. The spill has been deemed the worst oil spill in U.S. history and rendered stretches of the Gulf of Mexico lifeless (Yaffe, 2010, Sherwell, 2010). Enbridge, undaunted by the public outcry around Deepwater Horizon earlier that month, submitted their official application for Northern Gateway to the Joint Review Panel on May 30, 2010. Incidentally, this was also the day after a substantial rally in opposition to the project, a “Feast of Nations”, held in Kitimat and attended by over 700 northern residents, MP’s, MLA’s, First Nations, environmental organizations and David Suzuki amongst others.  21 Remarkably, on July 26, 2010, an Enbridge pipeline leaked 3,785,411 liters of crude oil into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan. At the time of writing, six months later, Enbridge has completed its clean up requirements according the U.S. environmental policy but the rivers’ shores remain caked with oil and drinking water advisories are expected for several years for outlying communities. The spill is being called the largest environmental disaster in U.S. Midwest history. Following the spill, Enbridge CEO Pat Daniels made a public apology and promised that the company would assume the responsibility for clean up and compensation for people affected. So far Michigan residents’ attempts at compensation, for property damage and health issues such as headaches, nausea and problems breathing, have been turned down by Enbridge. Enbridge is now being accused of nuisance and negligence for its failure to maintain its pipeline (Melzer, 2011). The BP and Kalamazoo disasters have served to demonstrate the fragility of oil technologies and the potential hazards of spills. The political climate is heavily influencing the path of Northern Gateway. There have been attempts by the NDP and the federal Liberals to attain a tanker ban on the coast. Such a ban would effectively halt Northern Gateway. Liberal MLA Joyce Murray sought a private member’s bill seeking a formal ban and NDP MLA Nathan Cullen presented a tanker ban petition to the house (Cullen, 2011). These attempts have yet to come to fruition, faced by strong support of the project by the BC liberals and the federal conservative party and Prime Minister Stephen Harper. In his first speech upon reelection in May 2011, Harper said: There were a lot of policies being floated by the other parties -whether it's on West Coast transportation or the energy sector -that simply did not reflect the needs and concerns of this part of the country. Some specific policies seemed to  22 be also targeted to do damage in Western Canada. So, I think it's a great thing that those policies will not be coming to fruition. (Harper, in Paterson 2011) Harper supports the rapid expansion of the Tar Sands; the largest industrial project in Canadian history is indeed at the center of his economic policy. On October 1, 2010, the Union of BC Municipalities voted on two motions against Enbridge: first to urge the federal government to legislate a tanker ban through the Queen Charlotte Sound, Dixon Entrance and the Hecate Strait and second to oppose the transport of tar sands crude oil by pipeline through BC (Writers, 2010). Furthermore, industry is also largely opposed to the project. Enbridge does not yet have acknowledged clients though it collected $100 million in support, from ten unnamed shippers in 2007 and 2008. In January 2011, Sinopec Corporation, China’s second largest energy company, indicated their support of Enbridge, however, the extent of this support remains vague (Tait, 2011). Kinder Morgan, another pipeline company, is Enbridge’s most severe industry critic. Attempting to increase capacity on an already existing line to Vancouver, Kinder Morgan claims that Northern Gateway would create a 41 per cent over-capacity in the Tar Sands (Dobbin, 2011). Northern Gateway Pipelines would cross the traditional territories of at least sixty different First Nations communities, and would potentially impact the lands of many others, the vast majority of whom have not completed a modern land claims agreement. First Nations’ opposition to the pipeline has been strong. Indeed no First Nation has publicly offered support of the project, though Enbridge has emphasized that they are in conversation with different groups. The ‘Coastal First Nations Agreement’, signed in March 2010, enlisted the Coastal First Nations, the Wuikinuxv Nation, the Haisla Nation,  23 Metlakatla First Nation, Old Massett Village, Council of the Haida Nation, the Heiltsuk Nation, the Kitasoo Band Council, the Gitga’at First Nation and the Skidegate Band Council, in opposition. The Agreement reads: “Therefore, in upholding our ancestral laws, rights and responsibilities, we declare that oil tankers carrying crude oil from the Alberta Tar Sands will not be allowed to transit our lands and waters” (Coastal First Nations Declaration, 2010). Immediately following the declaration and on the anniversary of Exxon Valdez disaster, a full-page ad appeared in the Globe and Mail underlying opposition to the project by additional First Nations, prominent Canadians, businesses and organizations. The ‘Save the Fraser Declaration’, signed in December 2010, an initiative by 55 First Nations of the Fraser watershed, and supporting First Nations, declares “Therefore, in upholding our ancestral laws, Title, Rights and responsibilities, we declare: We will not allow the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines, or similar Tar Sands projects, to cross our lands, territories and watersheds, or the ocean migration routes of Fraser River Salmon” (Berliant, 2010, Save the Fraser Declaration, 2011). On May 10, 2011, the Yinka Dene Alliance, leaders of the Alexander First Nation from Alberta, the Blood Tribe, the Lubicon Cree Nation and the Roseau River Anishinabe Nation, signed the ‘Calgary Statement of Solidarity’. These Nations declared: Therefore we stand in solidarity with the Coastal First Nations, and the Nations who have signed the Save the Fraser Declaration, and are united in stating that the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline and tanker project, as well as other fossil fuel development projects including Keystone XL, must not proceed without obtaining the free, prior and informed consent of all affected First Nations. And Further if such consent is not obtained, no construction of such projects shall proceed. (in Paterson, 2011)  24  Figure 10: In solidarity with salmon at a rally in Prince George, Sept. 2010 (Photo BRH) Aboriginal opposition to the project, and the exertion of their ancestral laws, rights and responsibilities over the lands and waters of their territories is important. First Nations are exerting their continued jurisdiction and authority over their traditional territories. A decision to allow the project, contrary to these declarations and to the strong opposition voiced by First Nations groups in the environmental assessment process, would infringe upon constitutionally protected Aboriginal rights and title as well as international law standards regarding Aboriginal rights. The strength of this opposition increases the possibility of future litigation by First Nations groups, if the project is indeed passed. Many groups, including the Office of the Wet’suwet’en are planning their engagement in the process based on this probability. Litigation would delay the project indefinitely and potentially circumvent the Joint Review Panel Process altogether (Clogg and Paterson, 2010).  25 Northern Gateway is situated within a complex landscape of global oil geopolitics, national politics, economic policy, Aboriginal rights and environmental politics. The Crown has decided that these issues are to be decided within a Joint Review Panel.  Environmental Assessment: a Federal Joint Review Panel In December of 2009 the National Energy Board (NEB) and the Canadian Environmental Assessment (CEA) Agency issued the Joint Review Panel agreement for the review of the project. Since the pipelines would span across two provinces, it fell under federal jurisdiction for assessment (Enbridge Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel 2011b). The Joint Review Panel for Northern Gateway marks a new era of federal environmental assessment. Influenced by Prime Minister Harper’s attempts at streamlining the current system, it is characterized by efforts to reduce timelines and merge provincial and federal review processes (Mittelstaedt, 2010). The panel is responsible for crafting the recommendation that will be passed along to the two legal decision-makers on Northern Gateway, the Minister of the Environment and parliament- both of which rely heavily on the recommendations made by the panel. The panel is charged with reviewing the Impact Assessment, a weighty collection of volumes produced by Enbridge that describe the project, outline potential problems and lay out mitigation strategies. All information on the project is expected to be tabulated and included in this massive document, making up eight volumes and thousands of pages. This document, as mentioned above, was submitted to the JRP at the end of May 2010. The panel has since held preliminary public meetings at the end of  26 summer 2010. Following the meetings, the panel determined that Enbridge must compile additional information regarding the risk assessment of the project. This information has been submitted and the hearings have been announced, beginning in January 2012 and extending into the summer. The hearings, to be held in fifteen locations, will provide a space in which individuals and groups impacted are encouraged to express their concerns, questions or support of the project. This is also possible in the form of written submissions. All of this information is publicly available on the CEA Agency website. At the end of the hearing process, the panel will review all the information put before them to come to their final decision (Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines, 2011a, Enbridge Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel, 2011b). The expected timeframe for the review process was two years, very quick considering the immensity of issues. Enbridge was assigned its Review Panel terms of reference in August 2009 and the JRP was appointed in December 2009 and the JRP Agreement declared (Enbridge Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel, 2011).  27  Figure 11: The joint review panel superimposed on the outflow of Wedzin Kwa from Wedzin Ben (Photos: NEB, BRH) The Joint Review Panel is made up of three members: Sheila Legget, Kenneth Bateman and Hans Matthews. Selected by the NEB, Sheila Legget is the panel chair as well as the Vice-Chair of the National Energy Board. She lives in Calgary and with a science background, has been a board member of the Natural Resources Conservation Board of Alberta as well as a senior environmental consultant for the NEB. Kenneth Bateman, also selected by the NEB, is an energy lawyer and has been involved in other pipeline hearings. He is the chair of the NEB Regulatory Policy Committee and lives in Calgary. Hans Matthews was chosen by the Minister of the Environment and is a geologist from Ontario; he has experience in mining, minerals and resource management. As a member of the Wahnapitae First Nation, he has been president of the Canadian Aboriginal Mineral Association, an NGO encouraging cooperation between mining and First Nations for more than 18 years (Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel, 2011a).  28 The panel operates under a dual mandate by the NEB and the CEA Agency; however, it weighs heavily on the side of the NEB. Created by the National Energy Act, NEB has adjudicatory powers, acting much like a court. The NEB has federal jurisdiction to regulate all energy matters, including the construction and operation of pipelines. They are charged with the review and subsequent construction of energy projects. The National Energy Board mandate is to: Promote safety and security, environmental protection and efficient energy infrastructure and markets in the Canadian public interest within the mandate set by Parliament in the regulation of pipelines, energy development and trade. (National Energy Board, 2011). Other federal authorities, like the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Transport Canada and Natural Resources Canada play a role in the review as well, as governmental advisors who present at the JRP hearings. The panel is a quasi-judicial body and will function much like a court. It must remain inside its jurisdiction, not seeping into the area, for example, of Aboriginal rights and title. The JRP is not responsible for explicit consultation with First Nations groups; it must consider First Nations interests alongside other interests. The CEA Agency is responsible for the Crown’s duty to consult- though significant parts of this duty have been delegated to Enbridge and the panel. The CEA Agency Crown Consultation Coordinator, Brett Maracle has a responsibility to ensure that First Nations groups are consulted appropriately in the process. He coordinates with different government departments, for example, DFO as necessary depending on what issues arise. He is ultimately the authority responsible for monitoring the involvement of First Nations’, including the Office of the Wet’suwet’en in the JRP. Wet’suwet’en participation in the process for Northern Gateway is thus tightly regulated, constrained by  29 the politics of environmental assessment in Canada in addition to the colonial system of INAC and institutions shaped by colonial relationships.  The Post Colonial Present They [First Nations peoples] pay the price for modernity, yet receive few of its benefits (Brody, 1982:72). We have experienced many injustices. We live with and suffer from these every day. Our very presence on the territory has been damaged and disrupted. We live with the pains of residential schools, of being torn from our lands and our communities. We have witnessed constant attempts by the Crown to impose the Indian Act and the repressive policies of the federal government on us. Our veterans have fought for and defended this country and yet they have been denied many of their rights as Wet’suwet’en because of this fact. Our youth face an uncertain and uninviting future. Our communities have suffered terribly. We do not accept responsibility for the creation of these circumstances. They result from the policies and actions of the Crown. We are taking responsibility for undoing the harm which has been caused. Only we can do so. We will place a new memory in the minds and hearts of our children. (The Wet’suwet’en View of a Treaty of Co-existence between the Wet’suwet’en and the Crown, 1997) We must examine environmental assessment as part of a greater legacy of racial and colonial relations in British Columbia and in Canada as a whole. British Columbia may have ceased being a colony of Britain in 1871, but colonial relations with its Aboriginal populations have continued into the present. First Nations have been forced off of their traditional territories and onto reserves, governed not by their former system of clans and chiefs, but by the state imposed Indian and Northern Affairs (INAC). Their language has been taken from them, cultural practices have been made criminal and their children sent to residential schools. They have been the target of racism and physical, sexual and emotional abuse. Though recent years have seen successes in some land claims and rights negotiation, non-Natives and the government are still reluctant to  30 address longstanding inequalities resulting from these violent histories (Braun, 2002, 1997, Harris, 2002, Brody, 1981, Razack, 2002). The following will consider the continuities and discontinuities in colonialist attitudes and projects into the present. Post-colonialism is a diffuse intellectual movement which began in literary and cultural studies and considers “the diverse, uneven and contested impact of colonialism on the cultures of colonizing and colonized peoples, in terms of the ways in which relations, practices and representations are reproduced or transformed between past and present, as well as between the ‘heart’ and the ‘margins’ of empire and its aftermath” (Yeoh, 2009:561). Post-colonialism should not be used to define a specific historical moment after colonialism, rather it entails the multiple ways in which the second half of the twentieth century has been shaped by “a modernity that is scored by the claws of colonialism, left full of contradictions, of half-finished processes, of confusions, of hybridity, and liminalities” (Lee and Lam, 1998:968, in Yeoh 2009). Important to this analysis is a post-colonialism that is engaged with a critical analysis of the effects of colonialism and its production of knowledge in efforts to destabilize dominant discourses in the West. Part of this destabilization is rooted in undoing binaries of natural-cultural, East-West, traditional-modern and structural-ornamental (Yeoh, 2009). I follow from Bruce Braun to understand post-colonialism, not in terms of a colonialism relegated to the past, but in terms of “the continuity of colonial and neocolonial relations, tracing the way that streams of the past still infuse the present” (Braun, 1997:3). It is important to emphasize the differences and similarities between and within so-called post-colonial societies, appreciating the unevenness of how people experience the legacies of colonialism. Bruce Braun (1997, 2002) explores how the  31 continuities and discontinuities of colonialism organize the present in terms of the ‘politics of nature’ in British Columbia. This entails a reconsideration of our understandings of space and time; space and time cannot be seen to be singular and linear but fragmented with fluxes and ellipses. Colonial discourse can be understood as the production and maintenance of knowledge that underlies and legitimizes control over colonial subjects. This production of knowledge and its deployment happens differentially through time and space and must therefore confer an elastic notion of postcolonial space and time (Braun, 1997). Cole Harris, in Making Native Space: Colonialism, Resistance, and Reserves in British Columbia (2002), argues that the fundamental division between settler society and First Nations is rooted in the land. He recounts the troubled dynamics between provincial officials, the Dominion, the British Empire and Aboriginal communities in the quest to find native space within the narrow confines of a colonial world. Settler possession of Aboriginal lands was often justified based on a dichotomy between savagery and civilization. We can see this evidenced in the story of Gilbert Sproat, an English businessman, who, in 1860 set off to establish a sawmill on the Alberni Canal on land purchased from the Crown. In his intended location was the summer camp of the Nuuchah-nulth. Sproat purchased the land a second time from the community on the condition they leave the following day. They remained and Sproat brought out his ships and canons. Consequently, the Nuu-chah-nulth then left. Sproat and his men discussed the propriety of their act of dispossession deciding that their actions had, in fact, been righteous because the Nuu-chah-nulth use of the land was not ‘civilized’ and they had left it to ‘waste’. They, the Europeans, would bring the land up; Aboriginal savagery and  32 their own civilization was taken for granted. This story is reflective of “one human geography […] being superseded by another, both on the ground and in the imagination” (Harris 2002: xvii). The English tended to rationalize their occupation based on tangible, material practices on the ground, on the extent that the ground was conquered and transformed, on planting crops and working the land, on building permanent housing and in bounding space by fences and gates. In other words, there needed to be a visible transformation of the landscape to signify possession. The transformation of the land through labor was equated with civilization, a civilization which Aboriginal populations never had any chance of attaining: The idea of civilization came to be equated with technology and material wealth rather than with, for example, the refinement of manners, Victorians invented a standard that could be measured and that Native societies could not attain. They could be mannered, but they could not match the technological sophistication or abundance of European material wealth. If such were the measures of civilization, then Native societies must be savage. (Harris, 52) Aboriginal populations were deemed savage and their lands wasted and these territories were quickly taken over by recent immigrants. By the end of British involvement in British Columbia was “a pair of settler colonies bent on development, disinclined to recognize any Native rights, and more than prepared to dismiss the Native land question all together” (Harris, 44). European immigrants imagined British Columbia as a ripe, plentiful land, open and free for their taking. The land was empty or, if it was not, the native people living on it were a dying race that would soon be amalgamated into civilized society. While Aboriginal lands were being grabbed up for ‘development’ by settler populations, the confinement of Aboriginal peoples came to be seen as a necessity  33 and the division between reserve and non-reserve land became the “primal line on the land of British Columbia, the one that facilitated or constrained all others” (Harris, xviii). Importantly, for Harris, the reserve system in British Columbia was not simply the product of British Imperial policy or social theories of the time; instead it arose out of settler society itself. In 1871, British Columbia joined the confederation of Canada and the responsibility for native issues shifted from London to Ottawa, to become entangled in a web of tensions between the province and the dominion. The legacy of this divide continues till this day, policy and responsibility are replicated and fought over by these two powers. The dominion advocated for a more generous policy towards Aboriginal groups while the province resented the implication of a new and distant power in their affairs. In the end the province won and obtained veto power over reserve land and title; there were to be small allocations of reserve land and no Native title. The 1870’s was the pivotal decade of land policy development in the province. First Nations were shut out of the process that was to determine their lives and livelihoods. The Department of Indian Affairs in Ottawa largely did not challenge the provincial mandate and over time its fiduciary responsibility for Aboriginal groups was melded into the jurisdiction of the province. By the early twentieth century, First Nation protest over the land question had developed into an argument about title5, an argument which reached its apex in 1997 with  5  In 1910, the Chiefs of Shuswap, Okanagan and Thompson Tribes presented Prime Minister Sir Wilfred Laurier with a statement condemning land policies in BC and requesting treaties with Canada. The following year these interior tribes grew to include the Secwepemc, Nlaka’pamux, St’at’imc, Tsilhqot’in, Dakelh Tahltan, and the coastal Sto:lo, and asserted ownership of their territories t the Minister of the Interior, Frank Oliver. Also that year, over sixty delegates of BC tribes met with Premier McBride to protest land policies and demand their rights in Canadian courts. In 1922 the Stl’Atl’Imx  34 Delgamuukw v. the Queen. First Nations argued that the entire system of land allocation was flawed because it did not take into consideration existing native title (Harris, 2002). For Harris, the dichotomy between the politics of assimilation and the politics of difference underlie Aboriginal-settler relations in B.C. and the last 140 years are proof that the politics of assimilation have not worked. Our current task, the task of First Nations and non-First Nations alike, is to devise a politics of difference that redraws the land boundaries to create a space in which First Nations are able to earn a living in the lands of their ancestors. Land, for healing First Nations communities, is where hope lies for the future. Harris advocates a new land policy in British Columbia, one that includes an element of self-government, Aboriginal rights and title and allows First Nations peoples the possibility of sustaining their families and futures. Hugh Brody attends to these themes in Maps and Dreams (1982), his account about the experience of the Beaver First Nation in light of the proposed Alaska Highway Natural Gas Pipeline. Brody writes about the colliding dreams that First Nations and white people have of Northeast British Columbia: “Northeast British Columbia is a route and a resource: a place for white men to dream about. The effects of the realization of such dreams upon the peoples for whom this corridor has for thousands of years been an economic and social heartland have long gone unconsidered” (Brody 1982:30). Brody argues that white men are able to justify these dreams and their consequent projects of development because they have deemed northern hunters to have no viable economy of their own. This has been the reasoning behind the continual expansion of frontiers to the north and the west. The fur trade, railway and resource development have historically (Lilloet) Tribe petitioned the Dominion government to address Aboriginal title (for further important dates in the BC land question see Union of BC Indian Chiefs, 2011).  35 spurred the expansion of white frontiers, bolstered by sports hunting and large scale energy projects in the time of Brody’s writing (Brody, 1982). Certain stereotypes of First Nations peoples further allowed the development of the north. White observers see only certain aspects of Aboriginal life: poverty, an indifference to material goods, a lack of religion and morality, nomadic lifestyles and alcoholism. Brody argues that: “these images and stereotypes consign the Indian interest to the past; and give the future to white dreamers. The implication is that without the dreamers’ plans and projects, the Indian will remain in a state of modern savagery […]” (61). Brody succeeds in moving beyond these stereotypes and proving that the hunter peoples of Northeast British Columbia do indeed have a viable traditional economy and way of life. Though the seasonal round has been adapted, with people generally working from a permanent basecamp, the animals harvested and the harvest seasons have remained the same. Brody concludes that there is an enduring strength in the Aboriginal economy throughout the region. He wonders, though, at the future of this economy, whether it can withstand white dreamers. Sherene Razack writes about the power of white dreamers and of national mythologies in Race Space and the Law: Unmapping a White Settler Society (2002). Razack’s book is a critique of Canada as a white settler society, a society established by Europeans on non-European soil, its establishment dependant on the dispossession of Indigenous populations. In the present, Canada continues to be organized by racial hierarchies and national mythologies that assume that white people are responsible for developing the land and that prior to them the territory was ‘empty’. These mythologies imagine Indigenous people today as either dead or assimilated. National mythologies are  36 important in defining the contemporary citizenry of a country, in deciding who belongs to the nation and who resides outside of it. Racialized populations are rarely included in these national mythologies; rather, they blend into the natural environment and become transparent. Razack attacks the idea that space was ‘empty’ prior to the European arrival; Aboriginal people did, and do, use the land. Razack examines the spaces in which “place becomes race” in Canada, in “drinking establishments, parks, slums, classrooms, urban spaces of prostitution, provincial parliaments, the location of mosques, and national borders” (Razack, 2002:1). She deconstructs the ways in which these spaces produce and maintain unequal social relations and how unequal social relations, in turn, shape these spaces. Especially relevant is the role of the law and legal practices in maintaining unequal social relations, and how the law upholds systems of inequality. The law plays a foundational role in defining racial difference. Razack invokes David Goldberg to argue that, “racisms become institutionally normalized in and through spatial configuration, just as social space is made to seem natural, a given, by being conceived and defined in racial terms” (17). Razack attacks the so-called racelessness of the law and the innocence of white subjects in the face of upholding racial inequalities. Her goal is to ‘unmap’ these national mythologies that exclude racialized populations, to contest white people’s claim to the land and to make Aboriginal people visible. Unmapping involves denaturalizing geography by analyzing how space comes to be. It involves looking at the spatiality of the racial order. Furthermore, unmapping entails tracing the journeys that bring subjects into an encounter. These journeys may be historical, spatial and geographical. For Razack, certain subjects belong to risky spaces and experience everyday practices of  37 violence. These practices establish who is a colonizer and who is not. We must recognize that everyone is a part of this web of interaction which privileges certain subjects and spaces and marginalizes others. We should not get used to these spaces of violence, but what prevents us from looking these issues in the eye? Why do we not let these stories of violence, impoverishment affect us? It would appear that we assume that colonialism is finished. This goal of unmapping national mythologies is important to my own project. I seek to unmap the spaces of the environmental assessment process for Northern Gateway, to examine how actors come to be and how some voices are privileged over others. In doing so, I hope to imagine an alternative narrative. To articulate this narrative, I am influenced by an understanding of the world based on interconnection and holism. The Wet’suwet’en people with whom I have worked have an understanding of their territories, based on a philosophy of mutual influence and dependence. The health and well-being of the land is reflected in the health and well-being of the people and viceversa. Such an understanding of the world moves away from scientific certainty and compartmentalization indeed little can be known absolutely, beyond the need for reciprocal relationships with the land, animals and other human beings. This is the powerful lesson that I learned during my fieldwork in Northwest British Columbia, one that I have struggled to maintain as the guiding principal in this thesis. I have tried to be true to this philosophy, with an awareness that I have learned it as an outsider. All the while, I am influenced by academic writing, which articulates these relationships of interaction and symbiosis in very different ways. I am moved, by post-humanist theory and political ontology to value the power and presence of the non-human world in  38 making a difference in the political realm, of the multiplicity of worlds or ontologies and the often messy assemblages of things which come together in sometimes surprising ways to exert political power. Political ecology helps me to address how particular social relations constitute resource use and the ways in which these relations shape and are shaped by the physical environment. This work demonstrates how exclusionary discourses and practices work in and through the environment. With these influences, alongside post-colonialism I hope to create a framework sensitive to the relationships between environmental change and political, economic and social systems, constituted in and through colonial inequalities.  Scope of Analysis The OW’s opposition to Northern Gateway is thus situated within a complex entanglement of the post-colonial present, international geopolitics of oil, national politics of resource extraction and environmental assessment processes. I argue that the JRP for Northern Gateway does not acknowledge Aboriginal authority over their traditional territories or recognize Aboriginal rights frameworks that have developed in Canada as well as internationally. Part of this dismissal of rights is the exclusion of Aboriginal ontologies and epistemologies within the process. Aboriginal ways of understanding and explaining the world, based on respect and the inherent connection of all things, are left out of decision-making on Northern Gateway, an exclusion that serves to reify a history of unequal relations in the country. Within this restrictive system, First Nations are finding power through collectives based on the strength of their traditional  39 governance systems and the resiliency of balanced and integrated relationships with the places with which they have lived for generations. This thesis is organized as follows. Chapter two will elaborate on my methods and methodology, describing the process of conducting ethnographic research with the Office of the Wet’suwet’en, and how this led to the theoretical and epistemological framework that grounds this analysis. Chapter three provides a review of the literature on environmental assessments in the Canadian context and outlines its development over the last forty years. I argue that the literature, like the environmental assessment processes themselves, needs to acknowledge the post-colonial context in which it is situated. Chapter four traces the development of Aboriginal rights in Canada, looking to cases of precedent that are slowly establishing a shaky standard for the meaningful participation and decision-making of Aboriginal groups regarding resource development on their traditional territories. I also look at international Indigenous rights and particularly the UN Declaration. I then move to the Joint Review Panel for Northern Gateway and its treatment of Aboriginal rights. I focus on consultation and accommodation of Aboriginal groups within the process and the ways in which these do not meet the national or international requirements of Aboriginal rights. Chapter five elaborates on the dismissal of rights, with a focus on the exclusion of Aboriginal ontologies and epistemologies within the process. I argue that these are left out due to narrow guidelines that are defined by the Crown and the proponent, and not by First Nations groups themselves, relying on a specific ethnographic moment, the preliminary JRP meetings in Kitimat BC. Chapter six is a reflection and analysis of the film made in collaboration with the Office of the Wet’suwet’en, Your Voice, Our Future: Working Together for the Benefit of All. I  40 describe the film in the context of traditional governance and its role in the OW’s opposition to Northern Gateway. In the conclusion, I consider a historical story of the displacement of the Wet’suwet’en, due to the plans of government experts and its continued relevance today. I consider the strength of First Nations opponents to Northern Gateway and the consequences of a disavowal of Aboriginal rights. This is a defining moment in the trajectory of Aboriginal relations and resource development in Northwest British Columbia.  Figure 12: A grizzly bear fishing for salmon in Hanna Creek (Photo Paul Colangelo)  41  Chapter 2: Methods and Methodology In the preface to Antonia Mills’ Eagle Down is Our Law: Witsuwit’en Law, Feasts, and Land Claims (1994), Michael Jackson, the lawyer for the Wet’suwet’en and Gitsxan defendants in the Delgamuukw court case, addresses the differences between the ‘academic perspective’ and the ‘Aboriginal perspective’ of research. The difference is fundamental. The academic perspective starts with the assumption that you have already graduated from a place of learning, usually with high honours, and are trained to observe and document what you are about to see and hear. You begin your task already an expert with the analytic and conceptual tools of your profession. The Aboriginal perspective sees you as a person who is at the very beginning of your understanding. You are as but a child who, like a child, must be shown the ways and instructed by those who have knowledge based upon the accumulated teachings of many generations. As you demonstrate the ability to understand and respect you are entrusted with yet more knowledge. Layer by layer you become a person of knowledge and power. (Jackson, in Mills, 1994: xix) This study is an attempt at an Aboriginal perspective of research. This chapter describes the primary research methods used in my research, which led to the ontological and epistemological framework of my analysis. My work is based on qualitative research methods, ethnographic fieldwork and key-informant interviews, as well as archival research conducted in northwestern B.C., between June and December 2010. Considering the scope of Northern Gateway Pipelines Project and its Joint Review Panel, I restricted my fieldwork primarily to ethnographic research with the Office of the Wet’suwet’en, a First Nations’ organization in Smithers publicly opposing the pipeline. This research is consequently revealing of one perspective in a complex web of relationships.  42 Participant Observation Over the five months that I worked with the OW, I was able to participate in its opposition to the Enbridge Pipelines Project, as well as the general life of the office. Our collaboration was based on a relationship of mutual benefit and in exchange for the valuable experience of conducting research with the OW, I prepared communication materials around Northern Gateway for distribution to the Wet’suwet’en membership. These included a brochure and film to educate the Wet’suwet’en community about the pipeline and its impacts on traditional territories, as well as to reinforce the importance of traditional governance in the OW’s opposition to the project. The production of these materials helped further my understanding of the OW’s strategy in opposing Enbridge and their strength as a community. The film, “Your Voice, Our Future: Working Together for the Betterment of All”, will be expanded upon in Chapter Five, and includes interviews with 22 members of the community, representing, Chiefs, elders, youth, fishers, men and women. All passionately shared with me the meaning of being Wet’suwet’en and the importance of safeguarding their lands and culture. The content of these interviews is also taken up in other chapters of this thesis. Other tasks for the OW included note-taking at meetings, helping to organize small events, presenting my work at Chief’s meetings and acting as an unofficial go-between with local environmental groups.  43  Figure 13: The OW team with author in background, Prince George, Sept. 2010 (Photo BRH) In addition to the interviews conducted for the film, I held semi-structured interviews, usually lasting one hour, with 15 other people in different ways involved with the Northern Gateway Project. These were primarily people from the Wet’suwet’en community, Chiefs and those working for the OW’s Natural Resources Department. I also interviewed members of local environmental NGO’s, people from the Smithers community, and representatives from other First Nations groups, the CEA Agency, DFO, and Enbridge. I kept a record of informal interviews, impressions, and events in my fieldnotes, observing not only the OW’s participation in the campaign against Northern Gateway but key moments in the process. The first of these was a ‘Feast of Nations’, held in Kitimat, BC. Over 500 people gathered in solidarity against the project. The day was spent with presentations from scientists, activists and First Nations communities, demonstrating the  44 strength of the Northwest and resiliency in the face of unwanted industrial development projects. I later attended a Joint Review Panel workshop, held in Smithers, organized by one of the environmental groups at the forefront of the campaign. There, different First Nations groups gathered to strategize and gain guidance on their engagement in the process. Here I met representatives from the Office of the Wet’suwet’en and arranged to contact them further, the beginnings of our collaborative relationship. I attended several meetings with Friends of the Morice-Bulkley, a grassroots group in Smithers organizing against Enbridge. In August and September, I attended the Joint Review Panel preliminary sessions in Kitimat and Prince George, as well as the rallies happening outside of these events. In September, I also participated in an Enbridge run, Community Advisory Board (CAB) meeting in Terrace. Interviewing and spending time in the multiple spaces in which the process around Northern Gateway is unfolding, allowed me to understand issues from various perspectives, while remaining grounded in the experience of the Office of the Wet’suwet’en.  Yintakh The central philosophy of Yintakh, which describes the interconnectedness of people and ecosystems, was the foundation of my day-to-day research of living in the North. Slowly, I began to know the ‘homeland’ that Berger describes in his Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry. Some of these activities included regularly checking a Gitxan elder’s net on the Skeena River, preparing and eating salmon, watching, listening and paddling down northern rivers, attending the Tahltan’s Sacred Headwaters Festival, following old trails through the bush, picking berries, eating moose, and tracking wildlife.  45 Particularly, spending time on northern rivers, allowed me to understand the fundamental message of the Office of the Wet’suwet’en in their campaign against Enbridge; the pipeline threatens the river and by threatening the river it threatens entire ecosystems, people and a culture. All of life is entwined with the river at the center. Rivers are powerful but vulnerable. In October, after several weeks of rainfall, I paddled down the uppermost stretch of the Morice River, over the place the pipeline would pass. This excerpt from my fieldnotes describes my impressions: We paddled from Morice Lake down to kilometer 50, a slightly harrowing experience for Rachelle and I. For the first time I had a true sense of the power of this river, it’s relentlessness and remoteness. Wedzin Kwa begins at the northern tip of Wedzin Ben a vast lake of turquoise water, lined by rocky shoals and driftwood. I am told that it is a haven of grizzly bears and we scoured the shores for bears but saw none, thankfully perhaps. The outflow is the location of Chinook spawning beds, in the months previous you would be able to make out the sandy dunes from a helicopter above. I have seen pictures of these dunes, through the clear water on a sunny day but in mid-October the grey wetness and water levels masked any evidence of their presence only a few weeks before. The current was strong from the start and incessant. We felt ourselves being pushed along, more quickly and forcibly than we would have wished. Soon I lost any intention of filming the river at all- the original goal for the day, staying afloat would be work enough, perched precariously in our red canoe in the turbulent water. The river widened and sped up abruptly and before too long we came to a big set of rapids. I left Rachelle clutching on to the trees on the river right and walked the steep embankment downstream to assess our possibilities. We managed to make our way down the right shore and drag the boat over rocks in a shallow passage, avoiding the big waves. The day continued on in this manner. With a substantial knot in my stomach, I remained on my knees, poised and looking wearily ahead, trying to figure out the best way down, sticking to the main channels and avoiding the increasingly common logjams cutting across the current. A swim in these frigid waters is a dreary and even very dangerous prospect. Cleaning up an oil spill would be unimaginable. The current is too strong. There are too many channels, logjams, the oil would travel so far, so fast. I had a map clipped to my lifejacket, in a drybag and we agreed on a plan to swim to river right if we flipped the canoe. River left would leave us miles from any road. We passed directly over the place where Enbridge is planning to tunnel one hundered meters below the river to pass their pipeline. This place, this water, though at once powerful is also vulnerable. Trenches dug with machines, trees cut down, a pipe laid. Silt easily would flow into this clear water, what would become of the salmon?  46  ‘Yintakh’, a primary Wet’suwet’en philosophy tells us that the land, people and animals form an interconnected whole- all are related and mutually influenced. As David deWit of the OW natural resources department emphasized to me, “the health and wellbeing of the territory reflects the health and well-being of a people” (Personal Communication 29/10/2010). Paddling down the river that day I began to understand the meaning of Yintakh. The spawning beds we drifted over are where the cycle of wild salmon begins and ends. Every year Chinook, Coho, Pink, Sockeye salmon and Steelhead swim over 500 hundred kilometers upstream to this place where their ancestors have always gone before them. The fish born in these waters form the basis for the ecosystem around them, for the watershed and the people and animals that thrive within it. The Wet’suwet’en are a people of fish, they are also a people of place. Moricetown is where it is, because of salmon. The salmon that travel through Moricetown spawn in the Morice River. Entire villages, an entire culture of people, are at stake with a pipeline; tradition, territories, the potlatch, are all dependent on the fish. If the fish are disturbed, the people are disturbed. If the fish are irreversibly harmed by an oil spill, what is to become of the people? For some, fighting Northern Gateway is foremost a water issue, a fish issue. I was told by someone active in opposition, “It’s a fish and water story”. Fundamentally this is true, but being a fish issue or a water issue, it is also an ecosystem, a community, and a regional issue. Watersheds are linked. Wet’suwet’en territory encompasses the Skeena Watershed as well as the Fraser Watershed. What happens in the territory consequently has effects upstream and downstream. This place is connected to other places. A pipeline extending from the Tar Sands to the BC coast quickly becomes a  47 provincial issue and a national issue. This sense of interconnection and relation is vital to my work. We must consider the particular people and places impacted by this project in terms of a greater whole. Furthermore, we must understand the story of the Wet’suwet’en and their attempts to make a decision on Northern Gateway in terms of the bigger story of Aboriginal people in BC. Research for this thesis became personal, as well as political. My analysis is influenced by Sundberg’s definition of critical geography, as “self-consciously wedding political goals with academic interventions, stressing the connections between power and knowledge, and advocating self-reflexivity” (2005: 18). My goal is to evaluate the acceptance and meaningful integration of Aboriginal rights, interests and ways of knowing in the environmental assessment process for Northern Gateway. My account is grounded by the connections between power and knowledge in the colonial present in Canada today. Before exploring further methodological and epistemological considerations, my own positionality and experience, as a white woman researcher from a southern university deserves some reflection.  Positionality and Personal Politics of Research The role of research in the imperial project has been widely written about (Mitchell, 2002, Goldman, 2001, Said, 1978, Stoler, 1995). Linda Tuhiwai Smith (1999) argues that research on Indigenous people by white western researchers has not served the interests of the researched but has been a powerful tool of empire. Smith looks to anthropology especially in the ways in which ethnographic research has helped to construct the colonized ‘other’. I was keenly aware of these dynamics throughout my  48 collaboration with the OW. At times I carried a sense of guilt, that I was a burden, a privileged onlooker from the south. My lands would not be threatened by an oil spill; I was removed from the gravity, from the fear shared by the Wet’suwet’en. Emerson et al, in Writing Ethnographic Fieldnotes (1995) write extensively on the loneliness of the researcher, how they are both apart and within the group they are studying and the difficulty of this position. The researcher must accept and even reinforce this position: “While the primary goal of ethnography is immersion in the life-worlds and everyday experiences of a group of people, the ethnographer inevitably remains in significant ways an outsider to the worlds of those studied” (Emerson et al., 1995:35). Fundamentally, the role of the researcher, understanding and describing the lives of others, differentiates the ethnographer from the world she is studying; “the ethnographer remains a stranger as long as, and to the extent that, she retains commitment to the exogenous project of studying or understanding the lives of others- as opposed to the indigenous project of simply living a life in one way or another” (Emerson et al. 1995:36). A rather ambivalent positionality arises from this situation, one I felt in my research with the OW, fluttering on the margins and being a part of the Natural Resources Department. The OW had experience with graduate students in the past, which had proved not to be fruitful for them. They knew of the time and resources that my presence would entail at the Office and wanted to ensure, as did I, that it would be mutually beneficial. Consciously and unconsciously, I did my best to be a part of the team. It was difficult not to. Having lunch, smoke breaks, chatting, looking at pictures made me a part of community. At the same time I was aware that I was outside. I was a young, white woman from the south. I did my best to listen. I took many notes and approached research with an open mind. The  49 film project further engaged me in the office and defined my role there as working for them in a sense. In the early stages of my research with the OW we established a research protocol. This helped to define my duties and added greater purpose to our relationship. The protocol agreement signed between the office and myself outlines the guidelines for research conducted on the Wet’suwet’en traditional territory. There are two main goals: “Any research must be of potential use to the Office of the Wet’suwet’en, as determined by the Office of the Wet’suwet’en; and the research must be conducted according to high professional standards of quality and ethics”. Furthermore, “the Office of the Wet’suwet’en welcomes projects leading to the sharing of accurate and respectful descriptions of its heritage and culture, especially when native perspective and interpretations are included in the presentation. The Office of the Wet’suwet’en will terminate this agreement should Project Researchers divulge information leading to the expropriation and exploitation of indigenous knowledge by outside individuals and institutions.” The hereditary chiefs approved my research plan and the analysis has been the product of consultation with the office. The final document has been approved by the Office of the Wet’suwet’en. In the second month of working with the office I had the opportunity to attend a monthly meeting of the hereditary chiefs. I recorded the event in my fieldnotes: Today I introduced myself and my project to the hereditary chiefs. The day was very moving. Around the table sat Chiefs and clan representatives who spoke about the land and the feast system and the loss of traditions and the frustrations of the youth. They alternated between English and Wet’suwet’en, speaking into a microphone so that some of the older chiefs could hear clearly. I was put in a trance by the slow pace and thoughtfulness of the speakers. Towards the end of the meeting I stood up and thanked everyone for the opportunity to be there and do work with the OW. I said my introductory and concluding words in Wet’suwet’en. I was almost brought to tears. I felt honored standing at the table with the chiefs. At the end I was applauded and members of the Natural  50 Resources Department said kind words about my involvement with the department. I was humbled and grateful. This was a pivotal moment of acceptance of my work and its value to the office and the chiefs. I felt as though indeed my research had been of use to the office. Later, writing this account, I encountered different issues of positionality: how to write a thesis that would be true to the Wet’suwet’en ways of knowing, as well as being a product of systematic social research? I have been pulled back and forth between the Indigenous discourses articulated by the Wet’suwet’en and those within academia. Latour (1999) discusses the problems of interpreting research. Latour argues against using overriding social theory to explain the words and actions of humans and nonhumans. It is unproductive to create a whole that is more complex than its individual parts or a social explanation for the functioning of things and people that is outside and apart from the very intricate interrelations that make up the world. Actors should not be fit into predetermined groups; language used should be banal and general so as to avoid confusing and transforming actors’ idioms. In regards to actors, he writes: “We won’t try to discipline you, to make you fit into our categories; we will let you deploy your own worlds, and only later will we ask you to explain how you came about settling them” (Latour, 1999:23). Emerson et al. (1995) encourage researchers not to attribute their own meanings to peoples’ words and actions but to seek out local meanings and attitudes. I have attempted to be sensitive to Wet’suwet’en ontologies and I have endeavored to make this thesis fit within and be a product of them. To the best of my ability, I have tried to allow those people who participated in my research to define themselves and their own words to shape my account. I rely extensively on direct quotations from interviews with Wet’suwet’en participants. I use the metaphor of the river to guide the analysis,  51 attempting to convey the idea of ‘Yintakh’, of interconnection and holism, to get at the different geographies and associations of actors that are guiding the path of the project. Richard Daly (1988), one of the anthropologist’s who served as an expert witness for the Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en in the Delgamuukw courtcase, writes about objectivity in relation to participant observation and ethnographic research. Anthropologists, like natural and social scientists come with their own set of values and experiences, a unique cultural habitus that cannot be erased. Acknowledging this cultural habitus, “anthropologists seek to determine the truth through their work, seeking validation or invalidation of proposition by cross-referencing data and seeking to place the phenomena studies in as fully rounded context as possible” (Daly, 1988:30). My analysis is grounded in the Wet’suwet’en experience but I situate this within the broader context surrounding Northern Gateway and environmental assessment in Canada, as well as the development of Aboriginal rights. Once I collected the data, I used grounded theory for its analysis. Grounded theory implies the generation of theory from the research (Clarke, 2005, Charmaz, 2006). Rather than beginning with a hypothesis, I first collected data, which I then coded thematically. Some examples of these codes included: “dynamics between ENGO’s and First Nations”, “political pressure”, “outside events”, “Aboriginal review processes”, and “baseline data”. These then were grouped into similar concepts or themes which included: “tactics of opposition”, “national interest”, “rights and title”, “industry’s approach”, “tactics of the Crown”, “outside influences”, “hearings”, “the colonial present” etc. I next related these themes to theories in political ecology, political ontology  52 and post-colonial study. In this way, findings were elaborated through systematic social research. Theoretical Currents The Internal Great Divide [between Nature and Culture] accounts for the External, Great Divide [between Us and Them]: we [moderns] are the only ones who differentiate absolutely between Nature and Culture, between Science and Society, whereas in our eyes all the others – whether they are Chinese or Amerindians, Azande or Barouya- cannot really separate what is knowledge from what is society, what is sign from what is think, what comes from Nature as it is from what their cultures require. (Latour, 1993:99) Racisms become institutionally normalized in and through spatial configuration, just as social space is made to seem natural, a given, by being conceived and defined in racial terms. (Razack, 2002:17) This section is not an attempt to provide an overriding theoretical framework but to help elucidate some themes that arose in process of my research. Just as rivers and streams come together in surprising ways to form new channels, sometimes redirecting the flow, different literatures have moved this analysis in diverse ways. From Wet’suwet’en understandings of the territories and from the above-mentioned themes, I meld a posthumanist political ecology to critical race theory, to create a framework for analyzing the environmental assessment process for Northern Gateway, its dismissal of Aboriginal rights, exclusion of Aboriginal ontologies and reaffirmation of the colonial paradigm. Political ecologists have highlighted the ways in which the social, ecological and political articulate and rearticulate in different ways to remake the world. In this work, human and nonhuman worlds emerge from ongoing interaction and influence. Juanita Sundberg (2011) moves beyond these dualistic ontologies that place the natural and the  53 social in separate spheres, to argue that nonhumans should be included as actors in geopolitical processes. Influenced by posthumanism, Sundberg builds on Whatmore (2002) to argue that politics is a “more-than human endeavor”. To understand nonhumans as political actors one must also re-conceptualize agency to include nonintentional actions. Sundberg relies on her ethnographic research in the Mexican-United States borderlands to examine the ways in which “nonhuman actors- plants, animals and biophysical processes- are constitutive of boundary making” (Sundberg, 2011: 320). For Sundberg and other posthumanist theorists, agency need not be the product of intention, thus restricting actors to conscious humans. Instead, all actors have the capacity to shape the world in different ways. Here the everyday gains importance, and the particular sites of things coming together. There is emphasis on a performative understanding of becoming rather than being. For Sundberg “a posthumanist political ecology refuses to treat nonhuman nature as the thing over which humans struggle and instead builds on and enacts a relational approach in which all bodies are participants in constituting the world” (Sundberg 2011: 322). Sundberg’s use of ‘bodies’ takes on new meaning in the story of Northern Gateway, reflecting the socio-natural character of bodies of water and of oil. These bodies are important actors, and leave ‘traces’ that shape politics in different ways. Sundberg relies on the term ‘collective’, otherwise expressed as associations, assemblages or networks, to depict the relations that come to make up the political realm. Sundberg’s work is influenced by Actor Network Theory (ANT), and so too is this account, though not explicitly ANT in its design. Developed in the field of Science and Technology Studies, Bruno Latour, Michel Callon, and John Law, foremost of the ANT scholars, focus on the material and semiotic relations between things and their  54 creation into networks. The universe is made up of associations which cannot be assumed to always be in causal relationships, ANT emphasizes the possibility of non-human agency, indeed forcing us to reconsider causality in agency altogether. Latour (2005) describes the importance of this approach in regards to fieldwork. ANT finds order only “after having let the actors deploy the full range of controversies in which they are immersed” (23). All categories of the ‘social’ must be cast off to allow actors to define the research. Latour endeavors to trace all social connections rather than deciding on an absolute and closed unit of study. Inherently there are no ‘groups’ or defined categories; they exist only in their naming. Law, in After Method: Mess in Social Science Research (2004) analyzes in depth Latour and Woolgar’s study of Laboratory Life: The Social Construction of Scientific Facts (1979). The importance of their study, according to Law, is that “particular realities are constructed by particular inscription devices and practices” (21). Law insists that it is impossible to separate “a) the making of particular realities, b) the making of particular statements about realities, and c) the creation of instrumental, technical and human configurations and practices” (31). Importantly, all these things are created together, in relation to one another. He proposes ‘method assemblage’ as a way to approach research that takes this understanding of reality and its representation as its foundation. An assemblage highlights multiplicity and fragmentation. A whole is made up of differing parts, which do not exist before the whole; rather everything exists in relation. ANT seeps into the realm of political ontology as well and certainly in the work of Mario Blaser. Blaser (2009) invokes political ontology to imbue traditional political economy and political ecology concerns of power and conflict, with the concept of multiple  55 ontologies6. Ontologies and worlds are interchangeable for Blaser and they are the product of historically situated practices, constantly enacted and reconstituted. Ontologies are continuously enacted and stabilized, with porous boundaries between. Blaser builds upon a ‘multinaturalist’ approach that considers many kinds of ‘natures’ and not simply a single one. His is an important departure. Rather than liberal multiculturalism approaches that claim different cultures have varied epistemological understandings of a single ‘natural’ world, Blaser argues that there are multiple worlds. For Blaser, we must conceive of a relational world in which humans and nonhumans are fully actors in multiple worlds or ontologies. Instead of external and certain ‘facts’, Blaser invokes Latour’s ‘factishes’ to consider that what exists is always in constant negotiation and the effect of practice. Disagreement or “uncontrolled equivocation” happens between interlocutors who are unaware that different worlds are enacted and assumed7. Blaser argues that Indigenous knowledges cannot simply be added on to natural resource management discussions; there needs to be a genuine acknowledgement of different ontological and epistemological realities. However, the equal value of different cultural perspectives can only be maintained if these perspectives fit the limits of what is  6  Blaser’s emphasis is on ontology but it is important to note the overlap with epistemological concerns. Traditionally, ontology is the study of the nature of being. A branch of metaphysics, it considers what exists and can be said to exist. It is formulated by the interactions between the world ‘out there’ and interpretations of that world (Woodward and Jones a, 2009). Epistemology gets at the nature and the scope of knowledge, the representation of the world. It is concerned with what knowledge is and how it is acquired. Epistemology and ontology are intrinsically linked, “there may be elements of ‘what is’ that are not knowable, and knowledge may contain ideas that do not correspond to existing things in the world” (Woodard and Jones, b, 2009:206) 7 Blaser employs this framework to discuss Yshiro conservation in regards to a sustainable hunting program in northern Paraguay. He concludes that Yshiro ontologies were bracketed and disregarded when they could not be successfully coordinated into government and international conservation agendas.  56 reasonable and acceptable to what Latour calls ‘the modern constitution’, or the dominant, Western ontology. Since Indigenous ontologies do not fit within the modern constitution, they are disregarded. Instead, Aboriginal ontologies and knoweldges are forced to conform to western institutions and practices. Paul Nadasdy (1999) looks critically at attempts to ‘integrate’ Traditional Ecological Knowledge and science. Instead of examining the difficulties that arise in the integration of TEK into western knowledge, he examines the power relations inherent to the project of integration itself. TEK is the manner in which Aboriginal knowledges have been accounted for in discussions over resource management and environmental impact assessment. However, integration implies that TEK is simply another form of data to be incorporated by the State and by science, and that it conforms to westerns ideas about knowledge. In isolating Aboriginal participation in the form of TEK, Aboriginal peoples are pushed into western traditions, rather than privileging their own. Finally, since scientists and the state are those that actually use this ‘integrated’ knowledge, and not Aboriginal peoples, integration in fact serves to concentrate power in the former. More recently Nadasdy (2007), examines reciprocity in hunter societies with the goal of understanding and accepting hunter’s understandings of the world literally, as well as metaphorically. His intention is to encourage a reexamination of the role of anthropology in processing and disseminating knowledges, but I think his argument can be more broadly generalized as well. Important to his argument is the acceptance of animals as conscious actors, and seemingly extraordinary experiences as data. This acceptance entails the redefinition of academic research and the expectation of the university.  57 Kuokkanen (2007) expands on this theme of Indigeneity and the academy and argues that Indigenous epistemes have been excluded from the academy and need to be duly incorporated, following in the manner of ‘the gift’. The systems of thought and knowledge that are supported in the academy rarely reflect or represent indigenous worldviews, in effect silencing the realities of indigenous students and indigenous peoples more generally. The indigenous epistemes that she speaks of are not exclusive to ‘traditional knowledge’ but are contemporary indigenous ways of knowing, changing and in flux. Kuokkanen’s project is rooted in a refusal to subscribe to narrow binaries, but instead emphasizes the shifting nature of categories and relationships, especially those of colonizer and colonized. For Kuokkanen, discourses do not have to necessarily coincide or create a linear and purely logical account. She conceptualizes theory as interweaving and mutually constituting. Indigenous theory is not ahistorical or pure but also shaped by dominant epistemologies, just as researchers are. Including indigenous epistemes in the university means more than simply providing a space for them; we must learn to receive their gift, to accept them as existing even if we do not understand their logic. Such an acceptance of Aboriginal ways of knowing implies the acknowledgement of the post-colonial nature of contemporary Canada, that colonial legacies and continuous practices pervade everyday lives, and the importance of dismantling marginalizing and racialized practices. Braun (1997, 2002) explores how the continuities and discontinuities of colonialism organize the present in terms of the ‘politics of nature’ in British Columbia. This entails a reconsideration of our understandings of space and time; space and time cannot be seen to be singular and linear but fragmented with fluxes and ellipses. Colonial discourse can be understood as the production and maintenance of knowledge  58 that underlies and legitimates the control of Western bodies over colonial subjects. Braun explores how the separation of ‘nature’ from the cultural realm has served to reinforce postcolonial relationships. ‘Nature’ in BC has emerged as a distinct entity of ‘aesthetic reflection, scientific inquiry, and economic and political calculation at particular sites and specific historical moments” (Braun, 1997:4). Braun attempts to ‘decolonize’ these understandings of nature by situating them within relations of colonial power. The conflict over the temperate rainforest of Clayaquot Sound on Vancouver Island has been articulated as a simplistic binary between the forest industry and environmentalists, the binary itself a product of the postcolonial organization of the province. This dualistic approach works to marginalize other voices of labor, local communities and First Nations groups. The categories of ‘nature’, ‘resource’, and ‘nation’ mediate the struggle in Clayaquot, serving to authorize certain voices- of industry and environmentalists, while neglecting others. For Braun, sites of ‘nature’ in British Columbia are spaces where colonial relations are reenacted and reinvigorated. In this exploration of writings on political ontologies, post-humanism, political ecology and critical race theory, I have hoped to demonstrate how the separations of nature and culture, human and non-human serve to reinforce colonial relations. What follows is an attempt to unmap these relations, as Razack proposes, to trace the journeys that bring contemporary actors into a struggle that reaffirms colonial relationships, and to explore the sometimes surprising new currents that arise and shift the flow. This section has attempted to reveal the complexities inherent to research on a project as contentious as Northern Gateway, conducted in collaboration with a First Nations’ organization in a Northern setting. Participant observation allowed me the intimacy to see relations around  59 environmental assessment unfold on a day-to-day basis and to connect with the real implications of this process for the people and places of the Northern landscape. As Jackson is cited at the beginning of this chapter, I did indeed feel like a child at various stages of this research. I feel privileged to have been trusted with the teachings of many generations.  60  Chapter 3: Contentious Politics of Environmental Management Extractive sectors in British Columbia are increasingly regulated through environmental assessment processes, which attempt to weigh environmental and social risk of projects with economic gain. Environmental assessment in Canada has been the subject of extensive debate since its inception in the 1970’s and a focus of discussions over environmental governance and Aboriginal rights. A recent conference at the University of Windsor examined the state of environmental assessment in Canada and decided that the conference be titled “The Demise of Environmental Assessment in Canada?” (Haddock, 2010:62). The last forty years of environmental assessment in Canada as well as internationally, has been rife with critique and opposition, from academic circles, policy makers, environmental activists and the public. Unfortunately, much of the literature that critiques environmental assessment in Canada, does not stray from its objects’ technical-speak. A language of ‘stakeholders’, ‘environmental impacts’ and ‘socio-economic impacts’ is used, neglecting to compel different understandings of the effects of EA on people and places. This approach fails to represent a more holistic view of ecosystems, in which the social, cultural and economic cannot be set apart from the environmental. Environmental assessments, in achieving environmental governance, also result in the governance of people, of populations. I argue that not only environmental assessments, but also their critiques, must consequently adopt a similarly holistic approach to ecosystems. If we are serious about creating a more just society, we need to move away from a literature of policy approaches that privileges expert, scientific information and inhibits the participation of the public and significantly of Aboriginal  61 peoples, and towards one which considers ontological and epistemological considerations. This chapter provides an examination of federal environmental assessment and its critiques. I first look to the Canadian context and outline the development of EA in Canada, highlighting a major departure from unrepresentative and uninclusive EA, the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry. I then turn to broad critiques of environmental assessment. Generally situated within a critique of scientific knowledge, this literature points to the inordinate authority of ‘experts’ and bureaucrats in managing projects with environmental impacts. Finally I examine common critiques of Canadian EA, focusing on: its lack of Aboriginal consultation and accommodation; the problematic integration of Traditional Aboriginal Knowledge or Traditional Ecological Knowledge; defining First Nations’ representation; ill-conceived project scoping; the lack of a holistic approach; the problematic use of ‘sustainability’; debates over jurisdiction; and inadequate public involvement in decision-making.  Historical Development of Environmental Assessment in Canada Environmental assessment regimes are a relatively new phenomenon, developing from the late 1960’s in North America and Western Europe. From the outset, the Canadian government has been reluctant to legislate for a robust and comprehensive assessment process. The Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry (1974-1977) represents a significant exception to the development of EA in Canada as an inclusive and representative process; it has arguably not being repeated (Nikiforuk, 1997). Only in the mid-1990’s did the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act come into force, alongside  62 its governing Agency. The Act and Agency represent improvements in EA processes; however Aboriginal rights and interests have not been adequately considered and honored and there exists significant gaps between law and practice. In the late 1960’s, large-scale resource development projects began to catch the attention of environmental groups and the public who worried about the adverse environmental impacts of projects. The development of an environmental consciousness in the populace encouraged decision-makers to consider the preservation of environment alongside economic prosperity, leading to the development of regulatory science and environmental impact assessment (Goldman, 2001, Rutherford, 1999, Darier, 1999). Plater (1994) argues that current environmental law regimes in the United States were made possible by a paradigm shift in the 1960’s. For Plater this shift is signaled by the Rachel Carson Paradigm which emphasized that although individuals try to maximize benefits to themselves and ignore the negative effects of their actions, a society that will survive and remain strong must consider the “real interacting consequences of individual decisions, negative as well as positive, whether the marketplace accounts for them or not” (Platter, 1994:982). This paradigm values the interconnectedness and impacts of all things. In 1969 American President Richard Nixon created the National Environment Policy Act (NEPA), the forerunner of all ‘green’ policy plans. NEPA’s purpose remains: To declare a national policy which will encourage productive and enjoyable harmony between man and his environment; to promote efforts which will prevent or eliminate damage to the environment and biosphere and stimulate the health and welfare of man; to enrich the understanding of the ecological systems and natural resources important to the Nation; and to establish a Council on Environmental Quality (NEPA, 1969).  63 Today, 100 countries worldwide practise some kind of environmental assessment and it has become a billion-dollar industry (Rutherford, 1999). Environmental assessments, though, are not simply policy procedures that govern the environment; they are political processes that have very material impacts on the people and places they evaluate. Environmental assessment in Canada dates back to the early 1970’s. Influenced by the United States’ NEPA, it was designed as a preventative approach to mitigate the potential problems of industrial development projects. The Canadian government, though, was hesitant to move as decisively as the American model of a legislated process. It feared the loss of flexibility, extensive litigation and public examination of projects. Early Canadian EA attempted to respond to two problems: A lack of understanding and information regarding environmental processes and man’s impact of those processes; and a lack of a means of factoring this information into the decision-making equation so that environmental costs and benefits could be taken into account alongside other considerations (Weston, 1991:2). The federal Environmental Assessment and Review Process (EARP), was established in 1973 and highlighted policy guidelines for the government review of projects. Initially broad and unspecific, EARP was elaborated and strengthened in the following years, though heavily criticized for its inadequate public review (Gibson, 2002). The Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry stands apart from early Canadian EA; separate from EARP, the inquiry was commissioned by the Government of Canada and carried out by Justice Thomas Berger. The inquiry gave voice to the groups who would be affected by the pipeline, significantly to Aboriginal communities. Heralded as an open and transparent process, the inquiry concluded that there be a moratorium on pipeline development for  64 ten years, until Aboriginal rights and considerations be properly addressed (Berger, 1988).  The Berger Inquiry: A Model for Assessment “For one group it is a frontier, for the other a homeland.” (Berger 1988:15) Commissioned in 1974 under the National Inquiries Act, the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry investigated the impacts of a proposed gas pipeline through the Yukon and the Northwest Territories. The inquiry cost 5.3 million dollars, and produced over 40,000 pages of text and evidence. Berger, in his 1977 report Northern Frontier, Northern Homeland, touched upon some of Canada’s deepest concerns of the time, around energy policy, resource allocation, industrial development and Aboriginal rights. The inquiry is considered to be an exemplary model of inclusive and ambitious scoping, and public and First Nations participation. Berger explored the complexity of issues at stake in the Mackenzie project in a balanced and thorough manner, holding official as well as community meetings. He identified and consulted with a broad range of groups and individuals affected in time frames appropriate to the northern context. His recommendations focused on the need for sustainable resource use, the value of an Aboriginal economy, and a balanced mixed economy. Berger’s report revealed the paradoxes of the development in the North. On one hand, the North is a hinterland of valuable resources that get streamlined to southern metropolises. On the other hand, the North is a homeland to Aboriginal and settler communities who maintain livelihoods dependent on healthy ecosystems. Berger argues that for true economic growth to happen in the hinterland some of the wealth generated must remain within the frontier and the  65 needs and desires of northern peoples must be foremost in the consideration of development. Fundamentally for Berger, northern development cannot be justified for the good of the majority, to the detriment of Aboriginal peoples; it must be development in which Aboriginal communities are empowered and are able to determine and improve their own futures. Berger writes that we must acknowledge opposition to the project, “that indifference will bring yet more severe deformation of the native economy, serious social disarray, and a cluster of pathologies that will, taken together, constitute the final assault on the original peoples of the North” (165). Berger ends with an attempt to reconcile the possibility of a pipeline with Native claims. His conclusion is that the construction of such a pipeline be postponed until native claims are properly addressed and there be a moratorium on pipeline development for ten years. Almost forty years later, the McKenzie Valley Pipeline Joint Review Panel approved the project. It remains to see whether the pipeline will be built, however, due to the expansion of natural gas development in BC and Alberta (Writers, 2011). The challenge of today is not very different from Berger’s time, to promote progress that allows for Aboriginal rights and environmental values alongside industrial development. The Berger model was replicated in the West Coast Oil Ports Inquiry, appointed by the federal government in 1976, under commissioner Dr. Andrew R. Thompson. The Inquiry is particularly salient as it dealt with a crude oil pipeline and oil port at Kitimat BC. Importantly, Thompson declared that the “Inquiry is not merely about the mitigation of adverse environmental, social and navigational safety impacts- it is about whether an oil port should be built at all” (Thompson, 1978:1). For Thompson, the environmental and social impacts of the proposed project had to be considered simultaneously with the  66 larger issue of Canada’s energy future. Furthermore, rather than emphasizing the national interests of Central Canada, Thompson expressed the need to consider the regional interests of those communities which would be immediately affected by the project. Community hearings were held across the province, in Namu, Mount Currie, Lillooet, Sooke and Steveston, as well as extensive formal hearings in Vancouver, before the Inquiry was stopped when the proponent dismissed its application. Instead, the company focused on building an oil port in Washington State, a project that was denied by the United States Congress due to being environmentally unacceptable. The Canadian government left the possibility of an oil port on BC’s coast and a northern pipeline open for future development. In his report, however, Thompson indicated that if a pipeline and oil port were built without a full public inquiry, “the concerns of British Columbians about the risks of oil spill would have been given short shrift. The need for an oil port, though inconclusively determined, would have carried the day without the risks ever having been assessed. Such an outcome is not the kind that binds the county together. […] The people of British Columbia are entitled to better treatment” (Thompson, 1978:100-102). Current environmental assessment lags far behind the precedents set by the Berger and Thompson Inquiries of the 1970’s, conducted in a form and substance to suit northern contexts and communities. Slow Development The 1980’s saw haphazard project assessments and isolated decisions removed from public participation, seemingly uninfluenced by the Berger Inquiry. Federal reviews of the process in 1981-1982 and 1987 pointed to the need for more robust legislation. In 1994 the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency was established as the governing  67 body of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, which came into force in 1995. The Agency’s role, under the act, is to advise and assist the Minister of the Environment, as well as to administer the environmental assessment process. With the 1995 Act, Aboriginal participation in environmental assessment became a legislated right, though the consultation and accommodation of Aboriginals remained largely undefined (Baker and McLelland, 2003). The Act applies to projects where the Government of Canada has jurisdiction or authority as a proponent, land-manager, funder or regulator. There are four kinds of environmental assessment depending on the scale and impacts of a project: screening, comprehensive study, mediation, and review panel. It is up to a responsible authority, either a federal Minister of the Crown, a federal agency or a federal department, to decide the level of assessment required. Review panels are intended to allow for a higher degree of public participation for the largest types of projects, such as the recent Prosperity Gold-Copper Mine Project, the Northern Gateway Pipeline Project and the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Project. The CEAA registry creates public access, via the Internet, to documents regarding project assessments and participant funding and is intended to ensure that individuals and organizations are able to participate effectively in EA processes (Canada 2011a). Provincial and federal governments share the responsibility of environmental management. The provincial government largely has jurisdiction over the management of natural resources and community issues whereas the federal government is responsible for issues that are considered of national concern, such as fisheries or poisonous substances (Landry et al. 2009). The federal EA is triggered when projects  68 cross provincial boundaries, involve land that is under federal responsibility or entail federal financial support (Canada 2011a). In 1998, the Canada-Wide Accord on Environmental Harmonization was passed in all provinces, except for Quebec, legislating a single environmental assessment process in cases involving more than one jurisdiction and establishing roles and responsibilities for federal, provincial and territorial governments. Despite the agreement, harmonization remains unresolved. In 2001, the Minister of the Environment introduced amendments to the Act and in 2003 Bill-C 19 came into force. Welcomed by environmental groups, this amendment strengthened public involvement, harmonized decision-making between jurisdictions and addressed project follow-up. Also, Bill C-19 made the need to incorporate Aboriginal knowledge into EA a priority (Bill C-19, R.S. 2004). Attempts to make CEAA less robust have not gone unchallenged. In January, 2010, the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government violated the law by conducting only a partial study, not an in-depth study, of Red Chris copper and gold mine in Northwest British Columbia. The lax assessment of Red Chris was made possible by the compartmentalization of the project into smaller parts (Mittelstaedt and Galloway, March 31, 2010). Though the court ruled that the project was improperly approved, the mine was allowed to go ahead. The decision was expected to ensure that all large development projects be put through full environmental reviews but this remains uncertain and the changes in the 2010 budget may override this decision (Paterson 2010) Since advancements in harmonization agreements, the Harper government has been attempting to ‘streamline’, or further harmonize, the environmental assessment process, citing overlap between federal and provincial jurisdictions, inefficient and costly  69 practices and the need to push projects through more quickly. Inside the 2010 budget bill C-9 are amendments to CEAA that diminish the robustness of the Act. Under the bill, the Minister of the Environment has the discretion to determine the scope of any project and to avoid conducting detailed assessments by breaking up projects into smaller parts. Furthermore, the bill exempts many government-funded projects from following the Act. Energy projects that were previously assessed by the CEA Agency, will be relegated to the National Energy Board and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. A new definition for ‘water body’ excludes tailings ponds, sewage facilities and agricultural features and the Minister is not be obliged to conduct a mediation or review panel for large projects. In July 2010 bill C-9 was passed by the senate (Bill C-9 R.S. 2010, Paterson, 2010). Despite a forty-year history of EA in Canada, it has been argued that positive development has been slow to transpire and the process has stagnated. Since the 1970’s, “there has been a steady erosion of the fairness, comprehensiveness, and integrity of EA from the Berger Inquiry to the most recent northern projects” (Mulvihill and Baker, 2001: 368). A primary fault of EA may be the inconsistent manner in which it has been applied, without regard for past decisions and the lack of consistent review. In fact, Gibson (2002) notes that advances in EA have been largely resisted and significant changes have been more the result of accident or errors than tactical policy changes. In 1997, two years following CEAA, no public review had been carried out on the previous 25 years of assessments for over 50 major projects valuing more than 50 billion dollars. Furthermore, there has been little evidence of the contribution of assessments to environmental, social or economical wellbeing (Nikiforuk, 1997).  70  Towards a Critical Environmental Assessment Rigorous sustainability-based assessment is […] no friend of narrow economic priorities. (Gibson, 2002:158) Effective environmental assessment requirements force decision makers to accept a much broader and largely unfamiliar set of obligations and objectives, to subject themselves to greater public scrutiny, and in the course of this to cede some of their independent authority. Effective assessment requirements are meant to challenge conventional assumptions and conventional practices, and they are resisted for that reason. (Rutherford, 1999:156) The discussion of environmental assessment in the social sciences is still nascent, especially in regards to critical approach to EA. It has been argued (Rutherford 1999, Goldman 2001) that EA and other regulatory sciences create a new mode of understanding and mapping the world, one that privileges certain forms of knowledge and marginalizes others. At their heart, environmental assessments are political processes driven by financial gain by the state and industry. They serve to politically legitimize projects while legitimating specific epistemologies. EA frames a definition of ecological risks as well as determines what is to count as scientific knowledge of the natural world. Environmental assessments fit neatly into a progression from imperial science to the present. The use of scientific knowledge in the colonial project has been widely documented (Mitchell 2002, Goldman 2001, Said 1978, Stoler 1995). The imperial exploitation and manipulation of peoples and resources was facilitated by their documentation as scientific facts through survey and census data, botanical and anthropological studies. Consequently, the scientists, anthropologists and investigators of the colonial era played an integral role in the civilizing and power-centralizing projects of colonialism. Their studies served to name and constitute the objects of their  71 investigations, solidifying power relations as well as fostering a narrowly defined idea of modernity (Mitchell, 2002). In this modernity, humans conquered nature through systematic and scientific projects of state expansion. Imperialism has shaped the presentday interactions of resource extraction and development in Canada, and British Columbia in particular, a strong force in an assemblage of people, spaces, discourses, institutions and states (Braun, 2002).  ‘Science for Hire’ Every act of measurement was an act marked by the play of power relations. (Scott 1998:27) The use of science in environmental assessment processes is an extension of this same idealization of science for progress. In EA, ‘objective’ science is relied upon to solve difficult policy decisions based on its appeals to reason and truth. This view of science stems from a belief that a universal truth exists and may be garnered from a scientific method and that scientists stand outside of the political realm. However, scientific claims in environmental policy are value judgments like any other. This critical approach to science has been widely written about in Science and Technology Studies, expanded upon in Chapter two, though STS is conspicuously not engaged with in the EA literature. Science that informs decision-makers is not inherently factual but based on ethical and political values and judgments. Science is relied upon to solve complex problems but is rarely contextualized. Haller and Gerrie (2006) make a distinction between curiosity-driven science as an open-ended process and mandated science for policy decision-making. In mandated science, scientific experts are enlisted to support certain policy initiatives (Haller and Gerrie, 2006:143). This science is shaped in specific  72 ways to meet predetermined conclusions and policy recommendations. Clarity of conclusions is derived not through scientific inquiry, but based on value judgments and the prioritizing of certain information. The issue of uncertainty is misrepresented in mandated science, where differences and questions are disregarded and glossed over by impenetrable ‘expert’ language. Environmental assessment assumes that it is possible to make an exact science out of predictions about little known impacts to ecosystems. However, fully understanding ecosystem complexities remains unachievable, especially when dealing with projects on industrial scales, and involving multiple and complex geographies. Albertan journalist, Andrew Nikiforuk, compares successful EA to good parenting or weather forecasting: “once the known facts are established (the science), the final conclusions are based on wisdom, experience and a moral code that respects, for want of a better words, Providence or Creation” (Nikiforuk 1997: 3). Collongridge and Reeve (1986) describe the ‘promiscuous’ quality of science for policy that narrows its focus and employs evidence uniquely in support of particular goals. Sarewitz (2004) argues that within the scientific body of knowledge, different components can be assembled to support contending claims of an issue. For Haller and Gerrie, science consequently cannot play the decisive role in policy debates. Their examination of environmental assessments leads them to claim that scientists involved in policy-making actually represent “reason for hire” rather than “higher reason” (Haller and Gerrie, 2006:153). For them, resolution of environmental development questions should not be left to scientific experts and especially those hired by companies to prepare the EA material. They argue that EA narrows the discussion of environmental crises, when, in fact, a broader discussion of societal values should be considered. Consequently,  73 they advocate a move away from EA, towards “public meetings, public inquiries, legislatures, referenda, courts, and the media” (Haller and Gerrie, 158). Democratic decision-making processes, and not simply ‘science’, should be relied upon for environmental governance. These studies hint at a Foucauldian framework of governmentality and constellations of power and knowledge but avoid moving further in this direction. It is worth a moment to consider what Foucauldian thought can bring to issues of environmental assessment.  Eco-Governmentality What types of knowledge do you want to disqualify in the very instant of your demand: ‘Is it science?’ Which speaking, discoursing subject- which subjects of experience and knowledge- do you then want to ‘diminish’ when you say: ‘I who conduct this discourse am conducting a scientific discourse, and I am a scientist’? (Foucault 1980:85). Environmental assessment can be understood as a site of eco-governmentality, where expertise and discourses constitute the people and things of the landscape. Foucault’s idea of governmentality describes the wide range of techniques of control that govern the self as well as the population. Eco-governmentality extends this concept of modern control to the natural world to explain how the non-human world also becomes a subject to be governed. Eco-governmentality functions as part of the legacy of colonialism, of lands dispossessed and spaces mapped by ideologies of development and modernization. Foucault did not address the circumscription of nature into the workings of power in his analysis of governmentality. Various of his interlocutors, however (Goldman, 2001, Rutherford, 1999 and Darier, 1999), have applied Foucauldian governmentality to the natural world to argue that ‘nature’, as well as human subjects, has  74 been managed and manipulated into systems of power. Governmentality emphasizes the multiplicity and hybridity of power relations. For Foucault, governmentality works on the population and the individual body; it is the “power relations that enlist subjects in the project of their own rule, guiding conduct and encouraging self-discipline” (Moore, 2006:3). Central to Foucault’s argument is the situatedness of knowledge. Knowledge is embedded in the historical context from which it emerges. Science, consequently, is not an objective description of the natural world but a “claims-making activity” (Hannigan, 2006:69). There are problems in accepting science as a universal and true representation of the world. Even in the greatly expanded form it assumes today, the will to knowledge does not achieve a universal truth; man is not given an exact and serene mastery of nature. On the contrary, it ceaselessly multiplies the risks, creates dangers in every area, it breaks down illusory defenses; it releases those elements of itself that are devoted to its subversion and destruction. (Foucault, 1984:95-96). Rutherford (1999) defines ecological governmentality as the process by which “all lifeforms become objects of scientific enquiry, a series of state calculations based on ‘security’ and on the disciplining / normalization of the population” (Rutherford 1999:28). Goldman (2001) understands eco-governmentality in similar terms, as the “productive relations of government- with their emphasis on “knowing” and “clarifying” one’s relationship to nature and the environment as mediated through new institutions” (Goldman, 2001:501). Importantly, for Goldman and Rutherford, knowledge is central to eco-governmentality, not only to relations of power, but also the constitution of people and things upon which biopower operates, which work to create “national and global truth regimes on nature” (Goldman, 2001:500). It is important to note that this is not a  75 simple or unidirectional system of state control. Rather eco-governmentality works to fluidly absorb all relations between humans and the environment. Let us look briefly to several examples of a Foucauldian analysis of environmental assessments or impact assessments as they are sometimes called. Goldman (2001b) examines the role of impact assessments in the case of the World Bank. In major Bank-supported projects in the developing world, consultants, largely from North America and Western Europe, are hired to conduct the investigations. Typically there is a limited time frame in which to work, usually resulting in a ‘rapid rural appraisals’. Such time constraints value certain knowledges while discounting others. The process of selectively choosing what to evaluate is neither disinterested nor apolitical, but embedded in the proponent’s need for the project, activist discontent and regional politics. This need not entail explicit disregard of information but instead the subtle molding of stories, omitting some facts while privileging others. Environmental assessments are political processes; large-scale development supported by the World Bank is driven by financial gain. This priority engenders a swift and efficient environmental assessment and complex ecological processes are standardized and simplified to singular values instrumental to development (Goldman, 2001b). Mitchell’s discussion (2002) of the Aswan Dam attests to the power of politics in large-scale resource development projects: “politics itself was working to simplify the world, attempting to gain for itself the powers of expertise by resolving it into simple forces and oppositions” (Mitchell, 2002:34). Scott (1998) contends that the expert ordering of nature and society is the central tenant of failed large-scale social engineering projects of ‘high modernism’. In his examination of forest policy in Germany, he argues that the utilitarian, state analysis of forests was partial; its  76 focus was limited to the resource’s commercial potential only. Consequently, the state attempted to simplify complex ecological processes into singular units of instrumental value. These acts of simplification and measurement were represented as objective but were marked by power relations (Scott, 1998). It is useful to consider underlying Foucauldian concepts of governmentality and the intimate connections between power and knowledge, in the manner of these previous examples, when examining contemporary environmental assessment in Canada. It is especially useful to have an underlying understanding of governmentality in relation to the space in EA afforded to Aboriginal groups and Aboriginal ontologies and epistemologies.  Uneven Politics Many EA processes [in Canada] tend to circumvent or deemphasize fundamental issues, but nowhere is the problem more pronounced – and more costly- than in interregional, intercultural cases. (Mulvihill and Baker, 2001:382) Environmental assessment in Canada has become a key site for negotiations between Aboriginal peoples, government and industry, although the system was never intended as such. According to Andrew Nikiforuk, because of government sloppiness in establishing its EA system and a lack of decision-making regarding rights and title, the process has become a forum for deciding land claims, rather than a forum for deciding resource development. Under the law, Aboriginal consultation is a fundamental to EA. In practice, however, Aboriginal rights are disrespected; consultation is conducted on inappropriate timelines; funding and capacity for groups is lacking for adequate participation; Traditional Aboriginal Knowledge is poorly incorporated in processes; and Aboriginal representation is not clearly defined.  77 Aboriginal participation is outlined in one of the purposes to the Act: “to promote communication and cooperation between responsible authorities and Aboriginal peoples with respect to environmental assessment” (CEAA, 4(1b.3). CEAA further specifies their goal of the involvement of the public and Aboriginal peoples: The involvement of the public, including Aboriginal peoples, is viewed as a practical and essential component of environmental assessment (EA). To help ensure the EA is informed by community and traditional knowledge, and identifies and facilitates timely responses to public concerns, meaningful public involvement should be initiated at the start of the EA process. Finding effective ways to engage the public and address their concerns while ensuring a timely and predictable process is a concern for all EA practitioners. The guiding principle in this research area is to develop means for enhancing EA process transparency and clarity through public involvement. (Canada, 2011b) On a superficial level, Aboriginal groups are expected to be involved in environmental assessment processes; however, the stipulation that communication takes place does not address the extent of Aboriginal involvement in decision-making. Furthermore, Aboriginal groups would like to see their negotiation with the crown on a government-togovernment basis, and not simply as another stakeholder. The crown has so far been reluctant to pursue this type of negotiation or to engage in meaningful consultation more generally with First Nations peoples (Landry et al., 2009).  Traditional Ecological Knowledge Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), or Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge (ATK)8, is intended to be a guiding feature of environmental assessment in Canada. In practice, though, disjunctures remain. The CEA Act specifies: “Community knowledge and Aboriginal traditional knowledge may be considered in conducting an environmental 8  I use TEK and ATK interchangeably throughout this analysis. The Crown employs ATK but much of the literature and Aboriginal groups themselves use TEK.  78 assessment” (CEAA, 16.1, emphasis my own). It is interesting to note the vague use of ‘may’ in this context; it is not absolutely necessary to consider ATK but a possibility. Furthermore, there is disagreement over the meaning of TEK or ATK. ATK is defined as “knowledge that is held by, and unique to, Aboriginal Peoples” (Canada, 2011b). This definition of traditional knowledge is different than the description of ATK by First Nations groups themselves. The Deh Cho gives the following definition of ATK: The collective intellectual property of Decho First Nations’ members to Stories, Customs, Experiences, Knowledge, Practices, Beliefs ad Spiritual Teaching passed on by our parents from our ancestors. This Knowledge will continue to exist and be passes on to our children and future generation. The rights to this knowledge must be protected. (quoted in Landry et al., 2009) The Gwich’in Nation provide another definition of traditional knowledge: That body of knowledge, values, beliefs and practices passed on from one generation to another by oral means or through learned experience, observation and spiritual teachings, and pertains to the identity, culture and heritage of the Gwich'in. This body of knowledge reflects many millennia of living on the land. It is a system of classification, a set of empirical observations about the local environment and a system of self-management that governs the use of resources and defines the relationship of living beings with one another and with their environment. (quoted in Landry et al., 2009) Aboriginal descriptions of ATK are not as straightforward or uniform as the CEAA definition would imply. Aboriginal knowledge is not a static and standardized entity but is varied between groups and always evolving according to new knowledge and contemporary challenges (Landry et al, 2009). Furthermore, the idea of traditional knowledge implies a distant past and a fixed culture, neglecting to appreciate how that knowledge has changed over time (Stevenson, 1996). Houde (2007) suggests a broad definition of Aboriginal knowledge that includes “factual observations, management systems, current and past uses, values and ethics, culture and identity and cosmology”.  79 The CEA Act’s simplistic understanding of ATK is integrated into the interim principles of incorporating Aboriginal knowledge: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.  Work with the community; Seek prior informed consent; Access Aboriginal traditional knowledge with the support of the community; Respect intellectual property rights; Collect Aboriginal traditional knowledge in collaboration with the community; 6. Bring Aboriginal traditional knowledge and western knowledge together. (Canada, 2011b) Though these interim principles seem to valorize ATK, there is no sense of how this set of knowledges will be incorporated into assessment processes, nor is there mention of the different timeframes required in acquiring ATK, as opposed to Western knowledge. Nadasdy (1999, 2007) considers the ways in which TEK has been used by the state as the means to integrate Aboriginal knowledge into discussions over resource management. As discussed in the previous chapter, Nadasdy argues that this project of integration consigns Aboriginal knowledge to state scientists and bureaucrats, conforming it to Western institutions and practice. Instead of privileging Aboriginal traditions and knowledge, integration moulds them to fit nicely into western frameworks. Not only is such definition of TEK problematic but so too is its integration and role in decision-making. TEK is not universal for all Aboriginal groups, complicating the terrain further and necessitating a discussion of Aboriginal representation.  Defining Representation Representation of First Nations is a related contentious issue within environmental assessment. There are at least three potential bodies of representation for any given territory- the Tribal Council, a political organization that often represents more  80 than one band, a Band Council, representing a single band, and, at times, a family has traditional rights to the territory. Consequently, when considering the development of a project, individuals from at least these three groups should be represented. Overlapping claims and the displacement of groups since western settlement further complicates this scenario. Oftentimes, there is preferential treatment of one First Nation or group over another by the proponent or the Crown. Internal politics are exacerbated and feuds played out against one another. Certain groups may be offered more favorable consultation and funding than others (Baker and McLelland, 2003, International Human Rights Clinic, 2010). The representation of individuals and communities within EA is a part of the larger issue of defining the scope of a project and its impacts. Scope concerns not only the people affected but also the landscapes and ecosystems with which they are intertwined. Increasingly restrictive project scoping has the effect of minimizing First Nations participation in EA (Whitelaw et al., 2009).  Project Scoping Project scope establishes the frame to be discussed in the environmental assessment; for an equitable and open process, there must be a thorough and true integration of the public and First Nations in this phase. EA’s in Canada have been criticized for their narrow project scoping and disregard of the multiplicity of people and groups affected. The scope of a project is determined by either the responsible authority, the federal or provincial agency assigned to the assessment, such as the Department of Fisheries and Oceans or the National Energy Board, or the Minister of the Environment. The decision regarding project scope by these bodies is based on the project as proposed  81 by the proponent. There is no legislated role for the public or First Nations in this early part of the process. This is distressing as the scope determines the boundaries of the people and places impacted by a potential project (Whitelaw et al). The January 2010 Supreme Court decision in Mining Watch v. Canada, regarding the Red Chris Mine development in Northern B.C., confirmed that the project, as proposed by the proponent, would determine the type of assessment as well as the scope of the project (Mining Watch v. Canada, 2010). The CEA Act emphasizes mitigations to impacts, in regards to project scope, rather than the need for a project in the first place, or the question of alternatives: Factors to be considered 16. (1) Every screening or comprehensive study of a project and every mediation or assessment by a review panel shall include a consideration of the following factors: (a) the environmental effects of the project, including the environmental effects of malfunctions or accidents that may occur in connection with the project and any cumulative environmental effects that are likely to result from the project in combination with other projects or activities that have been or will be carried out; (b) the significance of the effects referred to in paragraph (a); (c) comments from the public that are received in accordance with this Act and the regulations; (d) measures that are technically and economically feasible and that would mitigate any significant adverse environmental effects of the project; and (e) any other matter relevant to the screening, comprehensive study, mediation or assessment by a review panel, such as the need for the project and alternatives to the project, that the responsible authority or, except in the case of a screening, the Minister after consulting with the responsible authority, may require to be considered. (CEAA 16.1, emphasis my own) Nikiforuk (1997) and Gibson (2002) argue that the need for the project and alternatives are often left out of the scoping process altogether. It is only under additional factors that the concerns of purpose and alternatives arise:  82 Additional factors (2) In addition to the factors set out in subsection (1), every comprehensive study of a project and every mediation or assessment by a review panel shall include a consideration of the following factors: (a) the purpose of the project; (b) alternative means of carrying out the project that are technically and economically feasible and the environmental effects of any such alternative means; (c) the need for, and the requirements of, any follow-up program in respect of the project; and (d) the capacity of renewable resources that are likely to be significantly affected by the project to meet the needs of the present and those of the future. (CEAA 1992, c. 37, s. 16; 1993, c. 34, s. 22(F), emphasis my own). Despite the designated need to examine project alternatives, the Act does not ensure that a comparative evaluation of other projects be conducted. Nikiforuk makes a distinction between the American and Canadian systems here, arguing that in the United States, EA encourages a discussion of project alternatives, so that decision makers are able to choose the ‘most environmentally acceptable development’, whereas in Canada this discussion is severely neglected (Nikiforuk, 1997:15)9. Van Hinte et al. (2007) evaluate the assessment process for oil and gas pipelines in Canada. They argue that a guiding principle environmental assessment should address the rationale for a proposed project and evaluate alternatives to identify the best option available. They center their analysis around pipeline proposals in British Columbia, including Northern Gateway, and point out that the capacity of pipelines proposed exceeds demand by three times. They advocate for a comparative comprehensive assessment of all proposals, to rank them in terms of overall social benefits and greatest public interest10.  9  This situation remains unimproved since Nikiforuk’s publication in 1997. Van Hinte et al. examine eight pipeline proposals. The Enbridge Clipper Project, Enbridge Gateway Project, Enbridge 2, Mackenzie Valley Pipeline, Terasen northern 10  83 Establishing the scope of a project is a fundamental part of the EA process as it establishes the boundaries of the review. Mulvihill and Baker (2001) argue that it is impossible to institute a universally acceptable definition and process for determining project scoping, as local and regional circumstances, and groups and individuals affected vary to a great degree. Some questions they raise are: Should the scoping be conducted internally or should the public be involved; if public input is acquired, what should be done with it; is scoping simply used to diminish issues and how should issues be screened; should social impacts, cumulative impacts, project alternatives and other issues be interpreted broadly or narrowly; how will the process integrate differing forms of participation, such as narratives and TEK and how relevant will the panel find this material; what provisions will be made to accommodate northern complexities and issues?” (Mulvihill and Baker, 2001: 367). For Mulvihill and Baker, the process of project scoping must be adapted on a case-bycase basis, according to local norms and customs. Scoping must be decided in community hearings and other forms of consultation that take into consideration and are amenable to different knowledge systems and particularly ATK. Important to deciding project scope is the consideration or definition of cumulative impacts, the notion that potential impacts cannot be reviewed on their own but as a part of the greater whole of industrial development, forestry, settlement and other impacts to the region. The Act specifies the need to consider cumulative impacts within environmental effects: The environmental effects of the project, including the environmental effects of malfunctions or accidents that may occur in connection with the project and any cumulative environmental effects that are likely to result from the project in combination with other projects or activities that have been or will be carried out. (Canada 2011b: “interpretation”)  option, Terasen southern option, Trans Canada Keystone, Altex Pipeline and Pembina Pipeline.  84 In practice, the analysis of cumulative effects is often sidelined or minimized. Even individual projects are broken up into parts to more quickly advance through the system, such as the previously mentioned example of Red Chris. Technically separate projects in one bounded area have a much greater impact than any one of those projects considered in isolation. There has been much discussion around cumulative impacts in the Tar Sands where individual developments are often considered separately despite their relation to other projects and the impact of the Tar Sands as a whole (Nikiforuk, 2008). Fundamentally, narrow approaches to project scope and cumulative effects underlie a fragmented understanding of ecosystems. Modernist traditions that enforce the knowability of people and places thrive in frameworks of pieces divided, not of a contiguous, nuanced and interrelated whole.  The Holistic Approach Environmental assessment processes in Canada do not consider projects in terms of their holistic impacts on people and places but based on isolated effects. This begins with the CEAA definition of environment according to three factors: 1. Land, water and air, including all layers of the atmosphere; 2. all organic and inorganic matter and living organisms; and 3. the interacting natural systems that include components referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b) (Canada 2011b:“Interpretation”). This narrow definition omits socio-economic and cultural aspects and impacts of potential projects as well as delimits and compartmentalizes the different components of ‘the environment’. The Act is more inclusive in its definition of ‘environmental effect’ as:  85 (a) any change that the project may cause in the environment, including any change it may cause to a listed wildlife species, its critical habitat or the residences of individuals of that species, as those terms are defined in subsection 2(1) of the Species at Risk Act, (b) any effect of any change referred to in paragraph (a) on (i) health and socio-economic conditions, (ii) physical and cultural heritage, (iii) the current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes by aboriginal persons, or (iv) any structure, site or thing that is of historical, archaeological, paleontological or architectural significance, or (c) any change to the project that may be caused by the environment, whether any such change or effect occurs within or outside Canada. (Canada 2011b:“Interpretation”). In this definition, the ‘environment’ in EA remains a divisible and knowable entity and projects can be shown to have isolated and particular impacts. Ham et al (2009), in their public resource on participation in EA, argue that the ‘environment’ must be defined more broadly in EA law, to consider not only the biophysical effects of a project but also the social, economic and cultural impacts. Projects have immediate and future impacts on community health, livelihood, traditions and autonomy that risk being neglected by an EA if the ‘environment’ is defined too narrowly. Gibson emphasizes this lack of a holistic approach to environmental factors. He argues that for a sustainable assessment there must be be: “more direct integration of social, economic, biophysical and other considerations; greater attention to systemic complexity and uncertainty; and a higher test for approvals” (Gibson, 2002:157). The tendency to evaluate projects in terms of narrow effects is an extension of understandings of the natural world as external to the social world, as a pristine entity untouched by human influence. However, ‘nature’ in BC and Canada is indeed influenced by human and non-human actors, molding the landscape in both material and discursive ways. Bruce Braun (2002) exposes the problems in this view of nature’s  86 externality, primarily that it impacts First Nations groups, collapsing them into the landscape or erasing them altogether. Jake Kosek (2006) emphasizes the interconnection between the natural and socio-cultural worlds. The natural is constituted by and constitutes the socio-cultural world and vice-versa. One cannot be understood without the other. As such, an attack on the ‘natural’ world is also an attack on the ‘socio-cultural’ world. I expand of this theme further in the following chapters of this work. There are diverging ideas as to how a more holistic approach to EA might be attained. Dakin (2003) argues that environmental management needs to incorporate a broadening of the expert approach to include experiential approaches that are more participatory and locally relevant. Dakin considers an experiential approach to landscape assessment. Experiential approaches embrace a range of landscape values and meanings, acknowledge different subjectivities and encourage participant engagement. For Dakin, experiential approaches, subjective and qualitative, are deemed less legitimate than expert and science-based approaches to environmental management. She describes the experiential approach as a philosophical reorientation to resource management. Traditional approaches to environmental management simplify complex phenomena and reify a ‘mechanistic, utilitarian worldview that emphasizes the methods of science to understand the worlds’ complexities” (Dakin, 2003: 197). Experiential approaches emphasize shared meanings of environmental landscapes and are, therefore, a good starting point for shared decision-making processes. Dakin’s work resonates with Nadasdy and his emphasis on including seemingly extraordinary experiences as research data. Inherent to this approach is the reevaluation of academic research to allow for alternative meanings and sometimes implausible conclusions rather than absolute science.  87 This terrain is multifaceted and the idea of a holistic approach to EA gets caught up in the complexity of ‘sustainability’; while the language of sustainability assumes holism there is little indication as to what this means.  Sustainability Current approaches to environmental assessment in Canada employ a language of ‘sustainability’, the safe and easy way to address ecosystems as a whole and their continued preservation without necessitating concrete practices or a deep examination of what ‘an ecosystem as a whole’ really means. CEAA has as its goal “to achieve sustainable development” by “integrating environmental factors into planning and decision-making processes”, as well as to be a leader in Canada and internationally “in anticipating and preventing the degradation of environmental quality”. The Act also stipulates, “the Government of Canada is committed to facilitating public participation in the environmental assessment of projects” (Canada, 2011b: Preamble”). Sustainability is defined as: “development that meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (Canada, 2011b: “Interpretation”). Sustainability is an often-used word in today’s vocabulary; it has a sense of goodness attached to it, of inherent value. However, in practice there is little agreement over what the term actually means; it is vague and value-based, perhaps a curious choice for the basis of environmental policy in Canada. Rather than encouraging a single interpretation, it has diverging meanings for differing groups (Bell and Morse, 2008). Bond et al. (2010) examine ‘Sustainability Appraisal’ as a decision-making tool in England. They ask, “what kind of sustainability is it (or should I be) trying to achieve?”  88 (Bond et al, 2010:2). For Bond et al., there are weak and strong forms of sustainability, a strong form of sustainability would imply that there is ‘natural capital’ and ‘man-made capital’ and the former cannot be substituted with the latter. Future generations must be able to enjoy the same ‘natural capital’ that exists today. By contrast, ‘weak sustainability’ indicates that what is important is the total capital to be passed on to future generations, be it natural or man-made. Bond et al. do not reference the fact that ‘natural capital’ and ‘man-made capital’ are equally value-laden. Barret and Grizzle (1999) put forward a pluralistic stewardship approach to sustainability, which values “ecocentric, biocentric of anthropocentric systems”, as part of the three central aspects of sustainability: the social, economic and environmental. In this understanding, the predictability of environmental systems is limited and must, therefore, incorporate multiple value systems, creating a pluralistic approach to sustainability. Lindsay Staples, member of the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Joint Review Panel defines sustainability, similarly, as a holistic approach with three pillars, economic, social and environmental. He emphasizes that there must be equity between regions and groups for a true sustainability framework (Personal Communication). The roles of differing regions, groups and agencies create another complication for EA, overlapping jurisdictions.  Jurisdiction Competing jurisdictions confuse the terrain of environmental assessment, both in terms of establishing the review to be conducted and determining the role of different authorities within it. Jurisdictions within EA regimes may be: A federal authority; a province; other federal or provincial bodies with EA responsibilities; resource management boards established by land claim  89 agreements; First Nations communities; foreign governments; international organizations of states. (Ham et al., 2009:11-12) The two principal issues concerning jurisdiction, however, are: federal versus provincial systems of assessment and the consideration of Aboriginal authority over their traditional territories. In recent research and popular discussion, there has been more emphasis on the former than the latter. I deal with issues of Aboriginal jurisdiction in the following chapter. The crown and industry cite overlapping and duplication of provincial and federal EA processes as a problem to be remedied through harmonization, while environmental groups support overlap in what they call a more robust system. On a federal level, there are different EA regimes and regulatory processes on top of the CEA Act and Agency, like the Export Development Act and the National Energy Board that work to make EA more complex. In fact, Canada may have as many as 200 different EA regimes (Nikiforuk, 1997). Furthermore, each province and territory has its own EA legislation or provincial process, at times with further requirements on a regional or municipal level. In addition, EA processes have been developed under Aboriginal land claim agreements, such as the Inuvialuit Final Agreement and the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement. These different agreements, acts and processes on multiple scales, diverge in purpose, scope, timing and consequently, pose a challenge for cooperation. It is sometimes unclear when the federal or provincial government should have the lead role in assessments or when both parties have a responsibility (Van Hinte et al, 2007 Nikiforuk, 1997). Overlap between jurisdictions is often blamed for the failures of the current system and harmonization has been at issue since the late 1990’s. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has advocated for ‘streamlining’ the assessment process with Bill C-9, as  90 mentioned previously. Former Environment Minister, Jim Prentice, cited the benefits of the amendment, as doing away with unnecessary ‘red tape’ and bringing projects into fruition faster. Many within government and the private sector see EA as an impediment to economic growth and a challenge to international competitiveness. Opponents of the Bill worry that attempts towards ‘harmonization’ would have the effect of largely removing the federal component of EA. Hollander (2010) writes about overlap and duplication in the case of Australia: Duplication, overlap and redundancy perform a useful function in a complex policy domain such as the environment where the science is uncertain and the politics fraught. Indeed, what appears as a straightforward administrative reform has effectively reduced the checks and balances that are the hallmark of a federal system of government. (137) Carver et al. (2010) advocate for inter-jurisdictional cooperation to improve the overall process and argue that, in fact, provincial-federal overlap is necessary to deal with the differences between constitutional jurisdictions and Aboriginal rights. They also make a distinction between duplication and overlap; overlap does not always entail duplication, simply a different jurisdictional approach to the same issue. Nikiforuk argues that it is possible to improve federal-provincial cooperation, without doing away with the federal influence. For Nikiforuk, harmonization is simply a means for the federal government to contract out its responsibilities to the provinces. Harmonization should mean one thing: “one good federal law administered by ten provinces and two territories guaranteeing one prudent assessment per significant project in the public interest” (Nikiforuk, iii). Issues of jurisdiction often determine the extent or capacity for public participation in EA.  91  Public Participation Public involvement is written into the CEA Act, though here again, critiques point to a disjuncture between law and practice. The extent of public involvement in the Act is full of uncertainty. Emphasis is placed more on information sharing than genuine public consultation: 18(3) Where the responsible authority is of the opinion that public participation in the screening of a project is appropriate in the circumstances — or where required by regulation — the responsible authority (a) shall, before providing the public with an opportunity to examine and comment on the screening report, include in the Internet site a description of the scope of the project, the factors to be taken into consideration in the screening and the scope of those factors or an indication of how such a description may be obtained; (b) shall give the public an opportunity to examine and comment on the screening report and on any record relating to the project that has been included in the Registry before taking a course of action under section 20 and shall give adequate notice of that opportunity; and (c) may, at any stage of the screening that it determines, give the public any other opportunity to participate (Canada, 2011b). Here we see that the public must have an opportunity for input into the process but the extent of their participation remains largely undefined. A combination of ‘mays’ and ‘shalls’ create flexibility in necessitating public participation at all stages of the EA processes. Furthermore, there is no mention of the incorporation of this participation into final decision-making. A panel or other EA authority can recommend a project to not go through and then the cabinet or Environment Minister can reverse that decision. EA decisions are not binding. Rather, they are a suggestion and can be overlooked if the political situation demands it. There is a great sense that projects are pushed through or denied based largely on political decisions (Haddock 2010, Nikiforuk).  92 Various conditions make public participation more difficult, such as inadequate funding, closed decision-making and a lack of understanding of EA processes. Diduck and Sinclair (1997) argue that education is a crucial process of public involvement in EA. They advocate a ‘critical EA education’ that involves “both education about EA and education through EA” (305) and should result in the empowerment of citizens as well as social action. For Diduck and Sinclair, the public must have access to the dominant documents and discourses of EA processes to then form their own conclusions and counter discourses if relevant. Aboriginal participation complicates the issue of public consultation further. Currently, Aboriginal participation in EA processes is deemed important; however, consultation remains vague and non-prescriptive and does not entail accommodation. It is unclear the extent to which First Nations’ participation will affect decision-making and First Nations do not always have the opportunity to be a part of the decision making-process (Baker and McLelland, 2001). Furthermore, First Nations must decide what their participation will look like and what kind of participation techniques they prefer. Information provided to First Nations must be appropriate to the language and capacity of that group in order to achieve true sharing of information. Timeframes need to be reexamined to allow sufficient time for First Nations to address the material and respond. More time is necessary for the incorporation of TEK. First Nations participation must not only be superficial; their views and concerns must be considered legitimate and substantively integrated into decision-making. Importantly, First Nations must be granted adequate funding to engage fully in any EA process. Baker and McLelland argue that “costs, such as community stress and conflict, if not minimized,  93 cannot be considered reasonable. If the EA process is conducted in a way that promotes stress and conflict, it is unacceptable” (Baker and McLelland, 2001:601). The International Human Rights Clinic (2010) compiled a report on the involvement of First Nations in mining development in BC and concluded that independent and public studies should be commissioned by the government to address potential environmental and health effects of mining projects; the Crown must not rely on the proponent alone for this information. Furthermore, studies must take into account indigenous as well as other knowledges and examine long-term impacts.  Concluding Remarks Curiously, EA practice in Canada does not coincide with or reinvigorate federal environmental priorities. Former Minister of the Environment, Jim Prentice, in the Environment Canada 2009-2010 Estimates Report on Plans and Priorities highlights the governments’ environmental priorities: -A commitment to reduce Canada’s total greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020. -Investments in clean technologies, including next generation bio-fuels and carbon capture and storage. -Continued collaboration with provinces, territories and our partners to develop and implement a North America-wide cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gases. -Active and constructive participation in United Nations negotiations to develop new international climate change agreement (Prentice, 2010). These priorities that address climate change and the need to encourage ‘clean’ technologies are arguably not incorporated into the consideration of new industrial development projects under environmental assessment processes. A discussion paper by the Canadian Environmental Network, commissioned by CEAA, concluded that a primary failure in the environmental assessment process is the lack of direction on  94 environmental priorities in the process (Hazel, 2010). These priorities have been left out of EA, often because of narrow project scoping, isolating impacts and not considering projects in terms of their holistic and cumulative effects and impacts. Hazel argues that EA must be made a serious tool to address these issues. The terrain of EA in Canada is complex and contradictory, a convoluted system caught between federal and provincial bureaucracy. Due to a lack of leadership and directed vision, EA has become a key site to decide industrial development with the authority to make rulings that affect First Nations rights and title. Despite significant issues with regards to Aboriginal and public involvement in EA processes, the integration of TEK, First Nations representation, project scoping, the lack of a holistic approach, the question of sustainability and competing jurisdictions, EA has become a powerful tool of governments and industry with the ability to shape people and places. Environmental assessments must absorb a flexible and expansive evaluation of project impacts, one that considers ecosystems as a whole, fully integrated and inseparable from social, political and economic worlds. We must examine environmental assessment as part of a greater legacy of racial and colonial relations in British Columbia and in Canada as a whole. For EA to be truly an open, accountable and transparent process, it needs to integrate participation on the terms of the people and communities affected. Similarly, the literature that discusses environmental assessment must do the same. I consequently encourage a critique of environmental assessment that is grounded in an acknowledgement and analysis of contemporary post-colonial relations, as well as the use of language and structure that invokes the voices of those affected by EA’s and is readily accessible to the public. The decisions made around environmental assessment will  95 determine the course of resource development and Aboriginal politics in the country. The Berger inquiry has shown us that EA can accept the North as homeland and be healthy for the growth of landscapes and communities for, “In the North lies the future of Canada” (Berger, 1988:13).  96  Chapter 4: Aboriginal Rights: Developed and Dismissed Contemporary resource development projects in B.C. are deeply charged and usually involve some degree of negotiation with Aboriginal peoples on whose territory the projects would take place. Increasingly, such negotiations are mediated through environmental assessment processes and, though not integrated into their intention or design, these processes have become a critical medium for the elaboration of Aboriginal rights (Nikiforuk, 1997, International Human Rights Clinic, 2010). Calgary journalist specializing in the Tar Sands, Andrew Nikiforuk, calls EA in Canada a “Nasty Game” (Nikiforuk, 1997). Indeed its power to make decisions in the terrain of Aboriginal rights also makes EA processes a dangerous game. A recent report by International Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School (2010) examines the effects of mining on First Nations in British Columbia and concludes that neither the government, nor mining companies take Aboriginal rights and environmental concerns fully into account in environmental assessments. They recommend that Aboriginal rights be the basis for any development decision regarding First Nations’ lands and territories and that international human rights and environmental law standards be incorporated into resource development legislation and policy: In short, with regard to development on traditional lands, the government should forefront deep consultation and preservation of what First Nations value so that their core rights- to the integrity of their land and traditions and to management over their resources- are institutionalized into mining decisions. (International Human Rights Clinic, 2010: 14) To understand how Aboriginal rights are mediated in and through environmental assessments, this chapter begins with an outline of the hesitant development of Aboriginal rights in Canada. This will highlight the state’s understanding of these rights  97 and what they fundamentally mean for Aboriginal peoples. I then analyze the environmental assessment process for Northern Gateway and the extent to which it acknowledges First Nations’ authority and constitutional rights. As I demonstrate throughout, the legal and judicial systems that create and solidify these rights serve to reinforce a colonial paradigm, further entrenching inequality and the marginalization of Aboriginal peoples.  Ambiguous and Ill-defined: Aboriginal Rights in Canada From the start of European settlement, Aboriginal peoples were granted fewer rights than settlers and this trend has continued into the present. The new Dominion of Canada was formed in 1867 and over the next century, policies dealing with Aboriginal people involved removing them from their traditional lands and either ignoring their presence on subsequent reserves or promoting assimilation in an attempt to dissolve the ‘Indian’ from the person. The Royal Proclamation of 1763 highlights the contradictions present in the imperial period. The Proclamation at once claims Crown sovereignty and ownership over vast stretches of Aboriginal lands, and establishes the need to ‘protect’ Aboriginal peoples, while acknowledging the pre-existing rights of these peoples. The Nations of Tribes of Indians with whom We are connected, and who live under our protections, should not be molested or disturbed in the Possession of such Parts of Our Dominions and Territories, as not having been ceded to or purchased by Us, are reserved to them. Or any of them, as their Hunting Grounds […] or upon any Lands whatever, which, not having been ceded to or purchased by Us as aforesaid, are reserved to the said Indians, or any of them. (Royal Proclamation) Assertion of Crown sovereignty is enough to ensure its ownership of the land, regardless of the existence of Aboriginal populations. All the while, the Crown promises not to take  98 over lands designated by Aboriginal populations without their agreement. The Proclamation embodies the confused and paternalistic approach to Aboriginal peoples that has extended into the present (Christie, 2005)11. Since the Royal Proclamation, the executive and legislative arms of government and the courts have worked side by side in the definition and elaboration of Aboriginal rights. British Columbia has been in a unique position from the rest of Canada in this regard. In most of Canada, treaties were signed prior to European settlement, in which Aboriginal people ‘ceded and surrendered’ their traditional territories. Rights and title in  11  Royal Proclamation 1763  And whereas it is just and reasonable, and essential to our Interest, and the Security of our Colonies, that the several Nations or Tribes of Indians with whom We are connected, and who live under our Protection, should not be molested or disturbed in the Possession of such Parts of Our Dominions and Territories as, not having been ceded to or purchased by Us, are reserved to them. or any of them, as their Hunting Grounds.--We do therefore, with the Advice of our Privy Council, declare it to be our Royal Will and Pleasure. that no Governor or Commander in Chief in any of our Colonies of Quebec, East Florida. or West Florida, do presume, upon any Pretence whatever, to grant Warrants of Survey, or pass any Patents for Lands beyond the Bounds of their respective Governments. as described in their Commissions: as also that no Governor or Commander in Chief in any of our other Colonies or Plantations in America do presume for the present, and until our further Pleasure be known, to grant Warrants of Survey, or pass Patents for any Lands beyond the Heads or Sources of any of the Rivers which fall into the Atlantic Ocean from the West and North West, or upon any Lands whatever, which, not having been ceded to or purchased by Us as aforesaid, are reserved to the said Indians, or any of them. And We do further declare it to be Our Royal Will and Pleasure, for the present as aforesaid, to reserve under our Sovereignty, Protection, and Dominion, for the use of the said Indians, all the Lands and Territories not included within the Limits of Our said Three new Governments, or within the Limits of the Territory granted to the Hudson's Bay Company, as also all the Lands and Territories lying to the Westward of the Sources of the Rivers which fall into the Sea from the West and North West as aforesaid. And We do hereby strictly forbid, on Pain of our Displeasure, all our loving Subjects from making any Purchases or Settlements whatever, or taking Possession of any of the Lands above reserved. without our especial leave and Licence for that Purpose first obtained.  99 British Columbia are particularly uncertain because very few modern-day treaties exist, though First Nations groups claim much of the land12. For the Crown, the treaties signed in the rest of Canada extinguished Aboriginal rights and title to their former territories, while Aboriginal groups signing the treaties were attempting to mediate tenuous relationships with settler populations. Despite incongruities in the understandings of treaties and the repressive situations in which they were signed, these first treaties at least acknowledged that First Nations did have prior right and title to the territories. Treaties were largely incomplete in BC where settler governments were hesitant to admit such prior rights. The reserves that were allocated to First Nations by the province of BC were ‘given’ to them, unrelated to the much larger tracts of land over which the people lay claim. Since the beginning of European settlement, First Nations of British Columbia have pressed for treaties that would acknowledge their prior right and title to their territories. The BC government, for a long time, refused to recognize these rights, leading to the much contentious ‘land question’ in the province. The now drawn-out and inconclusive system of treaty negotiations in B.C. leaves these issues unresolved (see Harris 2002, Christie 2005, Blackburn 2005). Aboriginal rights exist as legal categories in Canada but it has been left up to the courts to decide the elaboration of these rights, leading to further uncertainty with regard to broad definitions of rights and the tendency to only examine rights on a case-by-case 12  In the years subsequent to 1849, when Vancouver Island became a colony some fourteen treaties were negotiated by Governor John Douglas, also the chief factor of the Hudson’s Bay Company. None were made after 1854 following disputes between the Hudson’s Bay Company, the colony and the imperial government over who should bear the cost of making treaties. No other treaties were establish within BC with the exception of the Treaty 8 First Nations. Made with the Sekani, the Slave and the Beaver in 1898, after BC became a part of the Canadian Confederation, Treaty 8 established evidence that Aboriginal title was recognized (Mills, 1994).  100 basis (Blackburn, 2005). Christie argues that jurisprudence in B.C. must be read through a colonial framework; the courts and government have worked side by side to entrench colonial attitudes to Aboriginal rights. While government has worked to implement dispossessive and marginalizing policies on Aboriginal peoples, the courts have expanded conceptual frameworks to justify the rejection of Aboriginal sovereignty and the denial of Aboriginal lands (Christie, 2005).  From Calder to Taku The legal terrain of court decisions began to open to the possibility of Aboriginal rights with the 1973 judgment of Calder v. Attorney general of British Columbia [1973] S.C.R. 313, [1973] 4 W.W.R. 1, (hereafter Calder), in which the Nisga’a Tribal Council, spearheaded by Frank Calder, argued that Nisga’a Aboriginal title had never been extinguished. There was a split decision on the ruling: six judges agreed that title continued to exist while the other six judges denied this possibility. However, the decision allowed for the possibility that Aboriginal title had never been extinguished in B.C., despite the assertion of Crown sovereignty (Blackburn, 2005). Calder recognized that Aboriginal land interests were pre-existing interests grounded in the occupation of traditional territories before the arrival of settler populations. These interests were recognized in the Royal Proclamation, rather than created. Calder created an opportunity for a renewed legal relationship to the land (Christie 2005, Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, 2011, Calder [1973] S.C.R. 313, [1973] 4 W.W.R. 1). Then, in 1982, the repatriated Constitution recognized the rights of Aboriginal people in Canada. Section 35(1) protects the rights of Aboriginal people stating: “the  101 existing Aboriginal and treaty rights of the Aboriginal people of Canada are hereby recognized and affirmed” (Department of Justice Canada, 2011). Though this statement acknowledges the continued existence of Aboriginal rights, it fails to specify what these rights actually are or how they should be protected. Furthermore, the constitution did not create these rights; it simply recognized their prior existence, and foundation for law. The entrenchment of Aboriginal rights in the Constitution remedied the complete denial of First Nations traditional law but it did not alter the legislative or judicial structures which control how these rights and law are integrated into the overall system (Borrows, 2006). Ronald Edward Sparrow v. Her Majesty the Queen [1990] 1 S.C.R. 1075, (hereafter Sparrow) made some sense of Aboriginal rights in light of their inclusion in the Constitution Act. In this case, Ronald Edward Sparrow of the Musqueam Band contended the accusation that the drift net he was using was longer than permitted under the Fisheries Act. Sparrow admitted the facts of the charge but argued that he was simply exercising his traditional right to fish. The Supreme Court decided that Sparrow was exercising an Aboriginal Right under section 35(1) and the charges were dropped. The ruling found that Aboriginal rights are, in fact, rooted in Aboriginal conceptions of their own interests and in the maintenance of relationships with their traditional territories. Traditional rights, such as fishing, in practice in 1982, cannot be infringed upon without justification due to the Crown’s fiduciary duty to Aboriginal groups (Christie, 2005, Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation 2011, Sparrow [1990] 1 S.C.R. 1075). In 1997 the Supreme Court case of Delgamuukw-Gisdaywa v. British Columbia [1997] 3 S.C.R. 1010, (hereafter Delgamuukw), built on the precedent of Sparrow to  102 establish that Aboriginal rights and title to the land have never been extinguished, especially on territories over which treaties have not been signed. The Gitxsan Nation and the Wet’suwet’en Nation claimed ownership and legal jurisdiction over their hereditary territories, over 58,000 square kilometers in northwestern B.C. The initial decision by Justice MacEachern denied the claimants and ruled that prior to colonization Aboriginal lives had been “nasty, brutish and short” (Delgamuukw [1997] 3 S.C.R. 1010) and that oral traditions could not confirm findings for admissible evidence. The Supreme Court reversed this decision and granted that indeed oral histories can count as legal evidence in a court of law and that the Gitxan and Wet’suwet’en held title to the territory in question. This issue of title is not straightforward, however; it does not signify ownership and jurisdiction but the transformation of certain land interests to the status of property rights. Particularly, Aboriginal land interests can signify rights to land if the interest are grounded in the exclusive use and occupations of the lands since the time that Crown asserted sovereignty on them (Christie, 2005, Delgamuukw [1997] 3 S.C.R. 1010): . . . Aboriginal title encompasses the right to exclusive use and occupation of land . . . Aboriginal title encompasses the right to choose to what uses land can be put, subject to the ultimate limit that those uses cannot destroy the ability of the land to sustain future generations of Aboriginal peoples; and . . . lands held pursuant to Aboriginal title have an inescapable economic component Delgamuukw para 166, [1997] 3 S.C.R. 1010, Thus title signifies the Aboriginal right to use the land in question, including ways it had not been used previously. The Delgamuukw decision requires the Crown to balance, in a respectful manner, Aboriginal rights and non-Aboriginal claims. However, the vague prescription of title means that the court can infringe on Aboriginal title if it does so ‘respectfully’. The Crown has complete authority to determine the terms of reference of consultation- the definition of the land in question, its potential uses and how people will  103 live in relation to it. Consultation does not pertain to Aboriginal visions of the future of territories. Delgamuukw decided that the Crown must consult on how its vision of land use will be carried out and we see the legacy of this decision in the present day (Christie 2005, Delgamuukw [1997] 3 S.C.R. 1010). Haida Nation v. British Columbia (Minister of Forests) [2004] 3 S.C.R. 511 (hereafter Haida) discussed this duty to consult more extensively. The Haida Nation argued that the Crown had not fulfilled its duty to consult regarding the sale of a logging license to Weyerhauser Corporation, over an area of land to which the Haida claimed title. The British Columbia Court of Appeal found that both the Crown and Weyerhauser had a legal duty to consult with Aboriginal groups whose interests may be affected by the sale. The court specified that the nature of this consultation is dependent on the strength of the Aboriginal claim. Rights that are already established under treaty, or prior judicial decisions assessing Aboriginal rights and title to a territory, entail a more thorough consultation or even veto power. Rights that have not yet been established may only necessitate discussion and information sharing around a proposed project. The duty of the Crown is consequently dependent on the strength of claim the Aboriginal nation is able to assemble. In the case of Haida, the court found the claim to rights and title to be strong and ruled that the government’s actions could have a serious impact on these rights and title. The Crown, therefore, had a duty to consult the Haida Nation and likely to accommodate their interests. Haida has become a model for dialogue over unceeded territories. The Haida decision has been seen as a tool to use instead of treaties for Aboriginal nations to protect their lands and resources (Christie 2005, Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, 2011, Haida [2004] 3 S.C.R. 511).  104 Taku River Tlingit First Nation v. British Columbia (Assessment Direction) [2004] 3 S.C.R. 550, (hereafter Taku) was heard concurrently to Haida and also relates to the principle of consultation and the duty of the Crown to accommodate Aboriginal peoples on decisions that may affect asserted but unproven rights and title. A mining company sought to reopen a mine and construct an access road through Tlingit traditional territory. Though the Tlingit participated in the environmental assessment process, opposing the project, the approval certificate was granted. The Tlingit managed to reverse the EA certificate but the Supreme Court ruled that while the Crown did have a duty to meaningfully consult and accommodate First Nations, in this case the Crown had fulfilled its duty. If consultation is indeed meaningful, there is no ultimate duty to reach a unanimous agreement. Accommodation requires that Aboriginal interests be balanced with other societal interests. In the case of Taku, the court decided that the Tlingit had a strong claim to the land but also that they had been duly consulted by the proponent and the Crown and integrated into the environmental assessment process. The Crown is not necessarily required to fully accommodate Aboriginal interests and, consequently, the Crown had done its duty. Negotiations over the road continue to today, complicated by the Atlin-Taku Land Use Plan between the Tlingit and the B.C. government and financial issues for the proponent (Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, 2011, Government of British Columbia, 2011, Taku [2004] 3 S.C.R. 550).  The Politics of Recognition Although advances have been made in the terrain of Aboriginal rights, from Sparrow to Taku and Haida, significant issues remain. Borrows (1997) approaches the  105 acknowledgement and definition of Aboriginal Rights in the Supreme Court of Canada, through the concept of the trickster. The trickster is a character common to First Nations traditions and reveals the incompleteness and partiality of ideas and principles. The trickster is a roamer who attains his goals through contradictory behaviour such as “charm and cunning, honesty and deception, kindness and mean tricks” (Borrows, 1997:40). The trickster encourages a limited and situated understanding of ideas. The story of Aboriginal rights is one of confusion, half-truths and contradiction. Aboriginal rights are partial and incomplete, and Aboriginal traditions that have developed since European settlement are not taken into consideration as ‘distinctive culture’. Canadian courts have yet failed to appreciate that Aboriginal people, like all other people, are simultaneously traditional, modern and post-modern. It should not be specific practices that gain recognition as Aboriginal rights, but practices that ensure the survival of the group. Aboriginal rights are understood narrowly, in terms of the specific rights in question, rather than in a broad and generous manner (Borrows, 1997). Glen Coulthard argues that contemporary Indigenous rights in Canada are enacted under a politics of recognition, which serves to reinforce the colonial paradigm rather than challenge it. The ‘politics of recognition’ refers “to the now expansive range of recognition-based models of liberal pluralism that seek to reconcile Indigenous claims to nationhood with Crown sovereignty via the accommodation of Indigenous identities in some form of renewed relationship with the Canadian state” (Coultard, 2007:438). Coulthard argues that recognition has become the significant form of self-determination enacted and sought after by Aboriginal rights movements in Canada but, ironically, these politics of recognition reproduce the relations of power that Indigenous demands have  106 traditionally attempted to overcome. Crown policy towards Aboriginal peoples has become similarly couched in this language of recognition, replacing previous directly assimilationist approaches. While much of the literature around the politics of recognition has focused on the positive relationship between the acknowledgement of difference and the freedom and health of marginalized groups (Taylor, 1994, Cairns, 2000, 2005), Coulthard challenges the idea that a politics of recognition can significantly transform relations between the state and Indigenous peoples. Based on Franz Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks (1967), Coulthard demonstrates that the strength of the colonial system in Canada is grounded in its ability to entice Aboriginal peoples to identify with and become a part of colonial forms of asymmetrical and non-reciprocal recognition. In colonial settings, Fanon argues that the politics of recognition are established by the colonizer and over time the colonized develops ‘psycho-affective’ attachments to these forms of recognition. Ultimately, unequal political, social, and economic power relations are perpetuated. For a truly transformative praxis, self-recognition, rather than recognition from the Other must be the driving consideration. “The empowerment that is derived from this critically self-affirmative and self-transformative process of desubjectification must be cautiously directed away from the assimilative lure of the statist politics of recognition, and instead be fashioned toward our own13 on-the ground practices of freedom” (Coulthard, 2007:456). This approach acknowledges the potentiality for settler societies to learn from Aboriginal groups, and looks to critically revalue, reconstruct and redeploy culture and tradition to create radical alternatives to current systems of colonial domination. We must, consequently, consider the vulnerable  13  Glen Coulthard is a member of the Dene Nation.  107 framework of Aboriginal rights in Canada with a degree of skepticism and acknowledge the ways in which this framework further entrenches colonial relationships.  International Indigenous Rights Canada is committed to promoting and protecting the rights of Indigenous peoples. Canada’s active involvement abroad, coupled with its productive partnership with Aboriginal Canadians, is having a real impact in advancing indigenous rights at home and abroad. Lawrence Cannon, Minister of foreign Affairs (Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, 2010) On November 12, 2010, Canada formally endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous people. Though Canada has been a part of efforts to produce a declaration on Indigenous rights with the UN since 1985, it voted against adopting the Declaration, along with New Zealand, Australia and the United States for three years. Canada’s hesitation to sign on to the declaration was rooted in issues regarding: Lands, territories and resources; free, prior and informed consent when used as a veto; self-government without recognition of the importance of negotiations; intellectual property; military issues; and, the need to achieve an appropriate balance between the rights and obligations of Indigenous peoples, member States and third parties. (Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, 2010) Despite its hesitation in endorsing the declaration, Canada maintains that it is committed to upholding the rights of Indigenous peoples at home and abroad. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples stipulates a thorough set of guidelines, setting a standard of treatment of Indigenous peoples worldwide, though it is not legally binding under international law. The Declaration outlines the individual and collective rights of Indigenous peoples, and their rights to culture, language, employment, health  108 and education. Above all, it declares the importance of “free, prior and informed consent” of Indigenous peoples, in regards to development on their lands, to their health, traditions and economic subsistence (United Nations, 1997). The UN Declaration encourages a policy in which Indigenous peoples are at the center of deciding their futures and the futures of their land. They have the right to maintain their own “political, economic and social systems or institutions” (United Nations: Article 20), the right “to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned” and the right to the legal protection by the state to these lands, territories and resources (United Nations: Article 26). Furthermore, “states shall establish and implement, in conjunction with indigenous peoples concerned, a fair, independent, impartial, open and transparent process” to make decisions regarding indigenous peoples territories (United Nations: Article 27).14 The  14  Further relevant stipulations of the Act: Article 20 1. Indigenous people have the right to maintain and develop their political, economic and social systems or institutions, to be secure in the enjoyment of their own means of subsistence and development, and to engage freely in all their traditional and other economic activities. Article 26. 1.Indigenous people have the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used and acquired. 2.Indigenous people have the right to own, use, develop and control the lands, territories and resources that they possess by reason of traditional ownership or other traditional occupation or use, as well as those which they have otherwise acquired. 3.States shall give legal recognition and protection to these lands, territories and resources. Such recognition shall be conducted with due respect to the customs, traditions and land tenure systems of the indigenous peoples concerned. Article 27 States shall establish and implement, in conjunction with indigenous peoples concerned, a fair, independent, impartial, open and transparent process, giving due recognition to indigenous peoples’ laws, traditions, customs and land tenure systems, to recognize and adjudicate the rights of indigenous peoples pertaining to their lands, territories and  109 Declaration places indigenous peoples at the forefront of the decisions regarding their futures. The above-mentioned mining report by the Harvard Law School concludes that Aboriginal rights must be a guiding principle regarding the possibility of any development that affects First Nations. This concept of Aboriginal rights incorporates international human rights and environmental law standards, as well as rights in the national context. Most importantly, there must be meaningful consultation with Aboriginal groups, which must be then incorporated into planning processes. Meaningful consultation entails consultation from the outset of a project and importantly, discussions around the type and quality of consultation conducted. It must also include adequate financial support for First Nations to participate fully in processes (International Human Rights Clinic, 2010). The Office of the Wet’suwet’en argues that the Nation has rights and title to the 22,000 square kilometers of their traditional territory. For them, Delgamuukw and other  resources, including those which were traditionally owned or otherwise occupied or used. Indigenous people shall have the right to participate in this process. Article 29 1.Indigenous people have the right to the conservation and protection of the environment and the productive capacity of their lands and territories and resources. States shall establish and implement assistance programmes for indigenous people for such conservation and protection, without discrimination. Article 32 1.Indigenous peoples have the right to determine and develop priorities and strategies for the development or use of their lands, territories and other resources. 2.States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent prior to the approval of any project affecting their lands and territories and other resources, particularly in connection with the development, utilization or exploitation of mineral, water or other resources.  110 court cases, as well as the Canadian Constitution prove that their claim to the land remains unextinguished today and that their rights and interests must be foundational to the discussion of any resource development on their territories. The OW is caught between abiding by processes of the Crown and seeking resolution outside of the systems of settler society. They acknowledge the inadequacy of a politics of recognition, in its inability to move outside of dominant colonial forms of control, discussed in reference to Coulthard. However, to later be able to challenge the decision of the JRP, the OW must fully participate in the process. The Crown and industry are increasingly realizing that Wet’suwet’en agreement is necessary for the success of a project; there, however, remains much to be learned for sufficient consultation and accommodation. The OW argues that their rights and title are not acknowledged in the JRP process for Northern Gateway. This is an overwhelming tension in the process, in that it does not account for First Nations’ rights and their authority over traditional territories.  Northern Gateway: Aboriginal rights, dismissed. The Environmental Assessment Process is not equipped to deal with the past infringement of our title, nor the historical loss of our land, water, salmon, and resources. These must be dealt with on a Government-to-Government basis. We will no longer be beggars in our own country. Judy Wilson (Sexqeltkemc Press Release, 2010) The key to this panel, is their opportunity. If they (Aboriginal groups) don’t tell the panel, then the panel will make their decision without your information. You’re given a venue, you’re given an opportunity and if you chose not to do it, too bad. This is it. Literally. […] This is it. This is the process, this is what your opportunity is. They can only make their decision on the evidence put in front of them. That’s it. I don’t have a choice in the matter. It’s under the NEB Act. Brett Maracle, CEAA Crown Consultation Coordinator (Personal Communication, 18/01/2011)  111 The Joint Review Panel for Northern Gateway does not acknowledge Aboriginal rights according to the Canadian or the international context all the while reinforcing a problematic politics of recognition. Sherene Razack (1999, 2002) emphasizes the role of the law and legal systems in upholding relationships of inequality. I argue that the environmental assessment process for Northern Gateway is a relevant contemporary example. In EA processes, Aboriginal rights are acknowledged and dealt with through consultation and accommodation. The federal Crown has a duty to consult with First Nations groups on decisions that will impact their rights and interests. Chief Justice McLachlin indicated in the Haida decision that this duty to consult does not extend to third parties and cannot be delegated by the Crown. Consequently, the legal duties of consultation and accommodation are held exclusively by the Crown. However, in the assessment of Northern Gateway, the Crown has delegated aspects of these duties to the proponent, Enbridge; the rest is to be filled by the Joint Review Panel: To the extent possible, and with the CEA Agency responsible for coordination, the Parties will work together toward a coordinated approach for Aboriginal consultation that is integrated with the federal review. The Crown will rely on the consultation efforts of the Proponent and the JRP process, to the extent possible, to meet the duty to consult. The Crown will continuously monitor the adequacy or sufficiency of its Aboriginal consultation efforts throughout the federal review and will undertake sufficiency analyses when appropriate in the process. (Major Projects Management Office, 2010, emphasis my own) Hence, Enbridge and the JRP are responsible for fulfilling the Crown’s duty to consultation, “to the extent possible’. I first examine issues of consultation around the project more generally. Then, I turn to the particular case of protocol or communications agreements with Enbridge to explore the particularities of this dismissal of rights.  112  Figure 14: A drum is raised alongside placards in PG, Sept. 2010 (Photo BRH) Fundamentally, the Joint Review Panel for Northern Gateway does not acknowledge First Nations’ authority. As a quasi-judicial body, they are responsible for making a ruling on the information put before them but they cannot stray outside of their jurisdiction to make a decision regarding, for instance, First Nations’ rights and title. They do not consider Aboriginal interests as distinct from other interests; they simply must be measured equally alongside all interests. This approach does not acknowledge Aboriginal rights over their traditional territories or to their right to determine their own future. First Nations who oppose the project have few choices. They can participate in the JRP process or they can abstain. If they do not participate, they lose the ability to contest future decisions in court. Josh Paterson from Westcoast Environmental Law speaks to this fundamental problem with the process: The crown is choosing to do things in certain ways. But none of those ways really account at all for Indigenous authority. That’s the real nub of the issue. For us, it’s  113 not just will they do a good job satisfying the duty to consult, it’s will they respect, rights and title, including the right to make decisions about the uses to which the land will be put. You don’t see that anywhere at all. The way the JRP is structured it’s not possible for them even to consider that. They’re a judicial body, they will consider the evidence put before them, much like a court would do and they don’t have the authority to make accommodation. They don’t have the authority vested in them by the Crown, to give First Nations anymore authority in their process. They can choose the weight that they will give to First Nations’ evidence of course. They may chose to treat that as having a lot of importance and they may chose to weigh other things more heavily against it. But […] these nations that have jurisdiction; their concerns are not just to be weighed against others concerns and hopefully it comes out ok in the balance, that’s not a respectful way of going about it. That’s the way the crown has consistently gone about things, but from our perspective and from the perspective of nations that we have the privilege of working with, that needs to stop. (Personal Communication 25/01/2011) Paterson argues that the very structure of the JRP does not account for Indigenous authority in the manner that it should; Aboriginal law and jurisdiction over their territories impacted by the pipelines has never been annulled by the signing of treaty. The process must consequently account for Aboriginal authority in a meaningful way. Consultation for Northern Gateway takes various forms. Largely consultation happens through communications protocol agreements and work plans with Enbridge, CEA Agency meetings with Aboriginal group and different government ministries (transportation, fisheries etc), JRP panel meetings and hearings, Community Advisory Board meetings and other public events conducted by Enbridge. For the Office of the Wet’suwet’en, these forms of consultation involve a one-way transfer of communication, from the Crown and the proponent, to them: these are not forms of dialogue that acknowledge and accommodate Aboriginal rights and interests. This feeling is echoed by groups across the pipeline route. Carla Lewis is from the Wet’suwet’en First Nation15, a  15  The Wet’suwet’en First Nation is the name of this particular band, not to be confused with the Wet’suwet’en Nation which comprises all Wet’suwet’en.  114 Wet’suwet’en band in the far east of the territory. The Wet’suwet’en First Nation is not participating in the JRP. Carla raises the issue of consultation within the process. This isn’t consultation. […] That’s why we didn’t want to participate in these discussions, because whenever they talk, they say it’s consultation, regardless of us saying that it isn’t consultation. We don’t want to be involved in the process. The NEB measures equally cultural impacts, economic, environmental, social and what we argue is that those things aren’t equal- you can’t measure the life of a river to jobs. (Personal Communication 19/11/2011) While the Joint Review Panel is the primary means to engage in the process, to have Aboriginal voices heard, the CEA Agency is officially responsible for the Crown’s duty to consult. The CEA Agency has appointed the Crown’s consultation coordinator, Brett Maracle, to fulfill this duty. Maracle’s role is to ensure that consultation is sufficient. Maracle is responsible for overseeing the consultation of all groups engaged in the process. This is a big job for a single person residing in Ottawa. Maracle describes the scope of the groups he is responsible for: I’m just trying to work outside of the box, to do something different. I’m always trying to do something a little different. Of course it’s also about getting around to 100 different groups. If you have one meeting a day for 100 different groups, then you are six months on the road completely. I think for the most part, I have probably 30 to 40 groups that are more focused on it. […] I guess over the next three months, we’ll make another round to the groups. I’m going to try to do three workshops across the pipeline, try to keep it down to 20 groups at a time. Some of it will be training some of it will be brainstorming about their point of view. We want to make sure that they have information they need, give them the training they need, have a mock JRP training of what a panel may look like, so they’re not walking into a blind spot. Ask groups what they’d like to see covered. I’m trying to think outside of the box. (Personal Communication 18/01/2011)  115 Maracle raises an important point- that it is impossible to be fully attentive to all groups. In fact, it is up to the groups to decide how engaged they will be in the process, and whether to follow up with Maracle and the CEA Agency on issues of consultation. Josh Paterson speaks to further issues with this approach: They say: […] We expect that almost all your issues are going to be covered in the JRP so really, really you should go into the JRP and provide all your evidence there and if there are any little issues that fall off the side of JRP truck because they can’t be considered by the JRP, we’ll play a little bit of clean up either on the side concurrently with the JRP or afterwards once the court is done. That’s Brett Maracle, as the crown consultation coordinator, he’s supposed to pick up these extra pieces, the one guy for how many hundred bands there are potentially implicated. (Personal Communication 25/01/11) The result is that issues do fall off the side of JRP truck. Consultation for Northern Gateway is not meaningful, nor has it entailed accommodation. As Mike Ridsdale, the environmental assessment coordinator for the OW told me, The biggest challenge I’ve found so far is that industry and government haven’t really realized that consultation is a broader aspect than just saying we’re going to talk about the project. […] They took our words and our quotes and what we wanted to see implemented in the JRP, but none of those commitments were made. (Personal Communication 14/12/10) Mike brings up an important point here, that First Nations were not duly consulted on the terms of reference of the panel, on what consultations should consist of. This lack of sufficient consultation, from the outset of the project, explicitly goes against the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples indicating that there must be the “free, prior and informed consent” of Indigenous peoples as well as fair processes “giving due recognition to indigenous peoples’ laws, traditions, customs and land tenure systems”, with regards to projects on their territories (United Nations: Articles 32, 27). Critiques of environmental assessment processes elaborated in the previous chapter, emphasize that  116 the foundation of consultation must be a discussion around the substance and structure of discussion. The OW emphasizes the importance of consultation from the outset of projects regarding development on their territories. Chief Na’moks notes: Currently the government makes us react instead of being proactive, we’re reactive. They’ll come in and make policy, implementation on either mining, logging or whatever they have going and they’ll come to us and say this is what we decided. Well that’s not consultation. […] But the proponents are starting to realize if they don’t consult with the Wet’suwet’en they’re going to have a harder and harder time. If they come and tell us what’s going on, we do our review, our consultation, our referral package, we do our consulting with the chiefs, the clans, the houses and we tell them, ok these are the changes we need and if you do this before you go apply for permit, then the province or federal government will review it because we’ve got our concerns addressed and it’s dealt with before and not after. (Personal Communication 22/10/10) The OW would like to be proactive, but current forms of consultation, which do not begin when a project is initiated, force them to be reactive. According to Peter Delaney, the First Nations consultation coordinator for DFO, “there’s really nothing to consult on prior to the EA, you really have to get into the game, which is doing the environmental assessment, and our trigger rule, then there’s the working group meeting, then you’re going to find out what all the issues are” (Personal Communication 3/08/2011). Aboriginal groups opposing Northern Gateway are forced into narrow confines of consultation that does not acknowledge their rights or their authority over their traditional territories.  Communications Protocol Agreements with Enbridge Disparate funding of the groups participating in EA processes is a driving source of inequality. The review of EA literature shows that for more equitable processes, sufficient funding must be made available, especially to Aboriginal groups. In the case of  117 Northern Gateway, there is not adequate funding for full engagement in the process, if groups choose to engage. Enbridge, on the other hand, was ranked 18 of the Financial Post’s 2008 list of Canada’s biggest companies by revenue and employs 6,065 employees in Canada and the United States. Enbridge sold ten units for $10-million each to potential shippers in 2007 and 2008, creating a budget of $100-million (Pipe up against Enbridge, 2011). They have teams of scientists, lawyers and environmental consultants. They have put forward expansive media campaigns as well as sponsored sports tournaments and concerts in efforts to gain local community support. Carla Lewis, from the Wet’suwet’en First Nation describes Enbridge’s support of a local golf tournament: The last chief in council in our band, I guess they took a donation from Enbridge for a golf tournament. Enbridge now has on their website, all these pictures from the golf tournament, no one knows how they got the pictures of the golf tournament saying that they sponsored the Wet’suwet’en people in this golf tournament. […] It’s just so sneaky and creepy what they’re up to. (Personal Communication 19/11/2011) Enbridge has the funds to engage in a variety of activities around the project. In contrast, intervener funding has been made available through the CEA Agency and through communications agreements with Enbridge but this funding is generally difficult to negotiate and is by no means comparable to Enbridge’s financial standard. Brett Maracle describes the need for proponent funding: The funding we have is always set up to assist groups, not to pay for everything. Another part of the funding also takes a reality- there’s a proponent out there proposing this project. Some of the costs should be paid by the proponent. If you’re truly concerned about the project and you need to show up to a meeting for a day, maybe if you’re really concerned, you will show up, without being 100% covered. A lot of the groups are able to get quite a lot out of the proponent. I definitely encourage the proponent to go talk to the groups and to get some sort of agreement, capacity funding in place. (Personal Communication, 18/01/2011ß)  118 Individuals and groups opposed to the project are forced to use their own funds and apply for grants to make their participation more viable. Pat Moss, of Smithers’ environmental organization, Friends of Wild Salmon asks, “How do you begin to think about participation because nobody has enough funding to participate fully in every single stage?” (Personal Communication 31/05/10) The Office of the Wet’suwet’en is hoping to use funds resulting from a communications protocol agreement with Enbridge to pay for their participation in the EA. Through communications agreements, Enbridge grants Aboriginal groups funding to participate in discussions around the project. Some groups, like Carla Lewis’, have refused funding from both the CEA Agency and Enbridge, arguing that accepting money from these bodies assumes a degree of their consent and participation in a process and a project that they do not agree with. For others, like the OW, it is an important means to enter consultation. An agreement with Enbridge would fund traditional governance projects around the pipeline, necessary research, an environmental assessment coordinator, as well as travel costs. The Office of the Wet’suwet’en has been negotiating its communications protocol agreement with Enbridge since 2006. Maracle discusses the slow negotiations: I know they (Enbridge) have had that discussion, with the OW. They are ongoing. The OW and a few others are further behind; it’s the ones that, being more vociferous about the process, not liking the process, seem to be the ones further behind with their negotiations with the proponent. Those that were like, ok here’s another project, ya, it’s a panel, we’ll talk to the proponent, we’ll get an agreement to get funding involved, those groups are way further ahead on the funding. It just depends on the group. Every group is different. (Personal Communication 18/01/2011)  119 The OW is deeply frustrated by the pace of the negotiations, and by what they perceive as Enbridge’s disrespect for their culture and traditions. I turn now to a meeting between the OW and Enbridge in September 2010, one step in agreement negotiations. I argue that the meeting and the role of communications protocol agreements within the rubric of consultation concretely demonstrates the dismissal of national and international Aboriginal rights. Negotiations for the agreement have taken place at the OW in Smithers, via telephone and through extensive emailing and mail exchange. Enbridge’s consultation strategy has changed since the project was first proposed; it has been expanded to include three directors, instead of one, to coordinate consultation with Aboriginal communities for the section of the route passing through BC. Initially the consultation team was made up of individuals local to the region, now the interior BC team is comprised of a representative from Calgary and another from Vancouver. The OW commented that the replacement of the old team seemed to indicate that Enbridge was getting more serious about discussions; however, they worried that they would need to start negotiations from the beginning again. The Enbridge team met with the OW in Smithers in a renewed attempt at negotiations. The meeting was held in the OW boardroom, where the hereditary chiefs meet once a month. The walls are decorated with pictures of former and current chiefs, in regalia, in feast halls, in the territories. There are pictures of children, also in regalia, future chiefs, maps of the territories with clans and house groups depicted. On the table, lie the nameplates of the 13 hereditary chiefs, Chief Namoks, Chief Knedebeas, Chief Dzï Ggot, Chief Madeek, Chief Mutt, Chief Wigetimstachol, Chief Samooh, Chief Kloum Khun, Chief Wah tah K’eght, Chief Woss,  120 Chief Wah Tah Kwets, Chief Hagwilnegh and ChifGisday’wa. The presence and significance of these chiefs is felt in the boardroom and the OW representatives attempted to reinvigorate this presence and power in the meeting with Enbridge.  Figure 15: Hereditary Chiefs at water mixing ceremony, Moricetown 2009 (Photo OW) From the start, the Enbridge representatives were keen to personalize the conversation as much as possible, to speak of their lives and families, of dinnertime; one was especially keen to note his Métis heritage. The Office representatives, on the other hand, made no such attempts to reveal their personal lives. For the OW, the very nature of the pipeline proposal, the process, is personal. The OW began the meeting by briefing the Enbridge representatives on Wet’suwet’en background, tradition and governance, Wet’suwet’en 101, as it is called. The office spoke of decision-making and the importance of the feast hall; all decisions need to be reached on the level of the house and the clan. Here the OW was also establishing the need for consultation and communication throughout the clans and the houses and for the funding the OW is seeking from  121 Enbridge. The OW spoke of the frustration the Wet’suwet’en are feeling in regards to the project, the need for funding and the establishment of a communications protocol. The Office would like to reach a decision on all four phases of the protocol from the outset. Enbridge has been hesitant to commit to the later phases, wanting to proceed only with the first and assess the rest afterwards. The office argues that this attitude puts them at a strategic disadvantage, that they need a solid plan on all stages to fulfill their obligations to their territories. They asked about the further steps to having the OW budget approved. Enbridge responded that they are transitioning in dialogue. They would like to focus on the opportunities that they foresee, as well as interests. Here Enbridge reveals an underlying problem of consultation undertaken by proponent to fulfill the Crown’s responsibility; Enbridge, in being a guarantor of participant funding, is able to guide consultation to serve their interests. The Office of the Wet’suwet’en has been clear that they are not interested in Enbridge’s opportunities; they are attempting to establish a communications agreement that will allow them to conduct discussions with their membership.  Figure 16: The route through Wet’suwet’en territory, with clans and houses defined (Image: Francois Depey) Enbridge then indicated that they are seeking OW participation to improve the project proposal, to use traditional knowledge and advice to develop a more environmentally and culturally acceptable project. The Enbridge representatives did not  122 seem to grasp that the OW is against the very concept of the project. The OW does not support the expansion of the Tar Sands or tanker travel on the coast. They want nothing to do with improving the Northern Gateway; instead they seek to oppose the project by reinvigorating their traditional governance structure. A similar issue is seen with the JRP process more generally. Proceedings revolve around mitigations, making the project better; they are not structured around asking questions about the nature of the project itself. Greg Brown, an environmental activist in Smithers speaks of this dilemma: The EA is built, the way the EA has played itself out, ok you have a technical problem, let’s figure out how to mitigate it. So if you want a better pipeline that’s a great way to approach things. If you don’t want a pipeline at all that’s a dangerous way to approach things. (Personal Communication 14/10/2010) The structure of consultation, and the necessity for the OW to obtain funding from Enbridge forces them into these narrow discussions. This aspect of the process is not open, nor does it fulfill Aboriginal rights and the Crown’s duty to consult with Aboriginal peoples. Enbridge made reference to a ‘cartoon’ as they called, it, an animation on the OW website. The animation pictures the proposed pipeline, highlighted by quotations opposing Enbridge by First Nations peoples. The pipelines break and black oil spreads across northern BC. The animation ends with: “The opposition is clear. Respect the voices of the northwest. Stop the pipeline” (Office of the Wet’suwet’en, 2011). The Enbridge representatives were very measured in their vocabulary and ways of approaching this sensitive issue but said that they found the cartoon offensive and disrespectful. They indicated that they intended to pursue consultation in a positive manner and that they cartoon was too explicit for their liking and that it did not encourage goodwill. To date, the animation has not been removed from the OW website. The OW  123 did not address the animation in their response; instead they asked Enbridge about their mandate. Enrbidge answered that it is their goal to engage in a respectful process with the OW, regardless of the outcome, to develop a better understanding of the project within the OW membership in whatever manner is appropriate. The OW responded that they were not interested in having projects sold to them. Towards the end of the meeting, one of the Enbridge reprentatives spoke about the conflict between two realities: the traditional system of governance of the feast system and the business reality of Enbridge. He said there must be compromise on both sides to move forward in a productive manner. We cannot forget that Northern Gateway Pipelines is a business, and underpinning that business is certain business reality. He indicated that if each side was cognizant of the others’ reality a compromise might be reached. He reminded everyone present that Enbridge is a business; they are not the Crown. This is an important point. Enbridge is a business, out to make a profit. This underlying reality shapes their consultation with First Nations groups like the OW. The fact that Enbridge pushed the OW to remove the animation explicitly demonstrates their bias and intention in engaging in negotiations. Given their position as the project proponent, they simply cannot take on the Crown’s responsibility of consultation. Brett Maracle is in charge of overseeing the proponent’s consultation. He receives updates from Enbridge on negotiations, but only when he asks for them: Getting an update of what they’re (Enbridge) doing with groups, so I keep my eye on what they’re doing. Not really, not negotiating anything on the project. Just updates, really, is what I’m getting. But I only get those updates if I plan the meeting and say ok guys it’s time for an update; I want to know where you are with groups. That’s when the proponent can say, ok we’ve been having trouble talking to these couple of groups, so then I can say, ok I’ll go talk to the groups, see if we can get something going, because I want to try and get those communication lines open with everybody if I can, which is sometimes a little  124 more difficult. I enjoy my job. I like working with the groups. (Personal Communication 18/01/2011) Maracle, representing the Crown, is responsible to mediate between groups and Enbridge, helping to create the best possible consultation scenario. This ‘best possible scenario’, however, is clearly problematic; Enbridge has a great deal of authority to determine the terms and the content of Aboriginal consultation and they are not accommodating to opposition. Negotiation around a communications protocol agreement between Enbridge and the OW is ongoing. Almost a year after the meeting elaborated upon above Enbridge has updated their Aboriginal Engagement and Traditional Aboriginal Knowledge volumes. They have included an extensive section on the Office of the Wet’suwet’en, from pages 5-263 to 5-271. Unfortunately the OW never agreed to the inclusion of any of this information and much of it was not written in the context of Enbridge at all, but for a natural gas pipeline, the Pacific Trails Pipelines. The pages outline the lengthy development of meetings between Enbridge and the OW, as well as the ‘Interests and Concerns of the Office of the Wet’suwet’en’. Most of the material is concerned with Northern Gateway’s response to these stated concerns. The OW had no voice in this document, prioritized are the good deeds of Enbridge. For example, in response to the issue of pipeline spills Enbridge specifies: Northern Gateway has carefully listened to the pipeline spill and emergency response concern raised by the Office of the Wet’suwet’en and has offered, on several occasions, to set up technical sessions that would make Northern Gateway’s expert engineers and environmental protection specialists available to the Office of the Wet’suwet’en to answer questions on the structural integrity of the pipeline, the scale and scope of the pipeline corridor, and the emergency response system that would be in place to mitigate any potential compromise in the pipeline. (Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines, 2011c:5-267).  125 The final section on the Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge Program states that: “Northern Gate continues to offer the Office of the Wet’suwet’en the opportunity to complete an ATK study” (Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines, 2011c:5-271). The report does not mention the restrictions Enbridge is placing on this ‘opportunity’. The OW is uncertain as to how this information was appropriated by Enbridge and they have protested to Brett Maracle and the CEA Agency. They have been advised to raise their concerns in the form of the public registry. Only the panel or Enbridge can choose to remove the section regarding the OW from the document. Consequently, a letter of protest has been added to the public registry outlying that the OW did not agree to the information attested to them. This example clearly demonstrates the misdirection of the Crown and Enbridge in regards to consultation. Consultation is not an open dialogue initiated by Aboriginal groups themselves, but a strict process in which these groups play a secondary role.  Further Enbridge Initiatives Other initiatives by Enbridge that form part of public consultation, not exclusive to First Nations, include Community Advisory Boards (CABs) and public forums. In these contexts again we see Enbridge’s engagement in discussions based on their ‘business reality’. There have been repeated instances of Enbridge canceling meetings or their appearance at events. After close to fifty people peacefully demonstrated at a city council meeting in Smithers at the end of August, Michelle Perret, a head manager for Northern Gateway, declined an invitation to participate in a similar meeting in Terrace. She worried that the meeting would be disrupted by troublemakers, that there would not  126 be the opportunity for what she termed a ‘productive’ session (Billiard, 2010). In March 2011, the University of Northern British Columbia had to cancel a series of public forums to be held across the north because Enbridge decided against participating. The forums were to be held in five municipalities and First Nations groups and stakeholders were invited to present a balanced view on the project. Enbridge was to be the only consistent presenter in each of the communities. Enbridge decided against participating because forums organizer and UNCB professor, Ross Hoffman, was unable to find local community members to speak in support of the project. Enbridge decided that they wanted to be involved in the actual planning of the forums. Gina Jordan, communication manager for Enbridge, when questioned about their decline to participate said, “Northern Gateway is committed to public dialogue that will further a genuinely informed stance on our project and would be pleased to participate in public forums that can further educational objectives” (Billard, 2011). Enbridge’s resistance in participating in public forums would seem to indicate, however, that the company is only interested in pursuing educational objectives that support their project. The Crown, by delegating its duty to consult to Enbridge and the Joint Review Panel, is not fulfilling its responsibility to meaningfully acknowledge Aboriginal rights in the environmental assessment process for Northern Gateway. In doing so they are negating national and international standards of these rights. The Crown is acting within a framework of a politics of recognition that reconstructs colonial inequalities but even within this problematic method, their actions fall short. The approach for consultation for Northern Gateway has been to privilege the Crown and Enbridge’s vision while the input and desires of First Nations communities that would be impacted by the pipeline are  127 considered as an afterthought. Enbridge and the Crown are asking First Nations communities what they think about an established project proposal and review process; in doing so, they are dismissing the ability of First Nations to have a fundamental role in guiding the project. This approach is also dismissing First Nations authority over their territories and rights and title. Aboriginal groups in BC are strongly opposed to Northern Gateway as indicated by the Save the Fraser Declaration and the Coastal First Nations Declaration; however, the Joint Review Panel process simply considers Aboriginal interests alongside all other interests. The structure of the process and the secondary role that First Nations peoples are afforded serves to concretely reject Aboriginal ways of understanding and explaining the world. Together the dismissal of rights and the exclusion of ontologies reaffirm and strengthen the colonial narrative.  128  Chapter 5: A Process of Ontological Exclusion This chapter explores the ways in which Aboriginal ontologies are excluded from the environmental assessment process for the Northern Gateway Pipelines Project. The argument presented here works alongside, and is foundational, to the dismissal of Aboriginal rights in the process, elaborated on in Chapter three. To this end, I analyze a particular ethnographic moment to examine if and how Aboriginal ontologies are excluded in the environmental assessment process for Northern Gateway. The scene is a preliminary Joint Review Panel meeting in Kitimat, BC. Before I turn to the specifics of this moment, I engage the broader issue of ontology and how and why it is important to my analysis.  Ontologies Traditionally there has been a divide between ontology, the study of the nature of being, and epistemology, the study of knowledge and how we come to know what is. However, for Mario Blaser (2009), ontology’s focus on the study and description of what exists cannot be separated from epistemology’s consideration of how we come to know what exists, of defining knowledge and explaining how it works. The two as intrinsically linked in the concept of ontologies or ‘worlds’, as he also calls them, that are continuously enacted and stabilized, with porous boundaries between. For Blaser, “these ontologies-worlds are not pre-given entities but rather the product of historically situated practices, including their mutual interactions” (Blaser, 2009:11). Blaser invokes political ontology to ground his analysis, referring on one hand to “the power-laden negotiations involved in bringing into being the entities that make up a particular world or ontology”  129 and on the other hand, “a field of study that focuses on these negotiations but also on the conflicts that ensue as different worlds or ontologies that strive to sustain their own existence as they interact and mingle with each other” (Blaser, 2009:11). Political ontology brings the notion of multiple worlds or ontologies to the traditional concerns of power and conflict of political economy and political ecology. Aboriginal groups organizing against Northern Gateway are doing so based on a distinct ontology. Though problematic, especially considering my own positionality as a white woman from the south, to attach a single understanding to such a diverse amalgam of people, communities and life experiences, there are indeed commonalities which bring together northwest Aboriginal ontologies, particularly of those groups which are forming collectives in their opposition. These groups share fundamental values and understandings of the world, as well as an experience of colonialism, and these create a certain worldview. Importantly ontologies are not static. Nor can they be described in terms of simple binaries of nature and culture, human and non-human, traditional and modern, indigenous and non-indigenous. Though separate worlds exist, ontologies must be understood in relation to each other. In the environmental assessment for Northern Gateway, Aboriginal worlds of Yintahk and interconnection are forced into the processes of the JRP in which modernist ways of knowing dominate. Modernist ontologies are linked to ideas of positivism, which assume the world is a closed and finite system determined by causal forces and that objects are stable and easily categorized. In the modernist tradition the world is inherently knowable (Woodward and Jones a, 2009). Aboriginal and modernist ontologies come into encounter in the JRP in such a way that boundaries are reinforced and purity  130 maintained. Though mutually influenced to a degree, these worlds are generally not porous in the context of the EA but oppositional.  An Ethnographic Moment: Ontological Exclusions and a Colonial Encounter At the end of August and the beginning of September of 2010, three preliminary meetings were held by in Whitecourt, Alberta, Kitimat and Prince George, BC to discuss: “a draft list of issues, additional information which Northern Gateway should be required to file and locations for the oral hearings” (Enbridge Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel, 2011b). These meetings were the first opportunity for interveners to voice their concerns about the project and assessment process to the panel itself. The first meetings in Whitecourt, Alberta on August 10 lasted only a day and found participants in support of the project. The next meetings, lasting for three days, began in Kitimat on August 31 at the Riverlodge Recreation Center on unceded Haisla territory and had a very different tone. The Prince George Meetings came the subsequent week. The following is an account of the Kitimat meetings. I explore different themes as they arose. Five police cars in the parking lot outside welcomed the public, a warning that mischief would not be tolerated as well as acknowledgement of the contentiousness of the issues at stake. Inside, the brightly lit room was set up much like a courtroom; the three person panel sat spaciously at the front, an island between flags of BC and Canada, facing a smaller table for participants who would present their concerns. The panel is, in fact, a quasi-judicial body and the courtroom feeling was no accident.  131  Figure 17: The meeting hall (Photo BRH) As previously mentioned, the panel will consider the evidence put before them, but they do not have the authority to move outside their jurisdiction, to make a decision, for instance, regarding First Nations’ rights and title. They must balance First Nations concerns in relation to all other interests. Consequently, the emphasis on First Nations consultation has not been at the forefront of discussions around the pipeline.  Consultation The issue of inadequate consultation was embedded in the awkward beginning of the meetings. The Haisla were ranked far down on the list of those to speak, but this was their territory, they should speak first. The Heilsuk Band saw the importance of this error and gave up their place. A long line of elders and chiefs from the different communities present that day, entered the room in full regalia, drumming and singing. This entrance marked a moment in which the spatial segregation of the room was disrupted. The elders  132 circled the room, monopolizing and transforming the static space. Several of them eventually took their seats at the front; their bright regalia a stark contrast to the subdued panel. Dolores Pollard, Haisla Chief Councilor, welcomed everyone to the territories and spoke of the lack of cultural sensitivity on the panel. The panel had not followed protocol- they did not contact the Haisla to ask permission to enter the territory and to hold the meetings. Furthermore, a representative of the panel had presented her with a gift in the hallway. For the Haisla, Pollard said, “gift-giving is not a small thing. We do it in front of the whole community. We don’t do it in a hallway”. It was clear, from the outset of the session, that the panel had little knowledge of the traditions and protocol of the First Nations present that day, of their issues and understanding of the project and the process.  Figure 18: Dolores Pollard: “We don’t need Enbridge on the Douglas” (Photo BRH) This lack of cultural sensitivity is reflected in the attitude of Michelle Perret, a senior manager for Enbridge. When questioned about resistance to the project at a Community Advisory Board meeting in Terrace following the JRP sessions in Kitimat, she asked, “Is  133 it about a lack of understanding about the pipeline? I don’t know what other reason it might be” (Personal Communication 22/09/11). Pollard made reference to the cultural insensitivity of the panel. I argue that the panel’s approach to the planning and structure of the meetings, as well as this quotation from Perret, however, represent more than cultural insensitivity; they reflect the reinvigoration of the modern ontology by the suppression and containment of Aboriginal ontologies. As Blaser (2009) describes, ‘other possible worlds’ are not known to exist. These examples from Perret and the Panel demonstrate their reticence to move beyond the modern ontology. In doing so, they bolster the perception of its infallibility, overlooking the possibility for alternative ways of seeing the world.  The Nation Gerald Amos, Haisla Councillor, stood next to Dolores, draped in a Canadian flag. His was an important message: “I don’t wear this flag over my shoulder lightly. It’s not simply a stunt. It’s a message that we are part of Canada, although we do have unfinished business, as they say, with the governments” (Enbridge Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel, 31/8/2010). The idea of ‘Canada’ was ever-present in the meetings as it is in the campaign around Enbridge and its opposition. Different ideas about Canada and varying national mythologies, are being monopolized by different actors in this process. For Enbridge, the greater Canada nation will benefit from the project, with jobs, wealth and general prosperity. Enbridge CEO, Patrick Daniel has said: “This isn’t just another Alberta oil and gas project. This is a nation-building project” (quoted in Penner, 2011). It is an issue of development, in a linear sense, of bringing and extending  134 civilization northwards and westward. For Enbridge, the project is in the ‘public interest’ of all Canadians, including and the First Nations groups whose territories the pipeline would traverse. They are being promised equity shares and jobs (Enbridge Northern Gateway, 2010a/b, 2011a/b). This Canadian mythology is one that privileges development, industry, business, moving forward. It does not acknowledge Aboriginal pasts or Aboriginal claims to the present and future. It is a national mythology that emphasizes whiteness alongside oil extraction and export, in which Aboriginals figure as objects of development rather than subjects of their own destiny. Presenters in Kitimat, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginals alike, spoke of the nation in a different sense, in terms of the strength of their communities, of the beauty and integrity of the land and their ties to it. They spoke of energy futures and an economy dependent of ‘the most destructive project on earth’, as the Tar Sands have been termed by environmental groups (Brown et al., 2010). Haisla Councilor Amos emphasized the partiality of his relationship to Canada; ‘unfinished business’ remains. Chief Na’moks of the Office of the Wet’suwet’en echoes this sentiment of being a proud Canadian, “I’ve never left Canada. I love Canada. […] I’ve got everything I need in Canada. I can go from water to desert to valley to the mountains and back to the water again. Why would I want to go anywhere else?” he asked (Personal Communication 22/10/2010). However, the Office of the Wet’suwet’en would like to negotiate on a government-to-government basis with the Crown. They are a part of Canada but their relationship therein needs to be acknowledged as well as their continued authority over their lands. Justice Berger, in his Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Report, emphasized the need to think about ‘Canada’ in debates over resource development as well; “In the North lies the future for Canada”  135 (Berger 1988:13). Berger appreciated the difference between the North as a frontier, for industry, the South and the Crown, and the North as a homeland for the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples who live there. Different conceptions of Canada are fostered in these different understandings of the North. According to Berger: If we build the pipeline, it will seem strange, years from now, that we refused to do justice to the native people merely to continue to provide ourselves with a range of consumer goods and comforts without even asking Canadians to consider an alternative. Such a course is not necessary, nor is it acceptable. (Berger 1987:264) For Berger, we must treat the North as a homeland, acknowledging the communities that live there, rather than thinking of progress simply in terms of economic development for the rest of the country. The discussion over Enbridge’s pipeline encompasses diverging ideas of Canada; however, those mythologies that run counter to the dominant discourses of progress and development, those emanating from Aboriginal ontologies, are rejected.  Regional Representation Outside of the official meeting place, a rally of perhaps a hundred people from across the Northwest had gathered to demonstrate their opposition to the project. Many of the chiefs and politicians who spoke inside the meetings also spoke on the stage set up in the rain. Local musicians played. People danced, clapped and waved placards. Nathan Cullen, NDP MP for the Skeena-Bulkley Valley, spoke passionately: “How do we believe that this three person panel will have the wisdom to make a decision on this project?” he asked. Government and industry insist that the JRP has the wisdom necessary.  136  Figure 19: The rally outside the meetings (Photo BRH) For Michele Perret of Enbridge: “They (the JRP) are pretty comprehensive as you probably saw, you can see in our application. […] It is very comprehensive. Rigorous. Rigorous approach” (Personal Communication 22/09/2010). Opponents are adamant that the panel is illegitimate and not capable of making a decision. Residents of Northwest BC worry about the lack of regional experience on the panel, especially regarding First Nations territories without treaty. Hans Matthews is the Aboriginal constituent on the panel, but being from the Wahnapitae First Nation in Ontario, where treaty has been signed, his experience is foreign to the situation in BC. The other members of the panel, Sheila Legget and Kenneth Bateman, are both from Calgary and also lack appropriate regional and First Nations’ experience (Enbridge Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel, 2011a). The panel has been superimposed on a foreign landscape, uprooted and floating. For David Belford, of the Office of the Wet’suwet’en, “the JRP process is just that, it’s a  137 process. It’s a government process created by bureaucrats in Ottawa and it’s not representative” (Personal Communication 30/09/10). In 2006 when Northern Gateway was first proposed, the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council, petitioned for a separate and parallel First Nations Regulatory Process that would deal explicitly with Aboriginal issues on their own terms (Carrier Sekani Tribal Council, 2010). Brett Maracle describes the proposal’s refusal: Do you really want to be doing an EA outside of the process, twice? […] Right now the government of Canada has made a determination that where there is a panel, we’re using that process. Groups seem to think that we’re doing an EA outside a panel. No, the panel is doing the EA, not me. They’re doing the environmental assessment which includes use of lands, cumulative effects, all these other issues. that’s part of EA legislation. If the panel’s doing the EA, it should be done once, it shouldn’t be done two or three different times, what some of the groups have asked for. Duplication of effort and multiplication of costs. […] Really if they want to do something on their own and submit a report to the panel about their own findings, there’s nothing stopping them from doing that. We’re just not going to fund that- because that’s not what keeping with our funding program, because our funding program is set up by treasuring boards specifically to be involved in the EA and the EA in this case is the joint review panel. So that’s it. (Personal Communication 18/01/2011) The government’s current approach to environmental assessment is about reducing timeframes and duplication. The Carrier Sekani and the other First Nations that signed on to a separate process have one possibility for their involvement: they can engage in the JRP and submit to the panel. ‘That’s it’. The proposal was denied. Josh Patterson of Westcoast Environmental Law speaks to these issues: I have certain concerns about the extent to which the JRP is going to be able to make, it’s not under their jurisdiction to make determinations on rights and title issues, accordance have been reasonably clear on that and we think it’s quite inappropriate that, or I think as a lawyer, and Westcoast believes it’s inappropriate  138 that the Crown is really trying to force all the First Nations into the review panel, refuse to consider any kind of alternative ways of looking at the project. What numerous First Nations were saying for some time was that they wanted, an alternative review process, either jointly with the Crown or independent of the Crown. A process that respects their jurisdiction and authority over their land that would look at the project and make a decision on it. (Personal Communication 25/01/11) Others object to the foundational role of the National Energy Board in the process. The NEB’s mandate is to develop energy projects in Canada. As Pat Moss, head of Friends of Wild Salmon, an environmental organization based in Smithers notes, “the NEB is going to carry a lot of weight. It definitely has a feeling of the fox guarding the chickens. Their whole raison d’être is to get energy projects going and they rarely turn anything down” (Personal Communication 31/05/2010). Opponents worry at the ability of the JRP to consequently make a balanced decision on the project. Brett Maracle also supported the view that the panel is heavily weighted to the NEB. The JRP is the main actor. They’ve got the NEB act and the CEA act. They’ve got two rules. EA reports, NEB act decision. NEB, NEB NEB, a lot of people do thisI get myself caught in it all the time. It’s the Joint Review panel for this project. There are two members from the NEB. T[…] So under the NEB act, they’ve got lots more stuff to consider. That makes a big difference, that’s why it’s a little more weighted to NEB, because of that bigger role. (Personal Communication 18/01/2011) The NEB has denied almost no project, generally granting approval with lists of necessary mitigations. Maracle also speaks to the inflexibility of the NEB, in comparison to other review panels. Maracle makes attempts at negotiation, but he can only move as far as his jurisdiction allows: In this case, with an NEB panel, it’s a pretty defined process. […] Whenever it’s a joint panel, […] we always have to negotiate. Groups say- why didn’t you add that in? I tried to negotiate there but didn’t get it. That’s a factor too- we can only negotiate as far as our jurisdiction will allow us to push. CEAA is pretty open group, we always try to push for more open, relaxed process, so that the public  139 and Aboriginal groups can get more involved, easier. Without being afraid of sitting in front of a judge or a panel of judges. Sometimes it can feel like that. (Personal Communication 18/01/2011) Groups protest the inflexibility of the JRP, of the mandate of the NEB and their power in this process. These issues were raised in speeches in the rally outside the meetings. Energy radiated through the crowd. This excitement was subdued in the meeting hall.  Time, Structure and Yintakh The meetings reconvened after a break for lunch and the room quieted from the morning’s excitement. One after another Chiefs, concerned individuals, environmental groups, fishermen, and lawyers sat before the panel. Chief Archie Robinson of the Coastal Kitasoo addressed the panel. He is an older man and his accent thick. Chief Robinson began to speak but he was stopped abruptly by panel member, Bateman asking him to: “Please state your name, spell your name please” (Enbridge Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel, 1/9/2010). Chief Robinson spoke at length of the impacts of reserve system, of the history of his community, Klemtu. He spoke of a people who are not opposed to development; they simply want development that is healthy for their communities. He is very concerned about trade networks being disrupted by the pipeline. Bateman interrupted Chief Robinson again and reminded him of the time limit. Chief Robinson, cleared his throat and responded in a soft but aggressive voice: “You’re talking about a tanker route going through my territory, you better ask permission” (Enbridge Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel, 1/9/2010). Later that day, a younger woman, Jasmine Thomas from the interior Saikuz First Nation, was also stopped mid-speech. She responded with more fury than the Chief: “The Government of Canada has -- we have  140 listened to for 100 years. You will listen to me for 15 minutes,” she said (Enbridge Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel, 1/9/2010). Time restrictions and the structure of the meetings had severe impacts for the type of knowledge that could be conveyed. Chief Archie Robinson and others who spoke of the fundamental link between the land and communities, were attempting to express more than scientific fact. They were attempting to convey an ontology- a way of understanding and experiencing the world, one of interconnection and dependence. The Wet’suwet’en have a term for their territory, “Yintakh”. David deWit, told me that: Yintakh is not just a word, it’s almost a philosophy and it not only refers to the territory; the territory is comprised of the trees, the soil, the insects, the birds, the fish, and also human beings and each action affects another component. The health and well-being of a territory, reflects the health and well-being of a people. (emphasis my own, Personal Communication 29/10/10) Yintakh comprises one of the fundamental laws of the Wet’suwet’en, a philosophy of respect and appreciation. It is attached to Wiggüs, the philosophy of respect and humility for all things. The OW argues that the JRP is dictated by a Eurocentric, linear way of thinking, one that divides the project into site specific and bounded entities. The process does not account for the land in a holistic sense, in the sense of Yintakh. Instead, it depends on scientific evidence, on facts and the ability to mitigate potential problems. It is not open to Aboriginal ontologies of interconnection and interaction that are often difficult to summarize in a thirty minutes, recorded, logical and self-contained.  141  Figure 20: Fog on the lower Skeena River (Photo BRH)  David deWit and others at the Office of the Wet’suwet’en do not speak of idealized traditional ways relegated to the past. Their relationship to the land, extending for generations, shapes their experience of resource development in the present. For deWit, “Wet’suwet’en culture is not found in the archives, it’s not lost. We’ve retained and held onto our hereditary social and governance structure and our culture is alive today” (Personal Communication 29/10/10). Importantly as Klaseet, a Wet’suwet’en elder told me: “The Wet’suwet’en are not opposed to development. […] Today it is my responsibility, I have to take care of the land to the best of my ability” (Personal Communication 14/10/2010). Chief Na’moks had a similar message: We’re not against industry, we’re not against moving forward, we’re just against the way they’re doing it. They can’t bring a project onto the territories that is going to threaten our way of life and say the Wet’suwet’en have no voice in this. It’s not a fait accompli until we say it’s a fait accompli. […] Our culture’s not static, our people are not static, we haven’t sat still while progress has happened. Our people have adapted, they’ve moved ahead.  142 (Personal Communication 22/10/2010) The Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have evaluated the project and have decided that it will not encourage the healthy growth of their people. They have decided that even the construction of the pipeline, never-mind the risk of an oil spill in their watershed, is not worth the benefits of revenue-sharing and jobs that Enbridge is proposing. Antonia Mills (1994, 2001), one of the anthropologists working on the Delgamuukw court case, writes extensively on the Wet’suwet’en spirit of the land, especially in regards to reincarnation, that is not readily absorbed by government officials and industry. Reincarnation carries little weight within western institutions but it shapes Wet’suwet’en understandings of their territories, responsibilities to them and the deep interconnection of land, lives and spirit. “The kinship ties are strong within and between lives, and the kinship is also with the land” (Mills, 2001:320). The knowledge of the best places to trap and fish reveals a very intimate knowledge of the land, one that reaches out from the present life to past-life memories. For Mills, rebirth signifies “the many ways of knowing and the many ways of learning” (Mills 2001:321), ways which the government, industry and the JRP panel have difficulty accepting. Aboriginal groups are not the only ones to speak of the land in this holistic sense. Indeed Aboriginal and non-Aboriginals alike, in opposing the pipeline, evoke understandings of ecosystems in which all parts are interrelated and mutually influential. Tony Harris is a fly fishing guide who has fished the Wedzin Kwa, the Morice-Bulkley, for more than thirty years. Tony argues that the Joint Review Panel for the Enbridge pipeline does not respect the uncertainty of ecosystems and particularly salmon populations in rivers in British Columbia. Tony speaks of the mystery of salmon:  143 You destroy that environment, what does it take to bring it back? Would it be a 100-year cycle for it to recover and repair, for fish that might be damaged? Is it a 1000-year cycle, a five year cycle? We just don’t know about the fish at all, we really don’t. What’s happened to the Fraser River sockeye, the Skeena River sockeye? We just don’t know. I was on the Morice for 15 or 16 years and I never saw any sockeye. I mean you see one, maybe or 2, last year I saw hundreds. What have they been doing for the last 15 years? It was a mystery to me. No one knows where they go in the ocean or what they do when they’re out there. We just don’t know enough to be messing with it I don’t think. Anyone who claims that they know what’s going one I think is bullshitting you. Right now we have this fantastic food source swimming to our feet. That literally you can grab, you don’t have to fly anywhere, it’s just swimming kilometers up to your feet and you want to risk that so you can drive more cars in China? (Personal Communication 15/07/2010) Tony reveals the unknownability of ecosystems, ecosystems that Enbridge and the JRP claim to be able to know and quantify, to be able to predict impacts and establish mitigations. Salmon are indeed a mystery and attempts to change and meddle with them have had disastrous consequences in the past.16  Figure 21: Skeena River Sockeye salmon (Photo OW)  16  See conclusion for the example of Hagwilget Canyon  144  Future Hearings In Kitimat, the meetings carried on for another two days. Repeatedly the panel heard that communities are not in favor of the pipelines and that the JRP process does not properly represent them. The coastal Heilsuk nation addressed the panel. Chief Harvey Humchitt spoke of the deep ties of his nation to the land, of a culture that is thriving in the present, not a fixed entity of the past. He said that the process is flawed because his chiefs do not have the opportunity to speak in the process and he invited the panel to Bella Bella. Hearings must be held in all communities affected for everyone to be heard. This sentiment was echoed by everyone who sat before the panel; the panel was repeatedly told that hearings should be held in all communities. Pat Moss, of Friends of Wild Salmon, even proposed that there be hearings all across the province and not simply in those communities directly affected. For Moss, Northern Gateway is about more than isolated impacts of the pipeline path; it is about our energy future and environmental policies in Canada. Consequently, there must be hearings in Vancouver, Victoria and the southern interior, as well as in the North.  A New Vocabulary The three person panel attempted to end the meetings graciously. Matthews thanked the Haisla for their lesson in cultural sensitivity. Bateman noted the high caliber of thought and Legget remarked on how much the panel had to learn- she was referring here to the translators who were stumped by new words and vocabulary. This reference to the need for a new vocabulary is revealing. The current JRP cannot translate, cannot  145 comprehend the messages of those who come to speak. Despite a team of highly trained translators, assistants and workers with a background in law, energy development and Aboriginal concerns, significant gaps remain. Indeed more than a vocabulary is still to be learned for the JRP. For a truly open and equal process, Aboriginal ontologies must be recognized and allowed to exist and be relevant. According to David deWitt, “There’s a whole ecosystem chain that the Wet’suwet’en appreciate and that’s what’s not being recognized in review processes” (Personal Communication 29/10/2010). 17 Sherene Razack (2000, 2002) helps me to understand what happened in Kitimat as a moment in which subjects, races, nations and states were produced by concrete practices. The space of the meetings produced and maintained unequal social relations and unequal social relations, in turn, shaped this space. We must consider the different journeys that brought together those at the meetings. Actors do not enter into the discussion around the pipeline as equals; rather they are marked by unique journeys and ontologies. The meetings were organized by the JRP; excluded from the conversation were the Haisla, on whose territory the meetings were to be held. The agenda was also set by the JRP, topics to be discussed were predetermined, the order of presenters was 17  The JRP released its conclusions from the meetings in Whitecourt, Kitimat and Prince George in January 2011. The panel determined that Enbridge must provide further information on the design and risk assessment of the pipelines. Hearings location would be throughout BC and Alberta in accordance with proximity to the pipelines and marine components. The broad list of issues was elaborated and clarified. In terms of scope, the panel will not consider impacts of the pipelines to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, Tar Sands development, ‘downstream’ uses of oil and fuel, or a discussion of Canada’s energy future. The panel did not substantively address issues raised by First Nations peoples with regards to their decision-making authority in the process. The primary way for Indigenous peoples to have their concerns addressed is through consultation with Enbridge and participation in the JRP. Furthermore, the panel neglected to address the inadequacy of Crown consultation and the failure to recognize First Nations’ authority over their lands (Westcoast Environmental Law, 2011, Enbridge Northern Gateway Project Joint Review Panel, 2011c).  146 established in Ottawa, and strict time limits were enforced for presenters. The spatial segregation of the room, with the panel at the head, facing a smaller and cramped table for presenters, reinforced these unequal social relations. Importantly though, there were moments in which the space of the meetings was disrupted, by the elders who circled the room drumming and singing, by presenters who spoke back and most simply by the stories and the passion that was carried in the words of those who faced the panel. The rally outside also created an alternative space, rejecting the strict confines of the meetings inside, where community groups, environmental advocates, individuals and Aboriginal communities had authority of who was to speak and how. These moments and sites infused the meetings with the sense of a different way of understanding the world, of a different ontology and epistemology. Still, much is to be done for true acceptance by the JRP that these alternative understandings in fact exist and are strong. Blaser (2009) refers to ‘uncontrolled equivocation’, the disjuncture between those whose worlds or ontologies are different. Underlying these misunderstandings is unawareness that different worlds, in fact, exist and are being enacted. The modern world or ontology works and maintains itself by suppressing or containing the enactment of other worlds. Important here is the approach, “for at stake are not different cultural perspectives on the world but the very assumption that this particular world of one nature and many cultures, rather than a relational world of humans and fully agentive nonhumans, is the ultimate reality” (Blaser, 2009:17). The meetings in Kitimat can be understood as such an example of uncontrolled equivocation, of the modern ontology reasserting itself by the suppression of alternative worlds. According to Blaser, “indeed, if Indigenous worlds and ontologies were taken seriously, the modern constitution would  147 collapse” (Blaser, 2009:18). Those people who presented their concerns in Kitimat were not simply presenting a different account of the world, they were enacting a different world altogether. The Joint Review Panel and the very structure of the review process reifies modernist worlds of strict timelines and simplistic understandings of isolated impacts to peoples and landscapes. The spatial segregation of the room encouraged unequal power relations, proper protocol was not followed in planning and structure of the meetings, and peoples words were forced into short segments of translatable information. If Canada wants to change its relationship with its First Nations peoples and its democracy, we must consider why these alternative ontologies are ignored. Indeed opening up to Aboriginal ways of knowing would pose a major threat to environmental assessment as it exists today and more broadly to the functioning of the Canadian state.  148  Chapter 6: Your Voice, Our Future: Working Together for the Betterment of All Your Voice, Our Future is the Wet’suwet’en Nation response to the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline, a project that would transport Tar Sands bitumen from Bruderheim, Alberta to Kitimat, British Columbia. Intended for a Wet’suwet’en audience, the film is an attempt to educate the community around the threat of the pipeline to Wet’suwet’en territory. It is a story of one First Nation in northern British Columbia strongly rebuilding and reclaiming their identity in the face of industrial development on their lands. The Enbridge pipeline has rallied the Wet’suwet’en and communities across BC to stand together in opposition. The canyon is also spiritual place. I was taught when I go on the bridge I always start with where the river is leading. And I let all my bad energy go; if I’m mad I let it go. Caryssa Nikal It’s a living water and it’s a clean water. Chief Samooh This is our lifeblood, this is our food, this is where our food comes from. Mike Ridsdale The rivers are the lifeblood of the Wet’suwet’en. This is the blood that rushes through our veins everyday. Without our rivers we become nothing. We have to look after these rivers, we have to make sure that nobody comes and threatens our rivers, our way of life, our very souls. They cannot do that. Chief Na’moks. You look at the river and the river is the lifeblood of the Wet’suwe’ten because it nourishes the land, the animals, the plants, it nourishes us. Chief Na’moks It’s going to affect the wildlife is what I’m thinking about. There’s quite the activity going on when a person take the time to study the animals. All the different animals, they all have their own trails and they don’t disturb other trails, other animals use. Chief Gisday’wa We will live off the land with clean water and safe food, our salmon, our wildlife. Chief Samooh My grandmother fought for this in the courtcase and won the case.  149 Virginia deWit Wet’suwet’en culture is based on through the land, through the water, through the fish, through the bear. Everything. Lloyd Spencer Morris Jr. Wet’suwet’en culture is not found in the archives, it’s not lost. We’ve retained and held on to our hereditary social and governance structure and our culture is alive today. David deWit The hunting that we do on the land. The berry picking that we do in the summertime, the gathering of herbal medicinal plants that we use. The fact that we can gather on the land, as a family, as a clan, as a house, would be destroyed. Violet Gellenbeck. I believe in the three L’s: our law, our language and our land and if we lose one, we lose a piece of our culture. Dolores Alfred The salmon and the rivers that we have is pristine and if you look in the world they don’t have anything like we do. Karen Nyce Whatever man builds is going to break. Chief Madeek When the ecosystem is disturbed, the We’tsuwet’en are disturbed. What hold us together is our culture, our land and the belief that we will always be here as long as we look after the land itself. Chief Na’moks We have a word for our territory and it’s Yin Tah. But it’s not just a word, it’s almost a philosophy and it not only refers to the territory the territory is comprised of the trees, the soil, the insects, the birds, the fish, and also human beings and each action affects another component, something that happens in the water will affect the bugs, the bugs, what happens to them, they feed the fish and there’s a chain reaction, with the ecosystem, the foodweb. The health and well-being of a territory, reflects the health and well-being of a people. David deWit The Wet’suwet’en like the Gitxsan have laws, laws of the land, laws of conduct and ecological laws. Ron Austin  150 For the Wet’suwet’en it’s a way of life. Yes we fish but we need to ensure that the water is clean. Yes we hunt but we need to ensure that there’s food. Yes we trap, yes we pick berries, yes we get our medicines from the territory and those rights collectively are uses and title is the management of those uses, the decision making powers that our clans and house groups and our ‘Dinï ze, ts’akë ze’, skiy ze’ (Chiefs) have. David de Wit18 In the early stages of my research with the Office of the Wet’suwet’en I learned that an effective form of opposition to the project would link the impacts of the pipeline to impacts on culture and way of life existent from before settlement until the present time. I later realized that this is also how strength of claim is determined. A link must be demonstrated between uses of the land in the past and continued uses of the land in the present, as expanded upon in Chapter three (Christie, 2005). Sitting by the river one lunchtime, I realized how simple and clear this link is. The salmon economy is threatened by the Enbridge pipeline. Wedzin Kwa, the Morice-Bulkley River remains a powerful force for the entire community in the area, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal alike. Life revolves around the river. An impact to the river would be an impact to the entire ecosystem, and the community- indeed they are one and the same, bound together, dependent and interrelated. David deWit, the manager of the Natural Resources Department, suggested the idea of a film as a means for my contribution to the office. David has been coordinating the Office’s efforts around Enbridge, ensuring that the overall goal of traditional governance is at the forefront of all campaigns. Mike Ridsdale, the environmental assessment coordinator, was hired explicitly to engage with Enbridge. It is an ongoing  18  All of the above are quotes from the film: Your Voice, Our Future which can be found at www.wetsuweten.com  151 goal of the office to engage the Wet’suwet’en membership in their projects; for traditional governance to be fully functional, the whole community must be involved in decision-making. Fundamental to this kind of involvement is shared knowledge around decision making. Oftentimes the community is too preoccupied with daily life and struggles to be aware of the multiple facets of treaty negotiations and development proposals that the OW is faced with. Education around Northern Gateway and the impacts of the pipeline to the territories is vital for the office to move ahead in their opposition to the project. Initially we planned to use prior footage taken and create a slideshow with a voice-over narration. I began to collect footage but eventually realized that it would be easier and more interesting to put together a film based on interviews with people from across the Wet’suwet’en membership. I began with those in the Natural Resources Department. We formed a plan of the topics we wanted to cover: Wet’suwet’en culture today, with a focus on the land and the rivers to underline the fundamental relationship between the Wet’suwet’en and their territories; rights and title and the Delgamuukw Gisdaw’ya courtcase to emphasize that the Wet’suwet’en are responsible for decisionmaking on the territories and must keep them safe for future generations; the proposed pipeline project and the risks to Wet’suwet’en lands and waters; and the greater movement in opposition against Enbridge, to situate the fight of the Wet’suwet’en within the fight of other First Nations, environmental organizations and communities across B.C. From these interviews with the office, I expanded into the community, first interviewing chiefs associated with the office, then prominent elders, a young man I met  152 hitchhiking, highschool students in a Wet’suwet’en education class and fisheries workers in Moricetown canyon. The film tells the story of part of what is missed in the Joint Review Panel for Northern Gateway; the story of one First Nation community attempting to safeguard their culture and traditional territories. The film provides a space for the Aboriginal ontologies, rejected in the EA process, to be expressed and nurtured. It weaves together the voices of members of the Wet’suwet’en community, high school students, young people, men, women, elders, and chiefs, into a collective narrative about the strength of community and deep ties to the land. We learn the importance of the land and rivers to who the Wet’suwet’en are as a people and the risks of a pipeline to these sacred places. The goal of the film is to create an educational tool for distribution to the Wet’suwet’en membership, to encourage participation in the Office’s opposition to the project. The OW has been strategic in mobilizing opposition to the project; engagement in the environmental assessment process revolves around traditional governance, rights and title and the power of the hereditary chiefs. Rights in this sense implies a reciprocal relationship with the land; they are its guardians and may reap its wealth but also maintain it. The thirteen hereditary chiefs who sit around the table at the OW make all decisions by consensus concerning life and development on the territories. Their decisions are based on the will of their people. Traditional governance in the Wet’suwet’en remains strong, especially relative to other First Nations groups. For traditional governance to be effective, the Wet’suwet’en membership must be involved in decision-making. However, after a century of colonial devastation of lands and lives, of  153 residential schools, forced displacement to reserves, and the crown imposed INAC system of band councils, it is a struggle to maintain a healthy and relevant form of traditional governance. The film progresses with the voices of Wet’suwet’en members. Interviews are interspersed with footage from the river with singing by Wet’suwet’en elders, Heartbeart of our Ancestors, and Muheim Elementary’s All Nations Drumming Group. Twenty-five community members appear in the film. Most of these interviews were done on the side of the river, at the canyon in Moricetown, at the campground in Smithers and along the more remote part of the Morice River between Morice Lake and Houston. Two of the Chiefs chose to be filmed in the Office library, in front of the collection of court documents and histories, the product of thirty years of work for the Delgamuukw court case. A younger man I met hitchhiking one day decided that he should be filmed in front of the town courthouse, to represent his commitment to his people and the power that the Wet’suwet’en hold in the judicial system. Initially I found it difficult to incorporate women’s voices into the narrative. Around the Chiefs table sit mostly men. The Natural Resources Department, with whom I was collaborating, is also made up of men, save for the executive assistant. With some help from her though, though, I was put in touch with prominent women in the community and their words, in fact, carry the film. I showed a preliminary cut to the Chiefs and the Office once I had finished the filming process. Their response was that the ‘future generation’ needed to be included. I joined the Early Childhood Development program at the office one afternoon, in the campground down by the river to film the children playing, and captured the young faces,  154 which intersperse the interviews and river footage. My sense is that all those who participated in the project were empowered. This was an opportunity to speak of their land, of their culture and to see themselves in a relevant and defining contemporary conflict. The project was also empowering for myself. I had no prior film experience but with a camera and a lot of help and passion from those who participated we managed to create a useful and powerful community tool. In the film we see the river from its source in Wedzin Ben to its confluence with the Skeena River in Hazelton. The film opens with a shot from Morice Lake and there is footage from the proposed site of the pipeline crossing and of the upper river that would be most gravely impacted. I also filmed downstream, in Smithers, once the Morice flows into the Bulkley. I shot at Trout Creek on a grey day and spent a few afternoons in Moricetown Canyon, filming the fishers with their nets and gaffs catching salmon. Farther along, I filmed at Porfrey Creek, where the river proceeds through a dramatic canyon with red walls of mud and rock and under the bridge which links Hagwilget to Gitanmaax, in the Bulkley Canyon where the Wet’suwet’en used to live, on bank above the river. Finally I filmed at the confluence with the Skeena River in Old Hazelton, below Stikioden, the great mountain that is the focus of the landscape. The film is geared towards its audience, people are given a chance to speak, stories weave together slowly, overlap and repeat. People have commented that the film is reminiscent of a feast; it is important that everyone has a chance to speak and the message becomes clearer as it is rearticulated in different ways. The Wet’suwet’en are a proud and culturally rich people today; their lives are entwined with their territories and  155 they will do everything they can to keep these lands safe and sustainable for future generations.  Figure 22: ‘For future generations”, a young Wet’suwet’en girl at Kitimat rally (Photo OW)  156  Conclusion: Lessons from the Canyon What happens in the North, moreover, will be of great importance to the future of our country; it will tell us what kind of country Canada is, it will tell us what kind of a people we are. […] We think of ourselves as a Northern people. We may at last have begun to realize that we have something to learn from the people who for centuries have lived in the North, the people who never sought to alter their environment, but rather to live in harmony with it. (Berger 1988:32) The first morning of his re-election, in May 2011, the current Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, announced that attempts at establishing a moratorium on tanker traffic on BC’s North coast would be blocked. Harper was responding to concerted efforts by the Federal NDP and the Liberal parties to block the further development of Canada’s west coast. Northern Gateway has spurred a high-profile clash between First Nations, environmental groups, the BC public, industry and government, to become a defining political battle of this time. Increasingly the Crown and industry are realizing that successful development projects on lands claimed by Aboriginal groups in BC need the support of those groups. While land claims remain unsettled, First Nations have the constitutional clout to put a stop to unwanted projects altogether; a legal battle would embroil Northern Gateway in years of messy court cases. Former environment Minister, Jim Prentice, appreciates this power, despite his support of opening the Tar Sands market to Asia: One of the great public policy failures in Canadian history was the failure to actually execute land claim treaties and, in a sense, titlement, in British Columbia over the course of the last 150 years, and so the reality on the ground is that the constitutional and legal position of the first nations is very strong. (Jim Prentice, in Tait and Vanderklippe, 2011) Prentice’s position is not a popular one in the current conservative government. Environmental groups also understand the strength of Aboriginal peoples in this process.  157 Speaking with environmental NGO representatives, I repeatedly heard that the real power in opposing Northern Gateway lies with First Nations groups and the risk of a First Nations’ lawsuit. A leading environmental organizer told me: First Nations are in a very different position here in BC than anywhere else in Canada. They don’t have treaties and they have legal rights. If it becomes clear that First Nations will use their rights and take direct action, that may scare off some investors. They’re thinking long term. I think it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that Enbridge could just pull out. (Personal Communication 31/5/2010)  Figure 23: Wet’suwet’en Chiefs stand proudly in opposition, Kitimat, May 2010 (Photo OW) The Office of the Wet’suwet’en and other First Nations opponents to Northern Gateway are preparing themselves for what they see as the inevitability of a court case. The Wet’suwet’en have the legal precedent of Delgamuukw to support them, as well as an additional 15 years of negotiations with government ministries and industry that have built their strength of claim. As another local activist told me, within the community they are considered a powerful force:  158 There’s historical power, there’s built in governance power of the 13 chiefs, I mean historical power, the supreme court decision, the governance structure with the 13 chiefs representing the nation […] they have tactical capacity. They have good, consistent leadership in the Office. […] What else? They care deeply about their salmon. I always thought they were like diplomatic warriors. […] The Wet’suwet’en actually have to be diplomatic most of the time. But when push comes to shove they will come over and kick your ass. (Personal Communication 14/10/2010) The unwavering commitment and responsibility of the Wet’suwet’en echoes in the words of Chief Na’moks: It has to go to the courts. The JRP was started up under the protest of First Nations. The full scope of the JRP was never ever expanded to fully involve First Nations, it has to go to court. When you’re talking about killing off people, killing off their culture, a court is an option, but if you really really want to push a people into a corner, you have to use the most basic human reaction to stop something and you know what that is? Conflict, major conflict. Before we go to that I say let’s go to court. […] This is worth fighting for. This is worth dying for. We would like to go through the discussion process and we hope that they will take our comments seriously, but if they still want to go ahead, well let’s go to court. We’ll win through attrition. (Personal Communication 22/10/2010). The current Joint Review Panel process for Northern Gateway is shaping the politics of environment assessment in Canada. Moments that bring parties together, like the preliminary JRP meetings in Kitimat, expanded upon in Chapter five, force ontologies into contact, worlds to collide. Crown consultation coordinator, Brett Maracle, is optimistic that the EA process is changing for the better. We’re always improving the process; there are always changes that need to happen. Each one we try to improve over the last one. […] I think it would be nice at the end of the day to have more clarity with respect to consultation, because a lot up to now has been changes made because of court cases and eventually there will probably be more court cases that define a bunch of things. […] I think that the key- if we can just improve each process over the last one. We try to put a lot of thought into every one of these. (Personal Communication 18/01/2011).  159  Figure 24: Hundreds gather for the Solidarity Gathering of Nations to oppose NG, May 2010 (Photo Ian McAllister) This analysis tells the story of one First Nations organization’s opposition to Enbridge, engaged in the Joint Review Panel for Northern Gateway, and the ways in which their rights and ontologies are neglected in the process. I have argued that environmental assessment in Canada must be considered within an understanding of the continued legacy of colonialism in the present. The literature on EA is beginning to highlight the importance of a postcolonial approach but work is still needed to accept alternative visions of these processes and the ways in which we write about them. Political ontology, post humanism and political ecology have encouraged fluidity in the arguments that I have presented, attempting to disrupt Manichean divisions of natureculture, human- non human, traditional- modern, Indigenous-non Indigneous, and the authority of expert science. It is certainly the hope that environmental assessment will develop into an accountable and just process that is integrally shaped by those  160 communities and Aboriginal groups which would be most affected by proposed projects. There remains much to be done to that end, however. I would like to end with a story. Before Wedzin Kwa flows into the Skeena River, it passes through Hagwilget Canyon, at the foot the great mountain Stekyoden, “stands alone” in Gitxsan. In 1822 a rockslide all but blocked the river above the canyon. In the years following, fewer fish could get to Kyah Wiget, Moricetown. Some Wet’suwet’en moved to Gitxsan territory at Tsy Kya, meaning ‘rock foot’, in the canyon, as their new summer fishing grounds. There was a boulder in the middle of the river there, directly below where the suspension bridge is today, a place where salmon could rest, en route upstream. The Wet’suwet’en fished at the boulder from one side of the river and the Gitsxan from the other. By the early 1900’s, salmon populations in Wedzin Kwa had substantially decreased, following commercial fishing at the mouth of the Skeena River and the establishment of canneries at Prince Rupert. By the 1950’s fish stocks had not improved and the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans decided that they must do something to fix this problem. They began first by installing fishways in Moricetown Canyon but in 1951, the fishways resulted in a decrease of salmon population. Next, DFO turned their sights to the boulder in Hagwilget canyon. They claimed that the boulder was an obstruction to fish migrating upstream and must be removed. For the Wet’suwet’en, the rock was a blessing, the heart of their village at the base of the canyon and the reason for its being. Hagwilget Band wanted the canyon to remain as it was. In 1958 a decision was reached by fisheries to remove the boulder and this decision was brought to the Band. Fisheries and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada held several  161 meetings with the community, emphasizing that they had little choice but to remove the boulder. At an important meeting, only four Band members were present due to a nearby forest fire, while eight bureaucrats representing DFO and INAC were in attendance. The people of Tsy Kya were told that they did not own the rock and that “the Fisheries people have come to help the Indians” (in Cassidy, 1987). They were told that there was nothing they could do to stop the project. In the end, the Band relented and granted their approval. The process began shortly after to remove the boulder. To do so, DFO built a road to access the river, which covered the village site with gravel. Without the boulder and a place to stop and rest, the fish passed through the canyon; there was no longer a place to fish. Tsy Kya was left without its heart and the people moved to the current village of Hagwilget at the top of the canyon. The impact of the removal of the boulder on fish stocks remains inconclusive. The Wet’suwet’en are a people of place. Left without its center, Tsy Kya disintegrated. Now the Northern Gateway Pipelines project threatens the entire watershed, as well as neighboring watershed, through the interconnectedness of the landscape, fish, animals and people. More than fifty years have passed since the boulder was removed from the canyon, and still decision-making regarding First Nations’ traditional territories remains narrowly dictated by the Crown and industry, now increasingly in the form of environmental assessment processes without a mandate to deal explicitly with Aboriginal issues. As Borrows writes, “Indigenous traditions are not static and their strength lies in their ability to survive through the power of tribal memory and renew themselves by incorporating new elements” (Borrows 1997: 64). Perhaps it is time to listen to the people who have known the territories intimately for generations.  162 We know what the animals do, what are the needs of the beaver, the bear, the salmon, and other creatures, because long ago men married them and acquired this knowledge from their animal wives. Today the priests say that we lie, but we know better. The white man has been only a short time in this country and knows very little about the animals; we have lived here thousands of years and were taught long ago by the animals themselves. The white man writes everything down in a book so that it will not be forgotten; but or ancestors married the animals, learned their ways, and passed on the knowledge from one generation to another. (Wet’suwet’en elder in Jenness 1943:540)  163  Bibliography Baker, Douglas C. and McLelland, James N., 2003. “Evaluating the effectiveness of British Columbia’s environmental assessment process of first nations’ participation in mining development”. Environmental Impact Assessment Review. 23:581-603. Barrett C. and Grizzle R., 1999. “A holistic approach to sustainability based on pluralistic stewardship” Environmental Ethics, 21:23-42 Beers, David, “Eco-groups tout poll showing broad oil tanker opposition in BC” The Tyee: The Hook. 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