By Lloyd Dolha
On Sunday, September 19, First Nations and concerned community members from the Peace River Valley will canoe to the Legislature in Victoria to deliver a message to the Premier to stop the Site C Dam.
The rally is being organized by four Treaty 8 First Nations – the Doig River, Halfway River, Prophet River and West Moberly First Nations – all of whose Treaty rights will be harmed by the project, as well as, the Wilderness Committee, the Peace Valley Environment Association and the Sierra Club of BC.
Featuring special guest speakers David Suzuki, First Nation Leaders and others is planned to take place on the lawn of the Legislative Buildings in Victoria, B.C., commencing at 10:00 AM. The rally is aimed at raising public awareness about the destructive impacts that the Site C project will have in northern BC, should the project be allowed to proceed. Popular local musical bands and First Nation drummers will accompany the event.
“Concerned British Columbians need to stand up now to make others, especially the BC Government, aware of how this so-called “green and clean” dam will impact on our Treaty 8 rights, as well as the interests of all British Columbians,” said Tribal Chief Liz Logan of the Treaty 8 Tribal Association. “This is the third major dam project on the Peace River.” she said, “If it goes ahead, it will destroy valuable river and wetland ecosystems, both in the Peace River Valley and further downstream in the Athabasca and Mackenzie Deltas.”
Site C will impact on Treaty 8 land in northern BC, the home of several First Nations. These lands have been utilized by the Treaty 8 First Nations to practice traditions, including hunting, trapping, and fishing, for generations. The project will destroy wildlife habitat, 7000 acres of prime agricultural land and, even people’s homes.
The dam would submerge key calving grounds for moose and disrupt bull trout migration while creating a barrier blocking wildlife at the narrowest waist of the continentally important Yellowstone to Yukon Corridor.
The rally will be a powerful end to the week’s events concerning Site C. On September 16-17 First Nations leaders, from across BC, Alberta and the Northwest Territories, and several concerned conservation groups will gather for a Summit in Fort St John to address the Site C issue, and draft a joint statement about the project and its impacts. Following the Summit, buses and vans filled with concerned members of the local community will be leaving Fort St. John and will journey to Victoria, where they will paddle down the Gorge Waterway to deliver the statement in birch bark containers harvested within the proposed Site C Dam’s flood zone. The leadership of all three political parties have been invited to receive the statement and to witness the stand against the project.
Concerned citizens from southern BC are invited to attend the rally to learn about the folly of the Site C proposal and to show their support for the Treaty 8 First Nations and Peace Valley residents.