The Tsleil-Waututh Nation are a Coast Salish people whose ancestral territory resides around North Vancouver as well as thousands of acres around the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada. The Tsleil-Waututh (pronounce slay-wah-tuth) are the People of the Inlet. Their ancestry date back over 10,000 years and to this day have never signed a treaty with the Crown. Therefore their territory is “unceded” which means the land was “never ceded through treaty, war, or surrender”. Those were the words contained in the unanimous motion by the City of Vancouver in 2014 to acknowledge that the city is on unceded Coast Salish territory which includes the Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish and Musqeam nations.
Tsleil-Waututh are strong advocates for a cleaner healthier future for just like their ancestors fought for and for future generations. When you hear Tsleil-Waututh Nation member speak about their land and water, they always speak about protecting it for all of us. They have been a leading voice in opposing the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline and tanker project. The project will see hundreds of tanker traffic carrying diluted bitumen, a highly toxic and flammable substance, through the Burrard Inlet next to Vancouver where a spill would be inevitable or a massive explosion could happen.
Now they are calling on supporters to help them walk or run and crowdfund for a renewable energy installation in their community to help illustrate the alternatives to increased fossil fuel infrastructure.
Charlene Aleck, Tsleil-Waututh Nation Sacred Trust representative
“We know many people agree that there is a better way to go than to allow the new Kinder Morgan pipeline and tanker terminal to be built” said Charlene Aleck a spokesperson for the Tsleil Waututh Nation Sacred Trust Initiative. “We are happy to be inviting people to join us in the Great Climate Race to crowdfund for a large solar array in our community that will help provide a model for renewable energy directly across the inlet from the proposed oil tanker terminal. We don’t want this inlet to be the gateway to global warming. We are part of an unbroken wall of opposition to these kinds of projects and a big part of that is doing our part to contribute renewable energy and a vision for a better tomorrow” said Aleck.
“We are delighted to invite native and non-native people to join us to walk or run with us as part of the virtual race anywhere around the world!” said Aleck. “We are excited to know that we already have supporters involved in Australia, India, New York, France, Italy and Japan. This is truly a global movement to highlight a global problem.”.
By getting involved in this race, the Tsleil-Waututh Nation and their friends and neighbours intend to communicate the wide spread support for an urgent transition to 100% renewable energy.
The Tsleil-Waututh Nation is building a new administrative building and health centre in North Vancouver which will be completed in Spring of 2017. The project will include a grid-tied solar project that will offset the energy demands of the buildings and put power onto the grid. The plans include an approximately 47,000 kwh a year solar installation. Donations of solar panels for this project have already been made by environmental groups.
Gifting of solar panels to Tsleil Waututh Nation Chief Maureen Thomas and former Chief Leonard George
JOIN THE INTERNATIONAL VIRTUAL RACE
Crowdfunding has alredy begun on the Great Climate Race website and will continue with the help of a new app. (sign up to be amongst the first to get the app here: register for the virtual race “Running to raise money for a cause isn’t a new idea but this is a great new twist to be able to give people a way to do something that is good for their health and good for the health of the planet” said Aleck. “Let’s help everyone understand that expanding our dependence on oil is not only dangerous but it’s unnecessary.”