First Nations don’t trust federal pipeline consultation, says Grand Chief. Only three speakers show up.
August 18th 2016
Hearings are designed for the privileged
His words resonated strongly with Vancouver-Mount Pleasant MLA Melanie Mark, a celebrated Indigenous advocate for children and vulnerable populations who sat beside him during his presentation. As a First Nations woman, she too addressed the empty seats in the room as she called the federal panel consultation meetings “a table for privileged people.”
“When I think of this Indigenous round table, I look around the room and think where are the First Nations people? Do they have the Internet? Were they invited? How do they know?” she asked. “Those are things we take for granted if you have a computer. Not everyone has that privilege.”
Mark, a single mother with Nisga’a, Gitxsan, Cree and Ojibway roots, is the first Indigenous woman to serve in the Legislative Assembly of B.C., and was elected to her seat in February 2016. She had not prepared to speak at the consultation that morning; her intention was to be a witness. Upon seeing the empty seats however, she told the panel she felt compelled.
“We have a duty to stand up for our kids and a duty to stand up for Mother Earth. Mother Earth can’t speak for herself.”
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