Journalist writing about Indigenous rights, the environment, the arts, and social justice. All about reading, podcasts, coffee and comfy clothes. Citizen of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Nation and reporter for The Narwhal.

Clippings

How a salt marsh could be a secret weapon against sea level rise in B.C.’s Fraser delta

Biologist Eric Balke was biking through Richmond, B.C., a few years ago when something caught his eye. He stopped at the dike and looked over to the other side — and saw a huge salt marsh expanding in front of him. He was surprised he’d never known it was there. “I’m a biologist. I should have known better,” he mused. “It’s like you build a dike and that’s the end of the world, that’s the end of the area we care about.” “But these marshes are truly the gem of the Fraser estuary.”

B.C. old-growth data ‘misleading’ public on remaining ancient forest: independent report

According to the B.C. government, 23 per cent of forest in the province is old growth, about 13 million hectares. Yet a new study found only three per cent of B.C. is capable of supporting large trees and within that small portion of the province, the ecologists found only 2.7 per cent of the trees are actually old as “old forests on these sites have dwindled considerably due to intense harvest.”

‘We’re going to have no protected land at all’: locals fight wetland development on Vancouver Island

A quiet wetland home to waterfowl and amphibians is at the centre of a clash between a conservation group and the local leadership of Qualicum Beach on the east coast of Vancouver Island. The green space in the corner of town, called the Laburnum wetland, is favoured by locals for recreation with walking trails a sort distance from the sandy beaches of Parksville. So when the local government decided to approve a 4-hectare housing project on the wetland, it spurred disagreement over what development and environmental protections in the region should look like.

Adapting to coronavirus: how B.C. First Nations balance food security and conservation

When Chief Byron Louis was a boy, he would walk into his grandmother’s root cellar and see a combination of garden and traditional foods. The 58-year-old, now chief of the Okanagan Indian Band, remembers that cellar well. He said it was filled with fresh produce from their gardens, tree fruits and canned vegetables and meats. “You’d look up into the shelves, you’d see saskatoons, you’d see huckleberries, you’d see soap berries,” he said, adding that the stocked cellar was necessary “so we could survive” since they didn’t rely on any outside supply.

B.C. First Nation ‘flooded’ with resource project referrals from industry, province amid coronavirus lockdown

In many ways, industry and services in B.C. have ground to a halt due to COVID-19. But according to an employee of the Skeetchestn Natural Resources Corporation, resource extraction proponents appeared to be operating as usual after the band office shut its doors and reduced community services. The office was “flooded” with about 30 referrals from industry and the provincial government between March 9 and March 23 regarding resource extraction projects, according to Joanne Hammond.

Coronavirus forces Wet’suwet’en to explore online talks on rights and title agreement

An all-clans meeting to discuss Wet’suwet’en rights and title could be moved online as the COVID-19 crisis upends plans for in-person talks, according to a spokesperson for the Gidimt’en. “We’re looking at possibly doing something online,” Jennifer Wickham told The Narwhal, saying discussions were also delayed by a death, unrelated to the novel coronavirus, in one of the communities. “I’m not sure what that’s going to look like but there’s definitely multiple things delaying the process.”

B.C. taxpayers on the hook for $1.2 billion in mine cleanup costs: chief inspector report

British Columbians are still on the hook for more than $1 billion in clean-up costs for the province’s mines, according to a new report from B.C.’s Chief Inspector of Mines. The recently released 2018 annual report says the province has secured $1.6 billion in bonds from mining companies to cover land reclamation costs but estimates the total cost of reclamation is $2.8 billion.

How the Wet’suwet’en crisis could have played out differently

Dozens of arrests. A week-long raid on Wet’suwet’en camps. Grainy videos of armed officers. Doors blocked at the B.C. legislature. Railways stalled across the country. For a conflict that began in a remote place, the impacts of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs’ opposition to the Coastal GasLink pipeline are now reverberating across the nation. As tensions flare and politicians seize on the moment to criticize their adversaries, one has to ask: was this escalation inevitable, or could it have been avoided?

RCMP backtracks, says officers won’t stop journalists from reporting on Wet’suwet’en raid

Journalists reported being threatened for photographing police in tactical gear, and some were physically removed from the site. But on Thursday evening the RCMP wavered in the face of outrage to infringement on press freedom. "We may be already seeing some tangible results on the ground in terms of justice for reporters," said reporter Justin Brake. "At the same time, I don’t want to celebrate what’s happening. Indigenous people are still being removed by police from their unceded lands.”

How a resurgence in Indigenous governance is leading to better conservation

Even when governments have good intentions — like promoting conservation — they don’t necessarily move forward with plans for Indigenous territories in a productive or helpful way, according to Kelly Brown, director of the Haíɫzaqv (Heiltsuk) Integrated Resource Management Department. “A lot of work that takes place around management planning with the province or the federal government — they get all the work done, and then they come to us,” Brown told The Narwhal.

Inuit, reporters call out New York Times for 'trauma porn'

It’s not the first time Indigenous people have been burned by the media. Indigenous people and journalists regularly call out mainstream media for inappropriate wordplay, criminalizing victims and undermining violence against Indigenous people. Most recently, it was an article about Inuit in Cape Dorset, Nunavut, published in the New York Times, entitled “Drawn from Poverty: Art Was Supposed to Save Canada’s Inuit. It Hasn’t.” Many critics have been taking to social media to call out the New

Courts deny most First Nations injunctions

Shiri Pasternak suspected corporations likely won more injunctions than First Nations did in land disputes. But she was shocked after she and her fellow researchers began crunching numbers. The team at Yellowhead Institute, an Indigenous-led think tank, reviewed nearly 100 injunction cases. They found corporations succeeded in 76 per cent of injunctions filed against First Nations, while First Nations were denied in 81 per cent of injunctions against corporations.

'Where were you 10 years ago?' Musqueam activist asks climate strikers

“I recognize you’re here with open hearts and open minds, and I have heavy truths. One of those truths is that most people aren’t acting until it directly affects them. And how many women did we lose in that time? How much land did we lose in that time?” Musqueam land protector Audrey Siegl looked out at a sea of thousands of protestors gathered in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery on Oct. 25 as she asked them these hard questions. The crowd had gathered en masse for the chance to greet Greta

Singh talks reconciliation and affordability on election night

The room erupted in applause and dancing as party leader Jagmeet Singh entered the room and took the stage. His party lost 15 seats, but that didn't stop him from being full of energy. Singh centred reconciliation and affordability in his speech, starting with acknowledging the territories of the Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh, Musqueam and Kwikwetlem First Nations before thanking the volunteers and his family.

Three Inuk women in close race for Nunavut’s federal seat

Nunavut is Canada’s largest riding and covers about one fifth of the country, but the territory only has one seat in Parliament. “Regardless of the outcome, an Inuk woman’s going to be sitting in that seat, which I think is very powerful,” said Mumilaaq Qaqqaq, the NDP candidate. She called National Observer as she was campaigning in Panniqtuuq (Pangnirtung), a community of just under 1,500 people on the far eastern corner of the territory.

Four Indigenous candidates, four parties, on the issues that matter this election

Jordan Ames-Sinclair said that the Liberals “wanted someone the exact opposite of Andrew Scheer” to run in the Conservative Leader’s riding, Regina—Qu’Appelle, and that he fits the bill. "Even though he is a younger politician, I don’t believe he really has a new, fresh perspective to politics, where I do. I’m First Nations and I believe in the Indigenous vote, and I have to say that he doesn’t. I’m part of the LGBTQ community and I support it, and he doesn’t,” he said.

Here are the Indigenous issues that were ignored during the 2019 leaders debate

Twenty minutes of the Oct. 7 debate were allocated to a discussion about Indigenous issues among all six Canadian federal leaders vying for control of the country’s top office. But as quickly as this segment began, it derailed into a haphazard conversation about pipelines, Quebec and climate change, none of which were discussed constructively, or at all, in the context of Indigenous Peoples.

David Suzuki broke down barriers – now youth are rising

David Suzuki says he’s become jaded after years of broken promises from politicians and business people about combating climate change. The one place he still gets hope is from his grandchildren, who still see nature in the world as “fresh and marvelous and wonderful.” But he worries about their future. He says there is no “magic bullet” for stopping the climate crisis, but at this moment, the most important thing anyone in Canada can do for future generations is what many young people can’t yet do themselves — vote.

Andrew Scheer's Indigenous 'hostage' comment provokes tongue-lashing at first election debate

That one particular phrase from Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer about Indigenous rights sparked an intense, minutes-long altercation between the three federal political leaders who showed up for the first debate of the 2019 election campaign. At the debate, hosted in Toronto by Maclean’s and CityTV, Scheer was discussing whether he would implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in Canada if he wins power. The declaration defines a range of human r
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