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First Nation Plans Symbolic Blockade on Douglas Channel Against Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline and Supertankers Project

Gitga'at First Nation will stretch a crochet "Chain of Hope" across the Douglas Channel to show solidarity against oil tanker traffic in BC's narrow coastal waters

HARTLEY BAY, BRITISH COLUMBIA -- (Marketwired) -- 06/16/14 -- The women of the Gitga'at First Nation will lead a symbolic blockade against the Northern Gateway pipeline on June 20, 2014, by stretching a crochet "Chain of Hope" across Douglas Channel to show their deep opposition to oil tankers and oil spills in BC's narrow coastal waters.

Made of multicolour yarn and decorated with family keepsakes and mementos including baby pictures and fishing floats with written messages on them, the chain will stretch from Hawkesbury Island to Hartley Bay, a distance of 11,544 feet.

British Columbians are encouraged to join the Chain of Hope online (www.chainofhope.ca) and via Facebook to build a chain of opposition across BC.

"I rolled my eyes at my mom when she first talked of 'crocheting' a line to stop oil tankers," said Jodi Hill, a member of the Gitga'at First Nation and Chain of Hope participant. "She said that she would 'protest with what she had' and it was 'symbolic.' ...The community came together and everyone crocheted, to show our full support for the Gitga'at way of life, to stand up for our coast, the whales, our traditions, our food and for the future Gitga'at that will use our territory for generations to come. We stand today to take care for generations we will never meet, just as our ancestors stood up for us. The crochet line means something to us all now. We won't stand for Enbridge or the government that supports them."

This isn't the first time the Gitga'at have used chains on the water to stop threats against their people. Hundreds of years ago, the Gitga'at strung a chain made of tree branches across a narrow channel. The chain was used to keep watch at night by alerting the Gitga'at to any intruders passing over it.

In 1977 the Gitga'at joined with other fishermen, the United Church and environmentalists to present a united front against the Kitimat Pipeline Company's proposal to build a supertanker terminal in Kitimat. Thanks to widespread public opposition, the terminal was never built.

"The Gitga'at people will do whatever is necessary to protect our territory from the danger of oil tankers and oil spills," said Arnold Clifton, Chief Councillor of the Gitga'at First Nation. "This blockade by the women of our community is clear evidence of that. We are proud and unified by their leadership and we will protect the Great Bear Rainforest and BC's coastal waters for all British Columbians."

Beginning in early April, the women quickly exceeded the length needed to cross the channel and created a chain over 20,382 feet long. More photos and accounts of this incredible show of solidarity and opposition are available at www.chainofhope.ca

Gitga'at territory encompasses approximately 7,500 square kilometres of land and water, including a major portion of Douglas Channel, which is the proposed route oil tankers would have to travel to get to and from Kitimat.

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