Tsleil-Waututh water protector Kayah George says TMX a “genocide against my people”

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Photo: Kayah George speaks with APTN News on August 30 about the Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline and insurance companies.

Tulalip and Tsleil-Waututh water protector Kayah George ‘Halth-Leah’ writes:

My people are descended from the sea. That is the meaning of our name: Tsleil-Waututh, “people of the inlet.”

Our creation story tells us that we were created from the sediment in the Burrard Inlet in Vancouver, Canada. The inlet is our grandmother, our oldest relative. The lands along this inlet have been my peoples’ home since time immemorial.

At 22 years old, I have spent over half my life fighting alongside my family, for our home and for all of your homes and this land that is slowly eroding along with the climate. The Trans Mountain pipeline has threatened our land and our livelihoods since it was built in 1953, with 84 reported oil spills to date.

Instead of listening to our cries on this stolen land, the federal government has used public dollars to buy the project and approved an expansion pipeline (TMX) which would triple the flow of oil.

Those who back the pipeline do not see the sea as a living being. But we do, and we fear for the endangered orcas, the fish, the sea itself.

This pipeline is nothing short of genocide against my people. That is why every single member of the nation has opposed Trans Mountain since the beginning. We stand in solidarity on both sides of the border: my mother’s tribe, Tulalip, in the United States, and my father’s, the Tsleil-Waututh, in Canada.

Her full commentary in the Toronto Star, significantly her call to insurance companies not to provide insurance for the pipeline, can be read at Canada’s Trans Mountain Pipeline is ‘genocide against my people.’ Why it’s ‘climate suicide’ for insurance companies (August 27).

On September 2, Indigenous Climate Action highlighted: “Indigenous, environmental, and climate groups sent an open letter to twenty insurance companies that have failed to rule out insuring the Trans Mountain pipeline network, following the August 31 expiration date of one of Trans Mountain’s key insurance policies.”

They add: “The letter is being sent to insurance companies that have previously been linked to the pipeline project and have not yet ruled out involvement: AIG, Chubb, Energy Insurance Limited, Liberty Mutual, Lloyd’s of London, Markel, Starr, Stewart Specialty Risk Underwriting, and W.R. Berkley. It is also being sent to Lloyd’s syndicates that are likely involved in the project through the Lloyd’s marketplace: Apollo, Arch, Ark, Beazley, Brit, Canopius, CNA Hardy, Hiscox, Inigo, MS Amlin, and Navigators.”

To read their Open Letter, please click here.

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