(Camp Cloud spokesperson Kwitsel Tatel poses with Coldwater elder Sonny Oppenheimer, who hand delivered his band’s letter to water protectors on Saturday. Photo: Justin Brake/APTN)
The Coldwater Indian Band has thrown its support behind Camp Cloud as water protectors there continue to stand their ground against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion while facing possible eviction at the hands of police.
On Saturday Elder Sonny Oppenheimer visited the camp on Burnaby Mountain to hand deliver a letter from chief and council written after water protectors were given a 72-hour eviction notice.
Read the letter here: Coldwater Indian Band
“We here at Coldwater Indian Band offer our support in standing up against Kinder Morgan and the Government of Canada in protecting OUR land and water,” reads the July 19 message, signed by councillor W. Gerome Garcia.
“As we are at the headwaters of the Nlaka’pamux our ancestral belief is ‘Water is power’ and it needs to be protected.”
Coldwater has been fighting the federal government and Kinder Morgan over an alleged failure to adequately consult with the band and over the routing of the pipeline expansion, which they say will cut through the community’s aquifer and threaten its members’ drinking water.
After reading the letter aloud to water protectors Camp Cloud spokesperson Kwitsel Tatel thanked the band for their support and said she would also like to hear from the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs and the Assembly of First Nation national chief candidates, who will be in Vancouver for the AFN election this week.
“The Coldwater Indian Band is supporting Camp Cloud, and I am so happy,” Tatel said in a Facebook livestream Saturday, adding she has expressed her support for the band’s fight against the pipeline running through its aquifer.
Speaking to water protectors around the sacred fire shortly after, Oppenheimer highlighted the significance of the threat to his people’s drinking water.
“The people that are around you that are in their homes, and yet they can turn the water on and think nothing of it. And they drink their coffee. Can you imagine if the runoff through that tap was contaminated — what would they do? What kind of life would you have? You’d have no life,” he said.
Here’s what elder Sonny Oppenheimer from Coldwater Indian Band said to #CampCloud water protectors gathered around sacred fire Saturday evening. 2/2 #transmountain #bcpoli @APTNNews pic.twitter.com/Opay3u10zd
— Justin Brake (@JustinBrakeNews) July 22, 2018
“It’s just sad how people treat Mother Earth and her gifts,” he continued. “I really thank you guys for standing and being present, and for what you do. All the warriors that you have in your heart, that down one day it’ll be mentioned to your grandchildren: this is what my grandmother did, this is what my grandfather did.”
On Saturday, a few hours after their 72-hour eviction notice from the City of Burnaby expired, Camp Cloud held a press conference to announce they will continue to stand their ground on Burnaby Mountain.
On Monday they say they’re scheduled to meet with the City’s manager, Lambert Chu.
“The sacred fire at Camp Cloud is as old as our nations,” Tatel said Saturday at the press conference.
“We are here to raise awareness for the health and safety of all people and all animals. We are here to express our opposition to this expansion for public safety, public interest and public health. We are meeting our responsibilities to that end at Camp Cloud.”