By Jonas Gagnon
A Yinka Dene Alliance march drew a large crowd to protest the government’s handling of the Enbridge pipeline review process.
“It’s a message to the prime minister and the minister of natural resources (Joe Oliver), with their comments the Joint Review Process, it sounds like it’s not an independent process,” said Chief Fred Sam of the Nak’azdli Nation.
Representatives of the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council, Nak’azdli Whut’en, the Yinka Dene Alliance and the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, attended the event, along with band members, and Fort St. James residents.
People began to gather at Kwah hall at 8 a.m., and began the march 45 minutes later.
Waving placards, chanting slogans and drumming, the group marched down the highway, past the five corners, to The Legion where the JRP was being held. Once there chiefs, and First Nations leaders gave speeches to the crowd.
The frustration of the First Nations with the process was evident in the speeches.
“What part of no don’t they understand?” Charlie Sam, a Nak’azdli elder, shouted to the crowd, which prompted a massive cheer.
After the speeches a drum circle lasted for half an hour before the crowd dispersed, or ducked inside to watch the proceedings.
The Yinka Dene Alliance is made up of five First Nations groups, including Nadleh Whut’en, Nak’azdli, Takla Lake, Saik’uz andWet’suwet’en.