Meet the Nations: Tsleil-Waututh
Tsleil-Waututh are the “People of the Inlet” – our territory includes Burrard Inlet. We are a distinct Coast Salish nation, sharing customs and interests with other First Nations around the Salish Sea.
The Tsleil-Waututh people have been stewards of their territory since before contact. Our ancestors maintained villages in eastern Burrard Inlet, defended the area, and used all the natural resources there, especially marine and intertidal resources.
Tsleil-Waututh has a sacred, legal obligation to care for, protect, and defend the water, land, air, and resources of our territory. We have a responsibility to maintain and restore conditions that provide the environmental, cultural, spiritual, and economic foundation for our community to thrive.
Many components of the proposed pipeline fall inside our Consultation Area and have the potential to affect us. Approximately 70% of the diluted bitumen transported on the pipeline would be shipped from the Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby, BC, which is just 2 kilometres across the water from our main reserve.
Tsleil-Waututh are most concerned about the immense risk of oil spills that could result from the proposed pipeline, increased tanker traffic, and their effects on sensitive sites, habitat, and species, as well as the Tsleil-Waututh subsistence economy, cultural activities, and contemporary economy. “We stand here together as Tsleil-Waututh people and we say ‘no.’ We say ‘no’ the risk is too great. Our obligation is not to oil. Our obligation is to our land, our water, our people, our life, our snəwayəɬ. According to our snəwayəɬ, our law, this project represents a risk that we the Tsleil-Waututh people, are not willing to take,” said Leah George-Wilson during a National Energy Board’s hearing.