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BC chiefs protest fish farms with 29-hour fast

In a protest against Norwegian-owned fish farm tenures in the Broughton Archipelago, the Executive of the B.C. Union of Indian Chiefs began a 29-hour fast this morning.

According to a news release on the website of the UBCIC, the fast is in support of the Musgamagw Tsawataineuk Tribal Council (MTTC). The release quotes Chief Bob Chamberlin, Chair of the MTTC and Secretary-Treasurer of the UBCIC:

“There are 29 fish farm tenures in the territories of the Musgamagw Tsawataineuk. The 29 hour fast reflects the 29 fish farm tenures in our territories.”

The fast will begin at 5:00 a.m. on Monday, February 15th at the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (500 - 342 Water Street, Vancouver, Canada). The fast will end on February 16th, the day when Team Canada faces off with Team Norway in Men’s Ice Hockey.

In a backgrounder to the release, the MTTC has published an open letter from Chamberlin to King Harald V of Norway:

As Chief of Kwicksutaineuk/Ah-Kwa-Mish First Nation and Chair of the Musgamagw Tsawataineuk Tribal Council, I once again write to you to Humbly and Respectfully request a audience with yourself and the Chiefs of the Musgamagw Tsawataineuk Tribal Council and Hereditary Chiefs during your time in Vancouver, BC during the XLIV Olympics.

The Musgamagw Tsawataineuk Tribal Council represents the Kwicksutaineuk/ Ah-Kwa-Mish First Nation; Dzawada'enuxw First Nation; Gwawaenuk Tribe; Namgis First Nation, who support each other politically, traditionally and historically.

We would like the opportunity to discuss with you our collective concerns in relationship to the Norwegian Aquaculture Companies, Marine Harvest and Cermaq, and how they conduct business within our Traditional Territories.

...All we ask for is that the river systems and Inlets which produce our Wild Salmon that has sustained the Musgamagw-Tsawataineuk people since the beginning of time, be shown the very same respect the Norwegian Government demonstrates in the safeguarding the Wild Salmon of Norway by the establishment of the of the National Salmon Fjords.

The fast is being held at the UBCIC office, 342 Water Street in Vancouver, and will end on Tuesday at 10:00 a.m.

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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