On October 13, 2016 the American tug-barge Nathan E. Stewart ran aground within Heiltsuk’s traditional territory in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest. The Nathan E. Stewart spilled in excess of 110 thousand litres of diesel oil into Gale Passage, an important Heiltsuk food harvesting and cultural site.
The Investigation Report was undertaken by Heiltsuk as an exercise in sovereignty to determine what happened in our territory. We have governed our territory for hundreds of generations. We have customary laws Gvi’ilás, that teach us to balance the health of the land with the needs of the people. There are consequences for breaching these laws. The Investigation Report is the first step in determining whether a breach of our traditional laws Gvi’ilás, occurred. A 6-person Adjudication Committee will make a determination with written reasons regarding whether a breach of our traditional laws occurred.
The Investigation Report is based on information from first responders, Coast Guard and Unified Command. It shows the Transportation Safety Board of Canada and Kirby Corporation refused to disclose vital information to Heiltsuk about events unfolding in their territory.
The Investigation Report provides insight into critical factors leading up to the oil spill It also documents the colossal failure of Canada and Kirby Corporation’s response to this oil spill.
Download the Investigation Report here.
Download the Video here.
Download the Press Release and link to other Press Materials here.
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