About the Chain
On June 20, 2014 the women of the Gitga’at First Nation will lead a symbolic blockade against the Northern Gateway pipeline by stretching a crochet “Chain of Hope” across Douglas Channel to show their opposition to oil tankers and oil spills in BC’s coastal waters.
Made of multicolour yarn and decorated with family keepsakes and mementos including baby pictures and fishing floats with written messages on them, the chain will stretch from Hawkesbury Island to Hartley Bay, a distance of 11,544 feet. The Chain of Hope itself is over 20,382 feet long and was stitched by the women and children of the Gitga’at First Nation with their friends and family across BC and Canada.
A History of Hope and Courage
The Gitga’at First Nation lives in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest on the North Coast of British Columbia. They are known for their incredible generosity and fearlessness on the water.
In 2006 the Gitga’at rescued passengers from the sinking Queen of the North passenger ferry, feeding them and keeping them warm. They were given a Governor General’s award for their efforts.
Now the Gitga’at need your help.
Enbridge, one of the world’s largest oil pipeline companies, is trying to build an oil pipeline and supertanker project that would bring hundreds of oil tankers through the Douglas Channel, a narrow body of water in front of the Gitga’at community of Hartley Bay.
A single oil spill from one of these tankers could destroy the Gitga’at food supply and way of life.
We’ve done this before
This isn’t the first time the Gitga’at have used chains on the water to stop threats against their people. Hundreds of years ago, the Gitga’at strung a chain made of tree branches across a narrow channel. The chain was used to help keep watch at night by alerting the Gitga’at to any intruders passing over the chain.
More recently, in 1977 the Gitga’at joined with other fishermen, the United Church and environmentalists to present a united front on the water against the Kitimat Pipeline Company’s proposal to build a supertanker terminal in Kitimat.
Using a flotilla of fishing boats, the Gitga’at and their allies confronted the MV Princess Patricia, a cruise ship that was partly funded by oil companies to take local politicians on a tour of Douglas Channel.
The confrontation made the television news and was a major embarrassment for government officials and the pipeline company. The terminal was never built.