Video: Indigenous Grandmother Arrested at DFO Encampment
by Fish Farms Out Now, Dec 21, 2017
At 11:30 am, Tuesday December 19th, Saanich Police arrived at the Wild Salmon Matriarch Camp outside of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and arrested 64 year -old Grandmother and Indigenous rights activist Tsastilqualus Ambers of the Ma’amtagila Nation on trespassing charges. She was later released with a February court date.
Tsatstilqualus and the other women activists living at the camp have been acting in solidarity with fish farm occupations in the Broughton archipelago to get the Norwegian-owned open-net fish farms at Midsummer Island and Swanson Island off the marine environment and out of Namgis and Musgamagw Dzaada’enuxw territories.
For sixty-nine days they have maintained the Wild Salmon Matriarch Camp at government offices directly complicit in the demise of wild salmon stocks, from the siting of disease and parasite-ridden open-net fish farms on key migratory routes of wild salmon populations.
In cold, snowy weather, police issued an order to have the Indigenous-led, all-women camp dismantled within three hours. With a team of supporters, the camp was relocated back to the constituency office of Premier John Horgan, to ramp up pressure on the provincial government to deliver on its promises to honour Indigenous rights and protect wild salmon and to respectfully heed the demand of the Ma’amtagila, Namgis, Lawitisis, Mamalilikala and Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw, Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis and Gawaneuk First Nations to not allow restocking and to refuse to renew fish farm leases in their territorial waters to which they have never given consent and which are set to expire in June 2018.
They are calling on local officials and the DFO to respect the authority of Indigenous Nations on their own territories and to acknowledge and implement the demands unanimously delivered by 40 elected and hereditary Chiefs of the eight Indigenous Nations of the Broughton archipelago, including:
· No restocking of existing empty pens/sites;
· No use of hydrogen peroxide to be used to treat sea lice infestations;
· No renewal of licences and/or tenures;
· For the industry to remove all open-net cage fish farms sites from our collective territorial waters; and
· The immediate cancellations of permits and licences, especially those that operate within our waters where notice has been given, and evictions have been handed to the foreign-owned corporate feedlot operations of Marine Harvest and Cermaq.
Continuing in the Scrooge approved spirit of the holidays, further regulatory over-reach by DFO took place last week in Namgis Territory at Yalis (Alert Bay) with two separate instances on the water. Stern threats of arrest and seizure of vessels used for transport, support and monitoring of the open net-pen PRV diseased atlantic salmon feedlot operations by local Indigenous people and their invited guests in un-ceded Kwakwaka’wakw waters is unacceptable in 2017.
The first threat took place on the well loved First Nations owned prawn boat SeaPride, where no less than 6 DFO agents aboard an RCMP vessel surrounded the vessel just metres from the dock. The second threat took place as the mechanic for the nimble vessel Island Scout was docked and working on regular maintenance of the vessel. Is this behaviour the ‘reconciliation’ that Justin Trudeau and the Liberals have in mind?
“This is all about the salmon and we will not give up this fight until the leases are revoked and a concrete plan is put in place to dismantle the fish farms in our territories” Ambers declared before leaving the DFO occupation.