At the recent pole raising ceremony on Lelu Island, Simoyget Yaahan Don Wesley, who was the face and voice of the resistance to the PETRONAS led Pacific Northwest LNG development on the island said, “Today, the Tsimshian people and the Gitwilgyoots stand proudly to stand this pole that marks the occasion of … where our ancestors left off at Rupert harbour thousands of years ago …. to commemorate what we have done here, the past to years, of taking on a giant in the Liquified Natural Gas Industry, the Federal and Provincial governments, the Lax Kwa’laams Indian Band, the Metlakatla Indian Band that tried to take away our land, our way of life and our salmon. The people of the gitwagiats tribe got together and made a stand to show Canada that our blood is still here on this land and that we are here forever.”
The Tsimshian people are constituted in seven First Nations, the Kitselas, Kitsumkalum, Lax Kw’Alaams, Metlakatla, Kitkatla, Gitga’at and the Kitasoo. By the reference to ‘Lax Kwa’laams Indian Band’ and ‘Metlakatla Indian Band’ above, the speaker is indexing the elected bodies representing these bands and not the people s individuals. The Gitwilgyoots are themselves Lax Kwa’laams and, according to Shanon Lough in the Nothern View, the ceremony was attended by about 100 people including members of Lax Kw’alaams, Metlakatla bands, along with people from the Gitga’at and Gitxsan Nation, as well as non-Indigenous people, some from as far away as Montreal, Wyoming, California and New Mexico.