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Mennonite leaders support efforts to “keep” the water

   
 


From left to right: On Friday, May 4, 2012, Mennonite Church Canada’s Willard Metzger, Executive Director; Vic Thiessen, Chief Administrative Officer; and Steve Heinrichs, Director of Native Ministry; attended a locally organized, public action at the Manitoba Legislature in Winnipeg in support of the Yinka-Dene Alliance’s resistance to the development of Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline.

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May 11, 2012
-Deborah Froese

Winnipeg, MAN. —On Friday, May 5, Mennonite Church Canada executive attended a locally organized, public action at the Manitoba Legislature in Winnipeg in support of the Yinka-Dene Alliance’s resistance to the development of Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline. 

The planned pipeline will link Alberta’s oil sands with the west coast, extending through traditional First Nations territories in the Fraser River Watershed. The Yinka-Dene Alliance includes Nadleh Whut’en, Nak’azdli, Takla Lake, Saik’uz, and Wet’suwet’en First Nations of northern BC.

The following day, a water ceremony took place in Winnipeg at the Forks’ Oodena Celebration Circle as part of a cross-country demonstration by the Yinka-Dene Alliance. Steve Heinrichs, Director of Mennonite Church Canada Native Ministry, attended.

“The water ceremony is a symbolic way that our host peoples acknowledge the incredible responsibility to ‘keep’ the shared water that this pipeline will impact, a commitment to honour its life-giving power and prevent its pollution,” Heinrichs said.  Water reminds us that we are all connected by the waters that run across our country.

Following the water ceremony, Will Braun of Hope Mennonite Church (Wpg.) informally presented a letter of support to a representative of Coastal First Nations who was travelling with the Yinka-Dene Alliance. The alliance Coastal First Nations, consisting of Wuikinuxv Nation, Heiltsuk, Kitasoo/Xaixais, Nuxalk Nation, Gitga’at, Haisla, Metlakatla, Old Massett, Skidegate, and Council of the Haida Nation, is also effected by the pipeline.  The letter was signed on behalf of Hope Mennonite by Pastor Lynell Bergen. It expressed solidarity with Costal First Nations and sorrow over the danger posed to traditional lands and waters.