On May 24, the Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Environment and Climate Change Canada celebrated their landmark, first-of-its-kind agreement to co-manage Disposal at Sea within Burrard Inlet, with their Agreement on Collaborative Decision Making Regarding Disposal at Sea.
Tsleil-Waututh Nation are the people of the Inlet; our first grandmother came from the sediment underneath Burrard Inlet. Our first grandmother was a gift from the womb of Mother Earth. Co-managing disposal at sea helps to mitigate the damage that was done to our grandmother and move forward in accordance with Tsleil-Waututh law and obligations. That is why this is significant. Through this agreement, Canada and Tsleil-Waututh move forward in managing Disposal at Sea in Burrard Inlet
Representatives of Environment and Climate Change Canada and Tsleil‑Waututh Nation met at Whey-ah-Wichen/Cates Park in North Vancouver for a celebration and a traditional Tsleil-Waututh ceremony to recognize the progress made to date. This ceremony included a traditional blanketing of the joint Steering Committee, recognition of members of the technical and leadership teams, and a recognition of the significance of this agreement to uphold the shared interests between TWN and Canada, and to advance reconciliation between Canada and TWN based on mutual recognition of TWN rights, jurisdiction, and obligations.
Through one little act of goodness at a time we undo colonization – Gabriel George
Under the agreement between the Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Tsleil-Waututh Nation’s Treaty, Lands, and Resources Department and ECCC will work together to protect the marine environment, to promote the sustainable use and stewardship of marine resources, and to use rigorous, evidence-based science in both Western and Indigenous disciplines to make effective recommendations to prevent, reduce, and where able, eliminate pollution caused by dumping at sea of waste or other matter. To resource this important work, ECCC is providing a total of $500,000 in funds to TWN over the next five years.
This agreement recognizes the Tsleil-Waututh Nation’s longstanding governance in Burrard Inlet and its long stewardship over the land. While Canada prevents pollution in oceans with initiatives such as the Disposal at Sea Program under its Canadian Environmental Protection Act, in Tsleil-Waututh law, the Tsleil-Waututh Nation has an obligation to protect the health of its lands and waters, which include the Burrard Inlet in the greater Vancouver region.
“Tsleil-Waututh Nation are People of the Inlet, and have a sacred obligation to care for the lands and waters that we have lived in and stewarded since time out of mind. Tsleil-Waututh Nation is proud to celebrate the Agreement on Collaborative Decision Making Regarding Disposal at Sea and the collaborative work we’ve accomplished to get to this point. Our Tsleil-Waututh people work diligently to protect the lands and waters to restore the health of the Burrard Inlet, because when the lands and waters are healthy, our people are healthy.”
– Chief Jen Thomas, Tsleil-Waututh Nation