Yesterday in the legislature, I rose to share the words of Cedar George-Parker, a young Tsleil-Waututh man who was in the gallery. I met Cedar and his sister Kahya when I visited the Tsleil-Waututh Nation two weeks ago. During the visit, Cedar said that the words of Indigenous youth aren’t being heard. He asked that I take his words back into the legislature, and I said that I would. These are Cedar’s words.
Thank you to all the elected officials who take time to listen to the voices of Indigenous people and youth, who are too often ignored. Please understand that my generation sees it as our sacred responsibility to defend our ancestral land and water. It fills me with sadness to imagine what could become of Burrard Inlet if Kinder Morgan is allowed to proceed. After years of research and hard work, we are on a path towards restoring the ecosystems my people have relied on and been the stewards of many generations.
Please understand that my people are not anti-development. In fact, we are entrepreneurial. My people, the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, are developers and own various businesses. We carry forward the work of my uncle, Leonard George, who sadly passed away last year, and he carried forward the work of his father, my grandfather, Chief Dan George. They lifted my people up by embracing our culture, our spirituality and incorporating that world view into the economic opportunities that we pursue.
“My request to you today is if we can find a way to move forward together. If a government in British Columbia can’t work with Indigenous people to make green jobs a reality, then who can? Let’s find that low-hanging fruit of opportunities we all can feel good about, and then put it in the next budget. Let’s make the fight over Kinder Morgan a turning point for healing, growth and better opportunities for all of us lucky enough to live here in this paradise.
HÍSW̱ḴE SIÁM. I raise my hands to you and pray for your wisdom and strength to guide us all forward.