Pipeline Plans Threaten 67 Pre-Columbian Archaeology Sites

The expansion plans for the Trans Mountain Pipeline include destroying 67 pre-Columbian Native American archaeological sites. The news release was announced today and featured a Kamloops archeologist speaking on the major losses involved in the pipeline expansion plan. Tyler Hooper, speaking on behalf of the province, stated that 17 of the sites will have excavations. Whether those 17 sites are included in or separate from 67 being threatened is unclear. The construction plans appear to have all green lights to proceed for now, which means we will soon be forever losing a part of extremely important history.

“That sends a message that indigenous history doesn’t matter very much to the Canadian story.”
– Joanne Hammond,
SFU Heritage Resource Management Instructor

Jeanette Jules, Councillor Tk’Emlups Te Secwepemc, claims that no sites on their land have been approved to be destroyed and that they’re still working to figure something out with TMX.

None of the sites have had any excavations carried out on them yet, which means that virtually no information is available right now as to what they contain. If the expansion continues, that information will be lost indefinitely. The pipeline runs across a plethora of indigenous territories, of all have people involved in their histories.

“As with all permit applications, the Province consults with First Nations in advance of a decision about whether or not to issue a permit.”
– Tyler Hooper,
Forest, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development

The Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion’s Chief Executive commented that about 15% of the pipeline is complete and the goal is to have 30% done by the end of 2020.

“Indigenous chiefs and elders lead a protest against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion in Burnaby, B.C., on March 10, 2018. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)”

“There’s very little coverage within Canadian media about the growing opposition to this pipeline … so it takes international coverage to draw attention to this issue, of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous opposition to the pipeline…”
– Susan Bibbings,
Kristian Lindhardt’s longtime friend

On August 23rd, Danish journalist Kristian Lindhardt attempting to create a documentary about this pipeline was denied entry into Canada despite having all of the proper qualifications for entry. He had a statement from his employer (the Danish Broadcasting Corporation), a statement from the Danish Union of Journalists attached to his press card, and a letter explaining the necessity of the trip from Tsleil-Waututh Nation Sundance Chief Rueben George. He also had a 2 week quarantine plan to comply with the Canadian Border Services Agency’s requirements for entry. He was questioned for a total of 6 hours between a Friday and a Saturday and eventually he was denied entry.

“”They were asking why I saw it as essential work, because they were saying media and foreign press aren’t essential work. If it was a health risk, or they really had this rule that media was non-essential, they could have denied me entrance within five or 10 minutes.”
– Kristian Lindhardt,
Danish Journalist

It is unfortunate that so much history will be lost. It’s also unfortunate that these situations don’t get more coverage and awareness. How much history gets destroyed each year by constructions like this? The amount of things we’ll never know about human history just keep growing.

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[1] – https://www.citynews1130.com/video/2020/09/15/archaeologist-pipeline-expansion-threatens-at-least-67-historic-sites/. Accessed 15 Sept. 2020.

[2] – https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/danish-journalist-transmountain-1.5697251. Accessed 15 Sept. 2020.

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