One Mind, One Heart: Introduction

Yáu! As Heiltsuk people, we are of one mind, and one heart in opposing Enbridge’s Northern Gateway proposed pipeline and oil tanker traffic in our territories. If built, the pipeline will bring crude oil from Alberta to Kitimat, British Columbia, across 1,170 kilometers of rugged mountainous terrain, streams and rivers. It would cross through the territories of more than 50 First Nations communities, many of whom do not support the pipeline route.

More than 200 supertankers a year would carry this oil to Asia through the pristine waters within our territories on the central coast of British Columbia. An oil spill would have widespread and devastating impacts on the environment, culture and economy of our community as well as many other communities on the coast.

We are looking at new, sustainable economic opportunities and feel strongly that the risks of Enbridge’s proposed pipeline project far outweigh any benefits it has to offer.

Intro First Page

Marilyn Slett, Chief Councillor
Heiltsuk Nation, 2012

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We, the undersigned, who represent the Heiltsuk Nation as:

Hereditary Chiefs, Council of the Heilsuk Nation, members of our proud Nation, do commit to work cooperatively as a Nation to protect and enhance the well being of the Heiltsuk Nation and our people. In doing so, we so declare that:

We will protect Heiltsuk Title and Rights to the Territories and seas of the Heiltsuk Nation;

That we, the Heilsuk First Nation, have a relationship with our land and seas that goes back to the time immemorial, and this determines our relationship with nature, our role as stewards of this land, and all forms of life and our sovereignty;

The Heiltsuk First Nation, occupied North America as a sovereign Nation long before other people came to our shores;

The Heiltsuk First Nation, have always made our own laws, institutions and jurisdiction, which respects our cultures, values and languages;

Our Gvi’las directs us to balance the health of the land and the needs of our people, ensuring there will always be plentiful resources. We have honoured and maintained our traditions since time immemorial and continue this covenant today by having developed a land use plan that will protect the resources that are vital to our survival and well-being.

Our sovereignty enables us to enter into Treaty and other political accords with other Nations and our sovereignty has international stature and recognition through the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous peoples.

We affirm to the world that the citizens of the Heiltsuk Nation collectively hold Title to all of the lands, resources and seas in our Traditional Territory and we commit to go forward as one Nation for the benefit of all Heiltsuk and future generations of Heiltsuk to come; and

Uphold our duty as stewards of this land since me immemorial to uphold Gvi’las, the laws of our ancestors, to protect our lands and seas for our children and future generations to come.

We further affirm that the Heiltsuk Nation has inherent aboriginal rights and jurisdiction over our territories, our resources and our lives with the right to manage our territories including our lands and waters and the Heiltsuk Nation laws and customs define our responsibilities to protect our lands and waters;

In doing so:

We hereby speak in unity with all the First Nations in BC in our opposition to the Northern Enbridge Gateway Project Enbridge and Crude Oil Tanker traffic that is proposed to travel in our territory without our free and prior informed consent.

We declare that the Heiltsuk First Nation will not put our territories and waters at risk caused by the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and crude oil tanker traffic in our waters.

The Heiltsuk Nation in upholding Gvi’las, the laws of our ancestors, today declare to the Crown and the world that we will not allow pipelines and oil tankers carrying Alberta’s Tar Sands Oil in our lands and waters and as a sovereign Nation we ban tanker traffic in our waters.

Ian Reid, Heiltsuk Artist, 2012


Photo Credit: Bill McLennan


This sea monster mask is called ’Yágis from the Under Sea Kingdom. I created ’Yágis for One Mind, One Heart, an installation at the Museum of Anthropology to show my support in opposing the Enbridge Pipeline Project. He hunts down oil tankers and protects our territories and coast.

‘Nusi, Ian Reid − Yáu! This is the design I did for the    when the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project Joint Review Panel was in Bella Bella in April 2012. It’s an image of  , the famous hunter and trapper and  , the King of the Sea, who came to him in his travels and gives him strength. As they travel their world together,   swallows a super tanker intruding in their sacred waters.   is the name of my grandfather, Benny Mason and the story takes place in country.

So this is for ALL of us to use, to support the Heiltsuk Nation in their opposition to pipe lines and tanker traffic in our territories.

Ian Reid: Artist Biography

Ian Reid is a Heiltsuk artist and cultural leader, born in 1978 in Bella Bella, B.C. His ancestral name is ‘Nusí (Full Moon). Ian’s art is inspired by the cultural knowledge of Heiltsuk elders and enriched by his research into Heiltsuk and Northwest Coast art in museums in Europe and the US.

His mentors include the late Heiltsuk artist David Gladstone, the late Cyril Carpenter and Kwakwaka’wakw artist Simon Dick. Ian’s work has been featured in numerous galleries and exhibits and includes portrait and transformation masks, totem poles, panels and a 37-foot cedar canoe. He also creates mixed media bentwood boxes, acrylics and ceremonial regalia. Ian is currently working on four house poles for the Big House in Bella Bella.

Ian’s commitment to the continuing relevance and vitality of Heiltsuk art is perhaps best shown as a mentor and inspiration to young Heiltsuk and urban Aboriginal artists.