This spring, the Lax Kw’alaams Band, a Canadian First Nations people living in a remote part of British Columbia, rejected an offer amounting to $267,000 per person to allow a natural gas pipeline and processing facility to be built on their lands.
Four months later, members of the tribe have set up a makeshift occupation camp on the site of the proposed drilling site to hammer home their message that if their land must be for sale, it must come at a very high price.
"We are here to protect Flora Banks and Lelu Island from development from LNG company [sic], namely, Petronas," said band member Sm'oogyet Yahan (Don Wesley Sr.) in a video produced by conservation group Skeena Wild. "Lelu Island and Flora Banks have been the homestead of the Gitwilgyoots tribe for over 10,000 years."
You can see footage of the occupation in the video above.
A tribe spokesman said the occupation was being carried out by specific members of the band and was not formally endorsed by the band's council, but that he raised no objections to it.
A representative for Progress Energy declined to comment on the occupation, but said negotiations with the band's council were continuing, and that the company had already reached agreements with three other bands.
Yahan explains in the video that in addition to their ancestral significance the areas are highly sensitive habitats for fish and wildlife, as well as a vital source of food.
"If you take away the fish, you take away the people," he said. "It's as simple as that."
Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.