Mother orca who carried her dead calf at center of hearings over Trans Mountain pipeline

November 29, 2018

Orca mother Tahlequah carried her dead calf for 17 days in July,but her loss is living on among First Nations and Washington tribes that havepresented her as a living witness.

The whale and the loss of her calf were at the center of prayers, songs and testimony before Canada’s National Energy Board in Victoria, B.C., on Wednesday, as it continued hearings underway for three weeks as part of its reconsideration of a massive expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

Suquamish, Swinomish, Lummi and Tulalip Nations traveled to Victoria to offer testimony to the board against the pipeline, and share cultural teachings about the importance of the orca, salmon and the tribes’ treaty-reserved fishing rights.

The small, but influential board approved the project in 2016. Construction was launched, only to be stopped in August when Canada’s Court of Appeals found the board had not adequately consulted with First Nations, or considered the effect of the project’s sevenfold increase in tanker traffic on orcas and the marine environment.

The board in September was given 155 days by the Canadian government to reconsider its recommendations. 

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