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First Nation fears oil-spill damage to archeological sites on Burrard Inlet

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Author Topic: First Nation fears oil-spill damage to archeological sites on Burrard Inlet  (Read 30 times)
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« on: August 01, 2007, 12:55:29 am »

First Nation fears oil-spill damage to archeological sites on Burrard Inlet
Jonathan Woodward, CanWest News Service
Published: Tuesday, July 31, 2007

VANCOUVER -- Ancient native archeological sites along the shores of Burrard Inlet may be suffering damage from last week's oil spill in Burnaby, leaders of the Tsleil-Waututh (Burrard) First Nation said yesterday.

Pictographs, arrowheads and other artifacts could be damaged not only by the oil that escaped from oil-slick booms after Tuesday's spill but also by the cleanup efforts, said hereditary chief Bill Williams.

"We have seen oil on the land, oil on areas of significance," said Williams, referring to areas on Burrard Inlet where the Coast Salish have lived for thousands of years.

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Font: ****"If oil covers it over and it's a pictograph, it could be completely destroyed, depending on how you clean it up," he said.

Williams would not specify the number and location of the sites he is concerned about, saying he feared vandalism.

The oil spill could also set back efforts to rehabilitate clam beds, said Tsleil-Waututh elected chief Leah George-Wilson.

"We're assessing damages to our own land as well as our ability to exercise our rights to fish," said George-Wilson.

Lance Sundquist of the B.C. Ministry of Environment said oil sheens as large as three metres by 10 metres have spread throughout Burrard Inlet, as far west as Canada Place in Vancouver and as far east as Deep Cove.

The ministry is listening to native concerns and is "plugged in" to the cleanup efforts, he said.

The sheens are thin and "non-recoverable," he said.

"When you have a busy harbour, you have many sources of sheen," he said. "We're documenting as much of it as we can."

Times Colonist (Victoria) 2007

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