As a peaceful protest continues at the site of an effluent spill in Pictou Landing, the people there took a moment to pause and pay honour to their ancestors who are believed to be buried nearby.
Chief Andrea Paul said the traditional ceremony was beautiful and gave her goosebumps.
“It felt like that was what needed to be done,” she said.
She said she plans on putting on her rubber boots and wading out soon to the exact location where the burial site is supposed to be.
Meanwhile, she waits for the arrival of Northern Pulp executives and the province who are supposed to get in touch with her soon to discuss how the situation can be resolved.
Aside from allowing trucks in to suck away effluent from the surface, the Pictou Landing First Nation protesters aren’t allowing any machines onto the site.
“It was better to put it there (settlement ponds) than to leave it on the ground,” Paul said.
She said their goal is to have a plan in place with a timeline for closing and cleaning up Boat Harbour.
“There’s got to be a better way to do things in this day and age,” she said. “They need to figure that out.”
She considers this leak as an opportune time to make their point known about the dangers surrounding Boat Harbour.
“We would have been foolish not to,” she said.
Angie Gillis, acting senior director of the Mi’kmaw Conservation Group, said their organization was asked by members of Pictou Landing to assess the site and sample the area.
“For us we want to collect the information into an impact assessment report and then they will do what they wish with it,” she said.
At this point it’s too early to tell what the results of the tests are.
She said Boat Harbour has always been on the organization’s radar but this leak really put it to the forefront.
“We felt it was time to do what we could do.”
She too sees it as an opportunity for dialogue.
“This is not a legacy that anyone wants,” she said. “Hopefully all will come together to find a solution.”