Hundreds of First Nations people have flooded Facebook with photos of their food fish in a bid to show Kinder Morgan the importance of protecting coastal ecosystems.
The group Show Kinder Morgan Your Food Fish was created by Adam Olsen, the interim leader of the B.C. Green Party and a member of the Tsartlip First Nation on Vancouver Island.
'I have a salmon on my wedding ring. I know exactly what salmon means to First Nations in my community' - Adam Olsen, interim leader of the B.C. Green Party and member of Tsartlip First Nation
It all began when Olsen heard about a Kinder Morgan lawyer questioning the Kwantlen First Nation on how much of their diet comes from fish, during a National Energy Board hearing into the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline proposal.
"It was really less about the question than the way it was phrased," Olsen said in an interview with The Early Edition.
"I was out in my backyard looking at this glorious smoker full of sockeye salmon, took a picture of it and tweeted it at Trans Mountain, and said, 'here you go, Kinder Morgan, we eat fish and here's a sample.'"
Olsen quickly realized he was on to something, and set up the Facebook group, which now has more than 500 members and over 1,000 photos — including many of families and children celebrating fish.
"I'm not surprised," Olsen said.
"I have a salmon on my wedding ring. I know exactly what salmon means to First Nations in my community."
Trans Mountain says they understand the value of salmon
In a written statement, Trans Mountain said they do understand that salmon is very important for the Kwantlen First Nation and others.
"The question was asked by our counsel in a formal NEB Hearing and was intended as an opportunity for the Nation to complete the record on traditional land use rather than challenge the evidence of the Nation."
"We value our relationships with all Aboriginal groups whose territory we operate in."
Olsen says the Facebook page is about convincing the National Energy Board how much First Nations stand to lose in the event of an oil spill.
He plans to use the images as part of his presentation to the Board on Nov. 25.