Nathan E. Stewart not going away

Split shot showing Nathan E. Stewart above and below water after running around in Heiltsuk territory

Six months ago the Nathan E. Stewart made headlines when it ran aground in Heiltsuk territory spilling 110,000 litres of diesel into coastal waters. The news reports may have faded but the impact of the spill has not.

This month the Heiltsuk Nation released their investigative report into this marine disaster. The exhaustive 146 page report is available for free download and begins like this:

The Investigation Report was undertaken by Heiltsuk as an exercise in sovereignty to determine what happened in our territory. We have governed our territory for hundreds of generations. We have customary laws Gvi’ilás, that teach us to balance the health of the land with the needs of the people. There are consequences for breaching these laws.

This month Hakai magazine also explores the lingering impact of the disaster, the shortcomings in the initial spill response, and plans to improve the response to future spills.

Photo of Nathan E. Stewart by Tavish Campbell

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