Kyuquot youth gets an education on Burnaby Mountain

By Debora Steel, December 5, 2014

Valeen Jules caught up with Ha-Shilth-Sa at the Vancouver dinner gathering hosted by Quu'asa mental health for urban Nuu-chah-nulth.

Photo by Denise Titian

Vancouver — 

Valeen Jules has had a life-changing experience. The 18-year-old from Kyuquot volunteered to be fire-keeper during protests against Kinder Morgan exploration on Burnaby Mountain. The company intends to build a pipeline through the Coast Salish territory.

Jules spent 10- to 19- hour days ensuring the sacred fire was kept burning, and when the fire needed to be moved to accommodate a no-go zone for police to protect Kinder Morgan workers, Jules made front page news working with RCMP to establish the fire at a new site.

Jules said she stayed on the mountain because she wanted to hear the stories from the people, stories that she had been hearing during the day while she was there.

“I had no sleep for days, but could write a book about all I’ve heard about this land,” she told Ha-Shilth-Sa. It was her first protest so she jumped into it with enthusiasm.

Jules stayed 11 days camped outside the injunction zone watching Kinder Morgan ‘invade’ Coast Salish territory without consultation or permission.

“More than 70 per cent of the residents of Burnaby oppose this (pipeline),” said the full-time student in the Pathway to Health Career Program at Native Education College in Vancouver. “What (Kinder Morgan is) doing is wrong.”

Jules says she is currently without a fixed address, and living with relatives for the time-being.