Haisla Nation celebrate Kitimat’s no vote in Northern Gateway plebiscite (in digital Tri-X)

Robin Rowland 
Boy with no Enbridge cloak
A member of the Haisla Nation dances with a cloak saying “No Enbridge,” in Kitimat, April 12, 2014. (Robin Rowland)

Residents of Kitimat, BC, voted “No” Saturday, April 12 in a plebiscite that sort of asked them if they supported the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and tanker terminal project.

The vote was 1,793 opposed versus 1,278 who supported the project — 58.4 per cent to 41.6 per cent. The plebiscite called by the District of Kitimat Council caused rifts in the community during the campaign and raised tensions with the Haisla Nation. If it ever goes ahead, the Northern Gateway terminal would be in Haisla traditional territory and most members of the First Nation oppose the project.

It was a municipal plebiscite, called by the District, and that meant that only residents of the municipality could vote.  So members of the Haisla Nation who actually live in Kitimat could cast ballots, but members of the Haisla who live in Kitamaat Village, a federally designated Indian Reserve, could not.   All the same, many Haisla felt that they should have some input on what goes on in their traditional territory.   Some of the Haisla decided to demonstrate against the vote as polls closed. When the “No” result was announced, the demonstration turned into a celebration.

I was shooting on assignment for The Canadian Press and filed two images, one of a Haisla drummer that appears in The Province  and a dancer, in the Globe and Mail.

Many of the images of the celebration, taken at night with flash, were rather noisy.

So I decided to try a technique I’ve used before with night shots, converting to black and white. After a couple of test images, I decided to go for 1960s look, using the Tri-X  emulator in Photo Effects 8.  (For younger folks, Kodak Tri-X black and white film was the standard for journalism for decades before digital).


Spirit of Kitlope dancer
One of the Spirit of Kitlope dancers at the No vote celebration, Saturday, April 12, 2014. (Robin Rowland)
Haisla members with flag
Haisla Nation members hold a flag at the celebration. (Robin Rowland)
Nathan Cullen
Skeena Bulkley Valley NDP MP Nathan Cullen speaks to members of the Haisla Nation at the celebration. (Robin Rowland)
Gerald Amos
Gerald Amos speaks to a crowd of Haisla and Kitimat supporters at the park across from Kitimat’s City Centre Mall. (Robin Rowland)
Spirit of Kitlope
Spirit of Kitlope drummers and dancers at the No vote celebration. (Robin Rowland)
Spirit of Kitlope drummer
A Spirit of Kitlope singer. (Robin Rowland)


Haisla drummer
Haisla drummer at the park celebration. (Robin Rowland)

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