Tar Sands Healing Walk Press Release

More Than 250 First Nations and Allies From Across North America Gather In Alberta To Raise Awareness

First Nations delegations from British Columbia and Ontario show growing concern and resolve against tar sands infrastructure projects across Canada.

FORT MCMURRAY ALBERTA (August 4, 2012) – Hundreds of First Nations leaders from BC, Alberta, the NWT and Ontario along with First Nation actress Tantoo Cardinal and allies from across North America, gathered in Fort McMurray today, to walk 13-kilometres through the visceral landscape of tar sands operations to bring attention to the destructive impacts of tar sands projects and pipelines on surrounding communities and the environment.

First Nation representatives from the Heiltsuk (BC), Yinka Dene (BC), Coastal First Nations (BC), the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, Six Nations (Ontario) and Aamijiwnaang (Ontario) joined with local First Nations leaders in a traditional mixing of the waters ceremony, bringing water from their respective territories as a symbol of importance of the protection of water and the sacred connection to mother earth.

Local elders led the group in prayers along the route that was once valuable northern Boreal forest and fertile traditional hunting, fishing and gathering grounds, stopping in the four directions to lay down tobacco as an offering for healing of the land.

“We have come from all over North America to walk together through the heart of the destruction caused by the ever-expanding tar sands and offer prayers for the healing of the land and its people,” said Dene National Chief Bill Erasmus. “For more than 500 years governments have fought over our lands and resources. It’s time the provincial and federal governments sit down with the First Nations, the rightful owners of these lands and resources, to decide if and when these lands should be developed.”

The third annual healing walk was organized by Keepers of the Athabasca, a network of First Nation, Metis and allied communities along the Athabasca River that includes people whose lives have been directly impacted by tar sands operations.

“The places where we used to pick berries and find our medicines have been destroyed by rapid tar sands projects,” said Anthony Ladouceur, Councillor of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation. “Our people have lived here for thousands of years, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to continue to live off the land with industry expanding all around us.”

The Alberta tar sands currently produce approximately 1.8 million barrels of oil per day; if industry and government’s expansion plans are approved that number could reach six million barrels per day. Local opposition to Shell’s two proposed open pit mine applications is growing, along with North American-wide resistance to pipeline proposals. Four pipelines are being proposed to transport tar sands oil: Enbridge Northern Gateway, Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain, Trans Canada Keystone XL, and Enbridge Line 9 reversal.

“I am deeply honoured to have the opportunity to participate in the 3rd Annual Tar Sands Healing Walk,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. “This sacred walk serves to remind us that we, as parents and grandparents, have the unconditional responsibility to safeguard and pass on the legacy of respecting and caretaking Mother Earth, entrusted to us by our ancestors, to our children and grandchildren.”

“This walk creates strength and unity among the people who have to live with the destructive impacts of tar sands. Together, we are more empowered to ensure a clean and healthy world for future generations,” said Roland Woodward Chair of the Keepers of the Athabasca.

The walk was not a protest, but a spiritual gathering to offer prayers for the healing of Mother Earth and all those negatively impacted by tar sands projects and associated infrastructure. Participants walked along Highway 63 past Suncor and Syncrude’s operations to help heal what has been destroyed and to give each other the spiritual strength to carry on.

To Arrange Media Interviews :

Eriel Deranger 780-903-6598
Melina Laboucan-Massimo 780-504-5567

Roland Woodward, Keepers of the Athabasca, 780-972-1339
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, Union of BC Indian Chiefs, 250-490-5314
Chief Bill Erasmus, Dene Nation 613-859-5063
Anthony Ladouceur, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation 780-881-5115

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HEALING WALK MEDIA ADVISORY

Media Advisory

Hundreds to participate in third annual Tar Sands Healing Walk

For Immediate Release

1 August 2012 (Edmonton, AB) – Hundreds of First Nations leaders and allies from across North America will gather in Fort McMurray to walk 13 kilometres through the heart of Alberta’s tar sands operations as part of the third annual healing walk. The walk will begin with a traditional water ceremony where water brought from various communities is mixed together followed by speakers from tar sands and pipeline impacted communities. During the walk itself local Elders will lead prayers along the route in the four directions offering prayers for the healing of Mother Earth and all those negatively impacted by tar sands projects. The walk will take approximately 4 hours and be followed by a feast at the Anzac community Hall.

Who – First Nations, Metis, settlers, and allies from across Canada and the United States
What – Third annual healing week
When – Saturday, August 4, 2012 at 10 am
Where – Crane Lake Park off Highway 63 – 20 km North of Fort McMurray

For more information, please contact:

Eriel Deranger – 780 903 6598
Melina Laboucan-Massimo – 780 504 5567

For Immediate Release: First Nation meet with Alberta government proposing First Nation driven co-management and conservation in Northern Alberta

First Nation meet with Alberta government proposing First Nation driven co-management and conservation in Northern Alberta

 

JULY 10TH, 2012 EDMONTON, AB – Last week the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) met with Alberta Minister of Environment McQueen and Minister of Aboriginal Affairs Campbell to discuss a new First Nation driven report entitled Níh boghodi: We are the stewards of our land developed by ACFN with support from the Firelight Group. It outlinesa co-management stewardship plan for woodland caribou, barren-ground caribou and wood bison in Alberta based on traditional Dene ecological knowledge, sound conservation science and habitat protection and ACFN’s unique treaty and traditional rights. Massive industrial development and poor management practices are identified in the report as key factors in the decline of species in the region.

“Currently government and industry are not adequately addressing the annihilation of species and habitat necessary for survival in our traditional lands,” stated Chief Allan Adam of ACFN.  “Our stewardship plan addresses this problem and provides a tool for sustaining our way of life with community-based implementation and monitoring goals in partnership with science-based monitoring and management programs. We hope our discussions with the provincial government opened the doors to build a partnership and implement the necessary co-management and stewardship in the region.”

ACFN has held discussions with past provincial leadership regarding co-management of ACFN traditional lands with little progress.  Although Alberta’s new leadership gave no clear indication about moving forward with co-management, ACFN is optimistic the government will follow through with the “open door” promise to continue exploring the implementation of this new stewardship plan and ensuring responsible management and sustainable development of Treaty lands in Northern Alberta.

Níh boghodi, based on pro-active protection and restoration of habitat, establishes a Protection Zone north of the Firebag River with no new permits or development. The Stewardship zone, south of the Firebag River, is designed to provide a transitional area between the Protection zone and other areas with higher industrial development.  Much of the ACFN’s lands are already impacted or currently under threat from existing and proposed tar sands development. The ACFN hopes that a co-management partnership with the provincial government will protect these lands and cultural keystone species from further erosion and annihilation.

Pat Marcel, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Elder and co-author of Níh boghodi stated, “Dené sųłiné people of ACFN have unique rights to the lands identified for protection and stewardship in our report. Under the 1932 Game Act, the Crown set aside land from the 27th baseline north to the NWT, east to Saskatchewan, and west to Wood Buffalo Nation Park, for the exclusive use of the Chipewyan people.” He went on to say, “We have relied on our traditional lands and all they provide since time immemorial. Thunzea (woodland caribou), et’thén (barren ground caribou) and dechen yághe ejere (wood bison) have a central role our culture. Immediate action is necessary and it’s time for the governments to work with our people to ensure the protection of our treaty rights and the caribou and bison in our region.”

A copy of the full report is available online at www.acfn.com and http://www.thefirelightgroup.com/in-the-news/acfn-caribou-and-bison-project-nih-boghodi-we-are-the-stewards-of-our-land

 

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For more information contact:

 

Eriel Deranger, ACFN Communications Coordinator 780-903-6598 to set up an interview with Elder & co-author Pat Marcel or Chief Allan Adam.

 

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Fort Chipewyan community alarmed: Two deformed and lesion covered fish caught in Lake Athabasca

Fort McMurray – May 31, 2012 – Wednesday afternoon members of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN), including Chief Allan Adam, found two grotesquely deformed, lesion covered Fish in Lake Athabasca near the community of Fort Chipewyan, Alberta, a remote fly in community in Northern Alberta. The Suckerfish and Jackfish were found at two separate locations on Lake Athabasca Wednesday afternoon and are now stored in the community and will be sent for analysis at the CCWHC lab in Calgary.

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Pictures of the fish show lesions and sores across the fish’s entire body raising concerns among community members in Fort Chipewyan.

“These fish are just another reminder of why we have to keep challenging government and industry about the pace of development and what it’s doing to our water and land. Government and industry are clearly failing to adequately protect our waterways and wildlife from contamination upstream,” states Chief Adam.  “This is a clear indication of violations to the current Fisheries Act and our constitutionally protected Treaty rights.  If we continue to allow irresponsible development in the region what is going to be left for the next generation of our people?”

This is not the first time fish deformities have been found in the region, in September 2010 a slideshow of fish with tumors, deformities and signs of disease or infection collected from Athabasca region, downstream from the tar sands was presented to the public and made headlines.  Since this time the community has been waiting for independent studies on the health effects of the tar sands on the fish and people in northern Alberta. Instead of stronger protection and monitoring government announced drastic changes to the Fisheries Act removing provisions that prevent any industrial activities that “result in the harmful alteration, disruption, or destruction of fish habitat.”

Members of ACFN and much of the larger community of Fort Chipewyan are long time critics of upstream tar sands development and its impacts on traditional hunting, fishing, and gathering practices. Chief Adam, like many other residents of Fort Chipewyan, hold unique treaty rights that protect their ability to continue practicing traditional and cultural lifestyles that are now being impeded by encroaching tar sands projects, large water withdrawals and contamination of vital waterways.  In the wake of government failure to protect sacred and vital waterways and land ACFN sees no other choice but to seriously explore their own independent monitoring and stewardship plans that would adequately monitor and protect the land and waterways.

Chief Adam and ACFN have been vocal opponents to what they are calling irresponsible tar sands development in the Athabasca Delta.  ACFN filed suit against oil giant Shell Oil Canada in 2011 citing the company failed to meet past agreement for two of its open pit mining projects.  Chief Adam has publicly stated ACFN plans to challenge Shell Oil Canada’s two new proposed tar sands projects stating that allowing these projects to proceed would further impact their territory and way of life by taking away land, putting species at risk, lowering water levels and contaminating the fish supply.

“Enough is enough, we can no longer let the government grant permit after permit without adequately addressing impacts to our rights, our lands and the environment. We will do everything in our power to ensure that our water, our land and our rights are protected by pursuing all avenues for our own independent monitoring and stewardship of the region.”

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For More information contact:

Chief Allan Adam, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation 780-713-1220

Eriel Deranger, Communication Coordinator ACFN 780-903-6598

Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation present grievances to Shell Chairman, board and shareholders

For immediate Release

Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation present grievances to Shell Chairman, board and shareholders

May 22, 2012/The Hague, Netherlands – Today, Eriel Deranger, spokesperson and member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) addressed Shell executives and shareholders at Shell’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in the Hague, Netherlands highlighting the communities grievances with Shell’s current and proposed tar sands projects in their traditional territory in northern Alberta.

Shell’s Chairman was provided with a copy of the report “Risking Ruin: Shell’s dangerous developments in the Tar Sands, Arctic and Nigeria” launced last week by ACFN in partnership with the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN).  The report profiles Indigenous communities impacted by Shell’s operations in Canada’s Alberta Tar Sands, Alaska’s Arctic Ocean, Ontario’s Aamjiwnaang First Nation and Africa’s Niger Delta arguing that the impacts of Shell’s destructive activities outweigh the benefits and exposes the company to both reputational damage and political risk, including litigation.

ACFN traveled with an Indigenous delegation from Canada and Alaska, coordinated by the UK Tar Sands Network and IEN, to attend Shell’s AGM. Indigenous representative presented to Shell’s Chairman and Board about the human and ecological rights violations the company’s operations have brought to their respective communities.  

“Shell has failed to address our concerns in Canada’s tar sands by not meeting environmental standards, past agreements and refusing to address their impacts to our constitutionally protected treaty rights,” stated Deranger. “Shell’s current projects are contributing to the destruction of our traditional territory including vital watersheds and eco-systems.  Now they propose to expand projects further degrading our lands and impairing our ability to practice our constitutionally protected rights to hunt, fish, trap and gather in the region.”

Shell executives refused to address the concerns brought forward by Deranger, stating that ACFN is nothing more then anomaly among First Nation communities in Alberta’s tar sands.  Shell has been operating in Alberta’s tar sands since 2003 and now accounts for approximately 20% of overall operations in the region.  ACFN has numerous grievances with the oil giant with disputes arising around permits, leases, applications, and unmet agreements.  ACFN made headlines last year suing the oil giant for failure to meet past agreements regarding existing tar sands projects within ACFN traditional territory.

Shell’s plans to expand current projects include a new open pit tar sands mine in previously untouched regions of Athabasca Delta, more then doubling their production producing over 600,000 bpd. Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation stated, “I sincerely hope that Shell executives and shareholders listen to our spokesperson. Our community is drawing the line because we’ve had enough.  We have full intention of opposing all of Shell’s future tar sands projects in the region until our past grievances are met and there is full protection of our watersheds, eco-systems and our treaty rights in the region.”

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Media Contacts:

Chief Allan Adam in Canada 780-713-1220

Eriel Deranger in the Netherlands  +31 644941380

Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation representative join Indigenous Peoples from Canada, Alaska and Nigeria in the UK to criticize Shell for environmental destruction and human rights abuses

PDF VERSION AVAILABLE HERE – PR Shell Report & AGM

Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation representative join Indigenous Peoples from Canada, Alaska and Nigeria in the UK to criticize Shell for environmental destruction and human rights abuses

Report to be launched in London on Friday at public meeting before delegation travels to The Hague for AGM next week

London, UK – This Friday 18th May the Indigenous Environmental Network in partnership with Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation are launching an Indigenous-led campaign and report against Shell and its harmful projects. A delegation of four Indigenous people from North America will participate in the public launch of a report profiling the British-Dutch company’s increasing involvement in the world’s dirtiest and riskiest energy projects. The groups are working in solidarity with Indigenous communities in Nigeria to stop Shell’s plans to expand tar sands oil, Arctic drilling and refinery operations on Indigenous lands across North America.

The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation made headlines in 2011 by filing suit suing the oil giant for failure to meet past agreements made between Shell and the First Nation regarding existing tar sands projects within ACFN traditional territory and Canada’s pristine Athabasca watershed. Now, the First Nation is aggressively opposing Shell’s future tar sands projects in their traditional territory in Northern Alberta including a proposed project in the pristine wilderness of the Pierre River, a previously untouched area.

The new report being launched in London, entitled “Risking Ruin: Shell’s dangerous developments in the Tar Sands, Arctic and Nigeria” profiles Indigenous communities impacted by Shell’s operations in Canada’s Alberta Tar Sands, Alaska’s Arctic Ocean, Ontario’s Aamjiwnaang First Nation and Africa’s Niger Delta. It argues that the impacts of Shell’s destructive activities outweigh the benefits and expose the company to both reputational damage and political risk, including litigation.

Eriel Deranger, a community member and appointed spokesperson for the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation in the UK and the Hague, stated, “This new report highlights the dangers our community could face if we don’t protect our rights and land.  We don’t want our community to become the next Niger Delta—where Shell’s unregulated actions have left communities devastated and resulted in the need for a 30-year clean-up estimated to cost $1 billion USD.”

Eriel Deranger will continue traveling with the delegation to attend Shell’s Annual General Meeting in The Hague, Netherlands, on 22nd May 2012, where they will present to the Chairman and Board about the human and ecological rights violations the company’s operations have brought to the community. Other UK activist groups, including UK Tar Sands Network and London Rising Tide will be in attendance at the AGM to protest the oil giant both in Hague and London, UK via satellite AGM in the Barbican Centre.

Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation stated, “As a Chief I must often remain in my community and I regret that I could not attend the report launch and the AGM however, ACFN are drawing the line and we will continue to take a strong stance against Shell’s proposed projects. We want no further development in our territory without our consent until Shell is brought to justice and our broader concerns about the cumulative impacts of tar sands in the region are addressed.”

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Media Contacts:

Chief Allan Adam 780-713-1220

Eriel Deranger in the United Kingdom +44 (0)7831484133

Full Report Here Risking Ruin – Shell’s dangerous developments in the Tar Sands, Arctic and Nigeria

Shell under fire from Indigenous Peoples over human rights abuses and environmental destruction in Canada, Alaska and Nigeria

For immediate release: 17.5.2012

Shell under fire from Indigenous Peoples over human rights abuses and environmental destruction in Canada, Alaska and Nigeria

Report to be launched in London on Friday at a public meeting before the delegation travels to The Hague for next week’s Annual General Meeting of Royal Dutch Shell.

London, UK – This Friday, May 18th, the Indigenous Environmental Network in partnership with Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation are launching an Indigenous-led campaign against Shell and its harmful projects. A delegation of four Indigenous peoples [1] from North America will participate in the public launch of a report profiling the British-Dutch company’s increasing involvement in the world’s dirtiest and riskiest energy projects.

The launch event, ‘Get the Shell Out’ [2], is taking place at 7.30pm at Toynbee Hall, East London, with opportunities from 6.30pm for media interviews. It is co-hosted by a coalition of organizations which also includes UK Tar Sands Network, Women of Africa, Platform, Rising Tide UK, FairPensions, Greenpeace, Shell to Sea, Climate Rush, Art Not Oil and the Rossport Solidarity Camp.

The new report, entitled “Risking Ruin: Shell’s dangerous developments in the Tar Sands, Arctic and Nigeria” [3] profiles Indigenous communities impacted by Shell’s operations in Canada’s Alberta Tar Sands, Aamjiwnaang First Nation’s territory in Ontario, Alaska’s Arctic Ocean and Africa’s Niger Delta. It argues that the impacts of Shell’s destructive activities outweigh the benefits and expose the company to both reputation damage and political risk, including litigation.

The delegation will then attend Shell’s Annual General Meeting in The Hague, Netherlands, on 22nd May, where they will confront the Chairman and Board over the massive human and ecological rights violations and economic devastation that the company’s operations have brought to local communities. There will also be a simultaneous creative protest by UK activist groups, including UK Tar Sands Network and London Rising Tide, at Shell’s satellite AGM in the Barbican Centre on May 22nd.

Eriel Deranger, community member and spokesperson for the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN), Alberta – an Indigenous community residing downstream from tar sands operations and who are currently suing Shell for violating past agreements [4], states:

“Tar sands extraction projects on our traditional lands are being approved at a pace that is both irresponsible and irreparably destructive. People in the community of Fort Chipewyan
 are genuinely afraid. Our food and water sources are contaminated, resulting in a fear of eating traditional foods and eroding the continuation of our cultural and subsistence lifestyles. Yet Shell plans to aggressively expand its activities, doubling production. The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation is calling on Shell to meet its past agreements and halt expansion until our broader concerns about the cumulative impacts of tar sands operations are addressed.”

Ron Plain, from Aamjiwnaang First Nation, Ontario – which has been called ‘the most polluted place in North America’ by the National Geographic Society, and the ‘the most contaminated airshed in Canada’ by the World Health Organization due to its proximity to ‘Chemical Valley’ where Shell’s and other tar sands operators’ refineries are causing serious health and reproductive impacts – said:

“Aamjiwnaang is the first community in the world to experience birth ratios of 2 girls to 1 boy due to endocrine disruption from the pollution. This is the first step towards extinction. Shell have admitted that their current facility, which is located at the fence-line of Aamjiwnaang, ‘could not meet today’s environmental regulations or standards.’ But Shell’s proposal for a new facility within Aamjiwnaang territory was recently denied by Canada for a whole host of environmental, social and other reasons. The corporate response to that set-back was to build onto the antiquated facility the equipment needed to process more tar sands bitumen.”

Robert Thompson, Chairman of REDOIL and an Inupiat from Kaktovik, a village on the edge of the Arctic Ocean in Alaska, where Shell plans to drill offshore in Arctic waters this summer, said:

“Shell plans to drill in the Arctic this summer without the proven technology or infrastructure to deal with inevitable spills. They have not demonstrated the ability to clean up spills within or from under the ice or during storms. Our culture depends on a clean ocean, and we have subsisted in this region for 12,000 years. We oppose Shell’s plans that have the potential to destroy the culture of our people and will further push the planet into irreversible climate change.”

Ben Powless, a Mohawk from Six Nations in Ontario, representing the Indigenous Environmental Network [5], said:

“Not only have Shell reveled in being a climate criminal, they have also been exposed as fighting the European Union’s proposed Fuel Quality Directive, in collusion with the Canadian government. Their continued environmental destruction and violation of Indigenous rights across Canada, Alaska and Nigeria show that Shell needs to change their operations or face increasing protest and opposition across the world. Our organization is supporting an Indigenous-led campaign against Shell’s extreme energy projects to bring together front-line impacted communities.”

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For UK interviews contact: Suzanne Dhaliwal, UK Tar Sands Network, +44 7807095669

For North America contact: Clayton Thomas-Muller, IEN Tar Sands Campaign Director, ienoil@igc.org, +1 613 297 7515

1. The delegation consists of: Eriel Tchekwie Deranger, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Tar Sands Communications Coordinator, Robert Thompson, Chairman of REDOIL & Inupiat resident of Kaktovik, Alaska, Ben Powless, Indigenous Environmental Network, Ron Plain, Aamjiwnaang First Nation.

2. For more information about the event, see: http://www.no-tar-sands.org/events/get-the-shell-out/ As well as the delegation there will be speakers from Nigeria and the Rossport Solidarity Campaign. Media representatives are invited to arrive from 6.30 for interviews with the speakers.

3. Email suzanne@no-tar-sands.org if you would like to receive an advance copy of the report. It includes contributions from:

Nnimmo Bassey, Environmental Rights Action (ERA)/Friends of the Earth, Nigeria; Faith Gemmill, REDOIL (Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands), Alaska; Eriel Deranger, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation; Ron Plain, Aamjiwnaang First Nation; and Ben Amunwa, Platform London

It will go online at www.no-tar-sands.org on Friday morning.

4. For more information see: acfnchallenge.wordpress.com

5. To find out more about the Canadian Indigenous Tar Sands Campaign, see: http://www.ienearth.org/tarsands.html

Check out Chief Adam’s Op-Ed: Pipelines

Check out Chief Adam’s Op-Ed: Pipelines Threaten a way of Life #tarsands #pipeline #enbridge #shell http://ow.ly/aMDqI

Op Ed: Pipeline threatens a way of life

By Allan Adam, Edmonton Journal May 5, 2012

In January the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation signed the Save the Fraser Declaration offering support to the Yinka Dene Alliance and those opposing the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipelines. Alliance representatives are now travelling on the Freedom Train tour from northern B.C. to Toronto for Enbridge’s annual general meeting May 9 to enforce their legal refusal of the projects. We at the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation understand what is at stake for them, as our homelands are at the centre of the oilsands developments that are fuelling this controversy.

From a First Nations perspective, it doesn’t matter whether we stand on the coast of B.C. or in the heart of the oilsands – our struggle is largely one and the same. We don’t want our lands, our rights, or our people to be sidelined and destroyed by irresponsible development.

As Denesuline People, we have an intricate relationship with Mother Earth that keeps our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being in balance. This sacred connection is shared by our brothers and sisters in B.C. and is the very reason we support the opposition to the Gateway pipeline. We intimately understand their struggle to protect environmental values – values not only significant to First Nations peoples, but at the heart of what it used to mean to be Canadian.

Throughout a vast tract of our traditional lands, the land, air and waters upon which our people depend for our culture and livelihood are being devastated to extract the very bitumen that would be shipped through pipelines to the West Coast. In Alberta, the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation is challenging two oilsands proposals by Shell Oil – an expansion of the existing Jackpine Mine and the new Pierre River open pit mine.

The Pierre Rive Mine is proposed in a pristine region of the Peace-Athabasca Delta and would adversely impact critical habitat for species at risk, traditional lands and the ecology of the fragile and globally significant Delta that our people rely on. Both projects would be developed with adjacent wet tailings and require additional withdrawals from the Athabasca River – a sacred lifeline for our community.

Shell’s proposed projects would more than double their production. The proposed Enbridge pipelines would cross 1,000 rivers, three major salmon-bearing rivers and unceded territories of many First Nations. A spill would devastate the lives and economies of these communities and the fragile rivers and ecosystems they rely on.

What is more, despite assurances by Canada and Alberta that our environmental regulations are among the strongest in the world, both governments are taking steps to reduce environmental regulation to accelerate the pace of development. In recent years, Canada has shirked its duty to properly enforce the Fisheries Act, Navigable Waters Protection Act, Species at Risk Act, and the constitutionally protected provisions of treaties 6 and 8. Now, the federal government has proposed significant changes to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the Fisheries Act, both designed to streamline and reduce regulatory approvals processes for oilsands projects including pipelines.

Approval of the Enbridge pipeline would threaten B.C.’s $1-billion ecotourism and fishing economy and enable further expansion of oilsands development in our traditional lands, pushing us beyond the tipping point of what our lands and way of life can sustain. However, if First Nations in B.C. are successful in asserting their rights in the face of this unwelcome development, then we may share in their strength in meeting the challenges we face here in northern Alberta.

It is clear to us the Enbridge pipeline and oilsands expansion are linked at the source, and they all weigh heavily on our common future. It is our people – not those making the decisions in Ottawa, Calgary and elsewhere – who endure the constant concern of contamination, loss of livelihood and diminishing water quality. And yet, our concerns and the impacts to our people go largely unrecognized, unaccounted for and unaddressed as project after project receives approval and corporations continue to profit at the expense of our culture and way of life.

Allan Adam is chief of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation.

© Copyright (c) The Edmonton Journal

ACTION ALERT: Let the government and Shell know you are on watch!

ACTION ALERT: Let the government and Shell know you are on watch!
Sign up to be an interested party for Shell’s proposed Tar Sands projects

Join the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) and voice you concerns and sign up as an Interested Party for Shell’s proposed projects the Pierre River Mine and the Jackpine Mine Expansion projects by emailing Shell.Reviews@ceaa-acee.gc.ca and blind copy etchekwied@gmail.com.

Governments are changing the regulatory framework making it harder for the public to voice their concerns. Sign up while you still can! Signing up will notify you of additional environmental submissions by Shell, hearing dates, locations, and when you can make your own written/oral statements to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency about the projects.

We have said enough is enough. It’s time to ensure our critical eco-systems, Indigenous rights and traditional lands are protected in the wake of Tar Sands expansion. ACFN is putting everything on the line by challenging Shell’s two proposed Tar Sands projects.

WHY?

Shell’s past performance on ACFN’s traditional lands has given good reason for ACFN to oppose the proposed Jackpine Mine expansion and the Pierre River Mine projects. Both projects would adversely impact critical habitat for species at risk, traditional ACFN lands, and the ecology of a fragile Delta that our people are reliant on.  ACFN traditional lands and sacred waterways lay within the Peace-Athabasca Delta, one of the world’s last remaining intact freshwater deltas, as well as Canada’s Wood Buffalo National park.  The protection of these areas is important for ACFN and all Canadians alike.

Shell’s proposed projects would produce 600,000 bpd of tar sands, contributing to cumulative impacts and creating enough oil to fill the controversial Enbridge Northern Gateway pipelines pushing us beyond the tipping point of what our lands and way of life can sustain.

Help us tell Shell and the government that ACFN’s traditional lands and rights, Canada’s nationally protected parks and Delta cannot be sacrificed for more Tar Sands projects. ACFN welcomes you to join us and sign up as an interested party to voice your own concerns about the proposed projects.

Join ACFN and sign up today!

Email Shell.Reviews@ceaa-acee.gc.ca and bc etchekwied@gmail.com to sign up as an Interested Party to both the Pierre River Mine and the Jackpine Mine Expansion and let them know you stand with ACFN and voice your own personal concerns or questions. There are TWO projects! Make sure you’re clear you want to sign up for both.

Alternately you can write or call the respective Directors, Kurt Saunders and Jill Adams at the following:

 Pierre River Mine Project
Kurt Saunders, Associate Director
160 Elgin Street, 22nd Floor
Place Bell Canada
Ottawa  ON  K1A 0H3
Telephone: 613-957-0700 or 1-888-957-0941
Fax: 613-957-0941
Email: Shell.Reviews@ceaa-acee.gc.ca

 Jackpine Mine Expansion Project
Jill Adams, Panel Manager
160 Elgin Street, 22nd Floor
Place Bell Canada
Ottawa  ON  K1A 0H3
Telephone: 613-957-0700 or 1-866-582-1884
Fax: 613-957-0941
Email: Shell.Reviews@ceaa-acee.gc.ca

For more information please email
Eriel Deranger, ACFN Tar Sands Communications Coordinator at etchekwied@gmail.com


Yinka Dene Alliance Freedom Train – Tar Sands to Pipelines

The Yinka Dene Alliance is taking a Freedom Train across Canada to enforce their legal ban on the Enbridge Northern Gateway oil pipelines and tankers project, and to stand up for their freedom to choose their own future. A large delegation of Yinka Dene people will travel with allied First Nations from their traditional territories in northern BC all the way to Toronto, with events in Jasper, Edmonton, Saskatoon and Winnipeg along the route.

In Toronto, the Yinka Dene Alliance will take the Save the Fraser Declaration – which bans oil pipelines and tankers in the territories of more than 100 First Nations –  directly to Enbridge’s leadership and the centre of financial power in Toronto, at Enbridge’s annual shareholders meeting. These oil pipelines and tankers threaten the very survival of First Nations peoples with devastating oil spills. That is why the Yinka Dene Alliance are taking this Freedom Train across Canada: to stand up for the freedom to live according to their own cultures, the freedom to govern themselves and their lands, and the freedom of all of us from the catastrophic risks of big oil and their inevitable oil spills.

As part of this tour they will be stopping in Edmonton on May 1 and 2 and we would like to show them a warm welcome.

On May 1st various groups have organized a feast, round dance and time for people to hear the Yinka Dene speak and share the stories of their journey. For more information please check out the facebook event here.

On May 2nd, the Yinka Dene will rally at the Alberta Legislature and march to the Enbridge office in downtown Edmonton at 11:30am.  We welcome everyone to come and join them and help elevate their voices. For more information please check out the facebook event here.

As many of you remember, ACFN signed onto the Save the Fraser Declaration in January of this year.  We signed onto the declaration because we understand what is stake for the Yinka Dene and our struggles are one and the same.  We don’t want our rights, lands and people sidelined by profits and “development.” As Indigenous peoples we have an intricate relationship with Mother Earth and all that she provides us and we must carry out our duties as stewards of the land and stand up for those that cannot speak.

The connection to the Enbridge pipelines challenge lies in our own challenge of Shell’s proposed projects .  Shell’s proposed projects would more then double their production producing 600,000 b/p/d of tar sands contributing to cumulative impacts already felt in the region.  Shell’s projects alone would be enough to fill the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipelines enabling Shell’s expansion of tar sands development in our traditional lands, pushing us beyond the tipping point of what our lands and way of life can sustain. The proposed pipelines would also cross over 1000 rivers, 3 major salmon bearing rivers, and across unceeded territories of many First Nations in BC.

Both Shell and Enbridge projects have lacked proper analysis of Treaty and Indigenous rights and meaningful and proper consultation with impacted communities.  The JRP of the Enbridge pipelines has seen First Nation communities stand up in opposition in community after community asserting their connection to the land and culture are far greater then the piece meal profits and jobs they would get from the project.

Because the themes of our struggles intersect, the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation has been and will continue to keep a watchful eye on the progress of the Yinka Dene Alliance’s challenge of these massive pipelines.  It is our hope they will be successful in asserting their rights to both the corporations and the governments, then perhaps we can share in their strength challenging projects here in Northern Alberta.