Treaty 8 Releases their statement and position on Alberta’s Final draft Aboriginal Consultation Policy

The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation would like to share the following statement released by the office of the Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta.

It is very important to understand the long term implications this policy would have on many First Nations ability to effectively assert and meaningfully protect their lands, rights and culture.  This is particularly important in resource rich areas of Alberta where many of the lagging environmental policies and practices have already lead to the cumulative removal of  lands, wildlife and fish habitat as well as the destruction of ecological, aesthetic and sensory systems that many Nations rely on. This has consequently affected Treaty promises, cultural and spiritual renewal, procurement of resources, and Peoples connection and use of landscape that are integral to traditional use. The proposed consultation policy does not leave room for adequate space and time to address these issues.  

Our people have unique rights and are developing our own sovereign tools and policies to pave the way forward.  The Alberta goverments proposed policy is nothing more then a slap in the face to our rights and sovereignty. 

Please share the following:

 

Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta
To Protect, Promote, Bring to Life, Implement, and Sustain the True Spirit and Intent of Treaty No. 8 as long as the sun shines, the grass grows, and the waters flow.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Chiefs Have No Input On Consultation Policy Changes

SUB OFFICE

c/o Santa Fe Plaza
18178 – 102 Avenue Edmonton, Alberta T5S 1S7 Telephone: (780) 444-9366 Fax: (780) 484-1465

Edmonton, Alberta – September 10, 2013 – The Government of Alberta has recently released it’s latest installment of Consultation Policy and draft Guidelines and long standing recommendations from First Nations are still noticeably absent from the document.

“In September of 2010, the Chiefs from across Alberta got together to produce a position paper on how to improve consultation policy within this province. That position paper gave clear recommendations on ways to create a better system, yet these are not reflected in this newly released policy. It is obvious that the government has not taken any of our positions into account in the development of this policy. This has been a very frustrating process,” states Richard Kappo, Grand Chief of Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta.

“The Chiefs from across Treaty 8 [Alberta] have just met to discuss this issue and after years of trying to improve consultation for both us and Albertans, they are not happy. We [The Chiefs of Treaty 8 Alberta] want to be clear that we were not just outright rejecting previous policies but instead, we provided the government with workable alternatives, all of which were ignored.” In addition to the position paper, Grand Chief Kappo is referring to numerous letters, since 2010, that have been sent to Alberta in regards to working with them to change the consultation process into a more adequate model. These attempts have had little success in adjusting this newest policy creation.

“We are talking about the very core of our Treaty Rights, the hunting, trapping and fishing rights of our members and ensuring those rights are preserved so we can continue to practice a traditional lifestyle,” says Grand Chief Kappo before adding, “We recognize that consultation is a two way street, and we made significant efforts to try to create meaningful opportunities for consultation and get the voices of our citizens heard. Unfortunately, no one within the Government of Alberta is listening to us.”

“Many of the Nations of Treaty 8 already have their own consultation practices and policies in place, something that they put a lot of thought, effort and resources into developing. This latest policy overrides any policies First Nations already have and leaves it up to industry on whether or not they want to follow them,” states the Grand Chief.

Alberta claims to be committed to working with First Nations but First Nations are skeptical. “We have already comprehensively laid out how to make the system better, but I don’t see any of that work reflected here [in the policy and draft guidelines],” says the Grand Chief. “They will have difficulty in finding receptive Chiefs when recent history suggests that our input will have no influence on the outcome.”

Contact:
Greg Posein Communications Coordinator gposein@treaty8.org
18178 – 102 Avenue Edmonton, Alberta T5S 1S7 Ph: (780) 444-9366 

For Immediate Release: First Nations Leader Calls on Politicians to Experience Tar Sands Firsthand at 2013 Healing Walk

June 17, 2013

First Nations Leader Calls on Politicians to Experience Tar Sands Firsthand at 2013 Healing Walk

Minister Joe Oliver and Premier Redford Invited to Join More than 500 Residents and Concerned Citizens From Across Canada, US

 

FORT MCMURRAY, ALBERTA-

Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Fort Chipewyan First Nation has issued a formal request to Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver and Alberta Premier Allison Redford to join the fourth annual Tar Sands Healing Walk in Fort McMurray on July 6. A fourteen-kilometre, day-long journey, hosted by the Keepers of the Athabasca, the Healing Walk is a spiritual gathering focused on healing the traditional territory of the nations that has been impacted by tar sands expansion.

“We believe that our politicians are out of touch and have no idea what it is like to live day-to-day in a place that has been made toxic by out of control tar sands development. It is important for them to experience this place, to drink the water, breathe the air and hear from the people who are quickly losing hope for a livable future for their children and grandchildren,” said Chief Adam. “On behalf of our nation and the more than five hundred others who will join us on this journey, we invite Minister Oliver and Premier Redford to walk alongside us.”

To encourage participation by the politicians, the nation has also issued a formal petition, which to date has already gathered close to 7000 signatures. The petition can be found on the Healing Walk website at http://www.healingwalk.org/helpfromhome

Hundreds of participants from across Canada and the US have registered to attend the walk and many will be making their own pilgrimages both before and after the event to raise continued awareness of the impact expansion is having not only in Alberta but in other provinces and in states that are facing proposed oil and gas infrastructure development. Saskatoon’s Dion Tootoosis of the Poundmaker Cree will ride a bicycle from Halifax to Fort McMurray sharing his hope for a sustainable future, and a group from the US will undertake a Compassionate Walk along the Keystone XL pipeline route from Alberta to Nebraska to encourage care and respect for the earth after participating in the Healing Walk.

Award winning journalist and author Naomi Klein will also join the Healing Walk. “Canada’s dependence on dirty oil money is sickening our country in countless ways. Not only is the land itself being poisoned, alongside the people who depend on that land, but the tar sands boom is poisoning our collective political culture as well,” she said. “It is being poisoned by escalating attacks on First Nations rights, by the dismantling of crucial environmental protections, and by the gagging of scientists whose findings are inconvenient to the quest for ever more extraction. I am participating in this sacred walk because it invites us all to begin a process of healing — healing the land from violence, healing ourselves from our dependence on an economy based on that violence, and healing our deeply imperiled democracy.”

More information about the Healing Walk and to register to participate, visit the website at www.healingwalk.org

To view the photo associated with this press release, please visit the following link: http://www.marketwire.com/library/20130617-Chief_Allan_Adam_800.jpg

Contact Information

Eriel Deranger
Communications Coordinator
Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation
1-780-903-6598

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.

Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation’s Case against Shell

WHAT CASE?

On September 30, 2011 the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) filed a lawsuit against Shell Canada for unfulfilled terms of agreements between ACFN and Shell regarding Shell’s existing tar sands mines.  These agreements were meant to ensure Shell would provide measures to lessen impact of these mines on ACFN, including agreements to address environmental issues and mitigation. Shell received permits to begin tar sands operations in 1956 and is now one of the largest operators producing close to 20% of overall production with projects directly on Indigenous lands.

Shell has not honored these agreements with ACFN leaving many commitments outstanding. ACFN members and others have observed that Shell’s operations are harming the environment and ACFN’s rights and culture, the impacts of the failed agreements contribute to the following:

  • lost opportunities to conduct environmental monitoring in the ACFN’s traditional territory during the development of Shell’s projects; and
  • lost opportunity to mitigate impacts and potential impacts to ACFN aboriginal and treaty rights caused by the development of these projects.

IMPACTS OF SHELL EXISTING PROJECTS

  • Polluted water and contributed to low water levels in the Athabasca and Muskeg Rivers.
  • Shell has exceeded surface water quality, ground water quality and air quality values at the Muskeg River Mine.
  •  Fish and wildlife have been impacted by poor water quality downstream of oil sands. There are only 3 Fishery officers for all of Alberta.
  • Shell’s Scotford upgrader, which processes bitumen from the Muskeg River Mine, has had accidents resulting in fires and uncontrolled releases of deadly H2S.
  • Shell tried to avoid installing sufficient pollution control equipment at the Muskeg River Mine and was unable to meet its solvent recovery requirements.
  •  At the adjoining Styrene Monomer Manufacturing Plant, Shell has released wastewater effluent that failed to meet permit limits (August 2008) and has also released wastewater without even sampling or monitoring the discharge at all (June 2001).
  • Shell’s tailings plans for both the Jackpine Mine and the Muskeg River Mine did not meet the standards of Directive 074, the government policy designed to reduce the environmental impact of tailings.
  •  Shell has not honored their agreement with the Oil Sands Environmental Coalition either – Shell had promised OSEC to reduce its greenhouse gas pollution to levels in line with alternatives available in North America.

WHAT NOW?

Now, Shell is proposing to massively expand one of these existing projects, and also has plans for a completely new project in an area that is very important to ACFN’s traditional way of life.  ACFN  members fear that these mines will have catastrophic effects on First Nations rights and the environment.   If Shell Canada’s proposals are approved it would more then double their production.  ACFN is drawing the line, and taking a strong stand against Shell. ACFN wants no further developments until Shell is brought to justice and their broader concerns about the cumulative impacts in the region are addressed.

For more information on the Joint Review Process for the two proposed projects please click here.

IMPACTS OF PROPOSED SHELL PROJECTS

  • Significantly impact at least 10 species at risk and a range of wildlife and habitat in the area;
  • Drive ACFN members out of an actively used region of their territory that is critical to maintaining their culture, particularly for the families and members associated with the southern territories of ACFN’s traditional lands, which have already been devastated by oil sands development;
  • Contribute to the massive water withdrawals by oil sands projects from the Athabasca River, which ACFN members rely on as a transportation highway to their traditional sites, but which is now reported to be so low at points that safe access is no longer possible to many  traditional sites throughout ACFN’s lands;
  • Contribute to the contamination of the Athabasca River, the lifeblood of ACFN culture – already many members are too concerned to eat fish from the Athabasca River, once a cultural staple;
  • Generate vast amounts of tailings (JPM would be the largest tailings pond in the oil sands), a toxic legacy which the industry still has no foreseeable ability to reclaim or de-contaminate; and
  • Significantly accelerate the overwhelming development occurring on ACFN’s traditional lands,. ACFN members are at the tipping point for the survival of their culture, their traditional practices and the rights solemnly promised to them by the Crown under Treaty 8.

WHAT CAN I DO?

So far, Shell has only promised to address some of these effects if First Nations enter into agreements with Shell.  But, Shell’s performance on ACFN’s traditional lands has given good reason for ACFN to oppose to the proposed Jackpine Mine Expansion and Pierre River Mine. The Joint Review Panel, the government regulators and the people of Alberta should not trust this particular corporation to do the right thing.

The Joint Review Panel reviewing the proposed Jackpine Mine Expansion project announced a comment period on the adequacy of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and the Application filed by the proponent, Shell Canada Ltd. This comment period provides interested parties an opportunity to express their views to the Panel on the adequacy of the available information.

“The Panel will review the public comments received and will determine whether it will require additional information from the proponent. Once the Panel is satisfied that the information is adequate, it will announce the details of the public hearing, including the hearing commencement date, the hearing venue, and any prehearing process and will provide a minimum of 60 days notice prior to the start of the hearing.” [http://news.gc.ca/web/article-eng.do?nid=626129]

Forward your written comments by mail, e-mail or fax, in either official language by December 16, 2011 to the Panel Secretariat at the address below. All comments received by the Joint Review Panel will be considered public and will be posted on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry Internet site.

Joint Review Panel Secretariat
Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
160 Elgin Street, 22nd Floor
Ottawa, ON K1A 0H3
Tel.: 1-866-582-1884
Fax: 613-957-0941
Shell.Reviews@ceaa-acee.gc.ca

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON HOW YOU CAN SUBMIT PUBLIC COMMENTS PLEASE CLICK HERE

ACFN is drawing the line, and taking a strong stand against these proposed Shell projects and the rapid development of its traditional lands without regard for its treaty rights, its cultural survival or the devastating environmental impacts. ACFN wants no further developments until Shell is brought to justice and our broader concerns about the impacts of development in the region are addressed.