Treaty Chiefs Unanimously Demand a Halt to New Oil Sands Approvals

“Oil sands development has all but destroyed the traditional livelihood of First Nations in northern Athabasca watershed”

Calgary – From Wednesday to Friday of last week, Treaty Chiefs representing the Treaties 6,7 and 8 nations of Alberta met and passed a resolution, unanimously, to support the calls for no new oil sands approvals until Treaty First Nations have approved a comprehensive watershed management plan and resource development plan for the region.

“It is time for the Alberta Government to feel the pressure that our communities have been feeling for so long, the tide has turned in our favour,” said Chief Allan Adam of the Fort Chipewyan First Nation. “Thresholds have to be put in place that will protect ecosystem and human health along with the well being of our land.”

The Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan Dene First Nation and member of the Keepers of the Athabasca brought forward the resolution moved by Chief Janvier of the Cold Lake First Nation and seconded by Chief Laboucan of the Driftpile First Nation. After a few minor additions to the resolution it passed, on Friday, unanimously.

“The cumulative impacts of oil sands development has all but destroyed the traditional livelihood of First Nations in northern Athabasca watershed. The law is clear that First Nations must be consulted whenever the province contemplates action that may negatively affect Aboriginal and treaty rights,” explains Keepers of the Athabasca member Vivienne Beisel (B.A., LL.B., LL.M).

“The province has continued to issue approvals for new developments without obtaining their consent or consulting with First Nations in a meaningful and substantial way. This is in direct breach of Treaty 8 First Nations’ treaty-protected Aboriginal rights to livelihood, and thus a violation of s.35(1) of the Constitution and Articles 26 and 27 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples’, and international agreement which Canada, along with three other nations, has refused to sign.”

Keepers of the Athabasca is a new non-profit organization working to unite the peoples of the Athabasca River and Lake Watershed to secure and protect water and watershed lands for ecological, social, cultural and community health and well-being.

“We came to the Treaty Chiefs of Alberta meeting last week to request an inquiry into the lack of consultation by all levels of government and our peoples regarding the impacts of oil sands development,” states Chief Albert Mercredi of the Fond du Lac First Nation, located on the eastern shores of Lake Athabasca. “Pollution from the developments do not stop at the political borders between Alberta and neighbouring provinces. The Federal Government and the Governments of Alberta and Saskatchewan have a legal duty to consult and accommodate around the uncertainties associated with development and their impacts on our right to livelihood.”

Gaining the support of the Treaty Chiefs is an important step for the Keepers of the Athabasca, as there are 15 directly affected First Nations reserve-based communities as well as numerous other indigenous communities.

“In passing a resolution for no new oil sands approvals, the chief’s of Alberta have shown great leadership,” says Peter Cyprien, co-chair of Keepers of the Athabasca, who was present at the passing of the resolution, “it is our hope now, as citizens of Fort Chipewyan, that the Government of Alberta and Canada will show the same leadership.”

The Keepers of the Athabasca are committed to completing a community-based watershed management plan based on the interests, rights and needs of the residents living throughout the basin. They have planned to visit communities along the Athabasca River this summer and with the goal of completing a report on the state of the Athabasca River and Lake Basin.

[From STOP: Stop Tar Sands Operations Permanently] 

Posted in Indigenous, Tar Sands
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8 years 6 months ago

Is economic globalization the colossal expression of a contagion well-known to everyone: human greed?

8 years 6 months ago

This is a particularly remarkable commentary. Thanks.

What I would like to add here is something for your consideration, and comment if it pleases to you to do so.

A large part of what is worrying me is this: the family of humanity appears not to have more than several more years in which to make necessary changes in its conspicuous over-consumption lifestyles, in the unsustainable overproduction practices of big-business enterprises, and its overpopulation activities. Humankind may not be able to protect life as we know it and the integrity of Earth for even one more decade.

If we project the fully anticipated growth of increasing and unbridled per-capita consumption, of rampantly expanding economic globalization and of propagating 70 to 75 million newborns per annum, will someone please explain to me how our seemingly endless growth civilization proceeds beyond the end of year 2012.

According to my admittedly simple estimations, if humankind keeps doing just as it is doing now, without doing whatsoever is necessary to begin modifying the business-as-usual course of our gigantic, endless-growth-oriented global economy, then the Earth could sustain life as we know it for a time period of about 5 more years.

It appears to me that all the chatter, including that heard in most “normal science” circles, of a benign path to the future by “leap-frogging” through a ‘bottleneck’ to population stabilization, and to good times ahead in 2050, is nothing more than wishful and magical thinking.

Unfortunately, even top rank scientists have not found adequate ways of communicating to humanity what people somehow need to hear, see and understand: the reckless dissipation of Earth’s limited resources, the relentless degradation of Earth’s frangible environment, and the approaching destruction of the Earth as a fit place for human habitation by the human species, when taken together, appear to be proceeding toward the precipitation of a catastrophic ecological wreckage of some sort unless, of course, the world’s colossal, ever expanding, artificially designed, manmade global economy continues to speed headlong toward the monolithic ‘wall’ called “unsustainability” at which point the runaway economy crashes before Earth’s ecology is collapsed.

Steven Earl Salmony
AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population, established 2001
http://sustainabilitysoutheast.org/

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