Tag Archives: indigenous rights

New Report Reveals High Risks, No Reward of Alberta Clipper Tar Sands Pipeline Expansion

March 31, 2014. Source: Indigenous Environmental Network

AllRiskNoRewardCover-234x300A new report released today by the Sierra Club and 13 other groups including the Indigenous Environmental Network, examines the proposed expansion of the Alberta Clipper tar sands pipeline and concludes that there are significant threats to water, health and climate. The report, All Risk, No Reward: The Alberta Clipper Tar Sands Pipeline Expansion, comes in advance of a rally to stop the Alberta Clipper expansion that will take place before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission public hearing in St. Paul, MN on April 3.

“The risks are too high, said Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network. “Any spill, leak or explosion could have a devastating effect to the rich biodiversity and cultural diversity of northern Minnesota. The human rights of Native people in northern Alberta, Canada where this crude oil comes from are already being violated. There can be no reward when it comes to dirty oil that ruins the quality of water, ecosystems and the life of people.”

“This report confirms our worst fears about the proposed Alberta Clipper expansion,” said author Sarah Mine. “This tar sands expansion project is far too risky to communities in North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, who would be subjected to extreme environmental degradation, extreme carbon pollution, and tremendous threats to their land, water, and health.”

Canadian pipeline company Enbridge Inc. plans to pump 800,000 barrels per day of one of the planet’s dirtiest sources of oil through North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. This expansion project would almost double the pipeline’s current capacity and put it on par with the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

Expanding Alberta Clipper’s capacity would expose communities and tribes to tar sands’ full complement of disturbing climate, safety, and environmental implications; potentially devastate cultural and historical resources; give the landlocked tar sands industry access to ports and enormous new overseas markets; and enable the massive, environmentally devastating tar sands growth planned by the industry.

Tar sands crude can be far more dangerous than conventional crude, especially in water, and the proposed expansion project could put the region’s clean water at risk. The tar sands dilbit sinks in water, where standard cleanup techniques do not work. The Alberta Clipper route crosses many bodies of water that are critical as drinking water sources and cultural and ecological sites.

Enbridge Inc. has a disgraceful history of spills, including the worst onshore oil spill in U.S. history when a ruptured Enbridge pipeline poured 843,000 gallons of tar sands crude into Michigan’s Talmadge Creek and Kalamazoo River.

Mark Westlund, Sierra Club
415-977-5719 – mark.westlund@sierraclub.org

Tom BK Goldtooth, Ex. Dir. IEN
(218) 751-4967 – ien@igc.org


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Update on Idle No More Actions and Events: Elsipogtog, Barriere Lake, Lubicon Lake

As Idle No More organizers prepare for a Dec 8th #INM1yr Webinar and a Dec 10th action in Ottawa against the FNEA, Indigenous land defenders are standing strong from Elsipogtog, to Barriere Lake, to Lubicon Lake.

Read and watch these powerful messages and updates from Land Defenders, and keep a look-out for the launch of an Idle No More CrowdFunding Campaign and a series of actions throughout December.


Watch 3 powerful messages from Elsipogtog to the Idle No More Movement.  These videos were taken in Elsipogtog on Dec 3rd, 2013.  If you can, please donate to the legal defense fund for the warriors.

• Message To #idlenomore From Two Warriors From The #elsipogtog Anti-fracking Blockade Camp In Unceaded Miqmac Territory

• Suzanne Patles of #Elsipogtog Warriors Society speaks to #IdleNoMore

• A Message For #idlenomore From Chief Aaron Sock Of #elsipogtog First Nation!


Algonquins of Barriere Lake Stop Unauthorized Forestry Operations On Their Territory Until Agreements Respected.  “”We are trying to protect and steward the land and water for future generations of native and non-native society, ” says Norman Matchewan, a Barriere Lake councillor.”  Read full article. Read the letter they sent to the Quebec Government.


Toronto activists lock down to equipment at Enbridge Line 9 river crossing on Dec 3rd. Members of Rising Tide Toronto have locked down to equipment at an Enbridge Line 9 river crossing, effectively halting construction. This construction is taking place before the NEB has approved this pipeline reversal project. This action, taking place on Mississauga New Credit territory, was done in solidarity with Indigenous sovereigntist and environmental justice struggles across Turtle Island.   Read media release.


On November 26th the Lubicon Lake Nation people have been driven to enforce their Law against PENN WEST PETROLEUM LTD. (TSX: PWT); (NYSE: PWE).  They took actions against an oil lease site located in their Territory by peacefully occupying a nearby access road. The oil and gas giant.Penn West has indicated they intend to drill and use hydraulic fracturing at the location. The site is at the headwaters of a nearby lake, bordered by the traditional Lubicon community of Kinosew Sakahikan referred to provincially as Haig Lake.  Read full article. More up to date information can be found on their website at: http://www.lubiconlakenation.ca/ and on twitter: @LubiconNation


Mana Moana: Pacifika Rising!! By Dr. Manulani Aluli Meyer RSVP Now! #IdleNoMore is so honored and excited to have Indigenous scholar and activist Manulani Aluli Meyer join us for the Idle No More Webinar on Dec. 8th!! Manulani received her doctorate in education from Harvard University. She is currently the International Indigenous professor at Te Wananga o Aotearoa, a Maori university in New Zealand, after teaching at UH Hilo for 20 years. She is cofounder of Kaiao Garden at the Boys and Girls Club in Hilo and of Hoea Ea Food Sovereignty Youth Conferences. She is author of Ho‘oulu: Our Time of Becoming—Hawaiian Epistemology and Early Writings.


#NoWayFNEA Idle No More Ontario  Learn more and RSVP for the event!  The Federal Government of Canada has had their chance to educate First Nations peoples. They did a horrible job, nearly decimating our languages and cultures in the process. Now the Harper government wants to impose a new First Nations Education Act.

They are not qualified.

Blackmailing us with funding to sign education agreements we don’t agree with, can’t implement without money and don’t want anyway. Violating privacy laws with ridiculous requirements for all First Nations students. We are stopping the FNEA!

Listen to what key people have to say about this. Learn how you can help. Rise!

  • 11:00 AM Victoria Island Ceremony and Sacred Fire with Algonquin Elder Peter DeContie

  • 11:20 AM Ceremonial March to Parliament Hill with Ogitichta (Vern Harper is the Spiritual Elder to this Drum), Nation Flags, Eagle Staffs

  • 12:00 NOON Algonquin Elder to welcome us to the Hill.

  • Speakers list to include Russ Diabo, Wab Kinew, Charlie Angus, Gayle .

  • 2:00 PM Round Dance with David Charette

  • 3:00 PM End of event

Idle No More Info

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, Forests, Idle No More, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs

Statement on the UN Climate Conference in Warsaw by Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director, Indigenous Environmental Network


Tom Goldtooth, IEN

The United Nations climate meetings involve the big powers of the United States and other industrialized “developed” countries. Lurking in the background are the financial sectors and investors of capital often having meetings in 4-5 star hotels.

Everything I have seen from the industrialized countries (including G20 countries) is false solutions towards addressing climate change. They have been playing a game of chess with climate.

As articulated at the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in 2010 in Cochabamba, Bolivia, the root cause of climate change is capitalism. IEN had a delegation in Cochabamba actively involved in the outcome documents. The problem is countries will continue to drill, dig, and burn up every drop of oil, gas, and coal; no matter how expensive it is, till it runs out globally.

After fossil fuel resources are depleted, the world will move into a global bio-energy and bio-economy (plants, energy crops, trees, algae, etc.). To do this, they need full access to land (and water), with no restrictions – worldwide. Everyone’s rights to land and water will be diminished.

The issues of access to and political power games over Energy and Water will be the battleground for our next generation. It will be over the Privatization of Nature – of Mother Earth. We will witness more deregulation of corporate activity, more privatization and commodification of the natural “commons”. They have given themselves rights to have Dominion over Nature.

What will it take to turn this around?

Many are grappling with this question. But, I believe a mass movement globally is needed to resist this insanity. But, it also involves a spiritual awakening. As I have said many times, the people of the world must re-evaluate what their relationship is to the sacredness of Mother Earth.

As Indigenous Peoples, those that follow our teachings, we know what our responsibilities are to the Natural Laws of Mother Earth. But the industrialized man, industrialized societies do not know this. IEN has spoken to this for over 22 years!

The modern world of capitalism and its world of corporate schizophrenia are already co-opting our Indigenous leadership with false solutions via benefit-sharing scenarios, or to be nice “Indians” and just share our traditional knowledge for adaptation to climate change; rather than our participation demanding real change and action.

Real binding commitments and real actions to reduce emissions at source must be the major path in these negotiations. But, this is not the agenda in Warsaw at this time. This is why the tar sands in Canada is ground zero in Turtle Island – North America to fighting for climate justice; for the rights of Indigenous Peoples, and for a new colonial paradigm (not ours, but their system) that moves away from a Property Rights regime, towards a system that recognizes Earth Jurisprudence.

–Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of Indigenous Environmental Network and member of the International Indigenous Peoples’ Forum on Climate Change, the Indigenous caucus within the UNFCCC

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Filed under Climate Change, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Oil, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests, UNFCCC

First Nations to resume blockade in Canadian fracking fight

Note: Clayton Thomas-Muller is on the Board of Directors of Global Justice Ecology Project

–The GJEP Team

Renewed protests follow announcement that energy company will re-start shale gas exploration

By Sarah Lazare, November 5, 2013.  Source:  Common Dreams

A Royal Proclamation day feast brought out over 300 to the anti-fracking blockade in Rexton, New Brunswick in early October. [Photo: Miles Howe]

Elsipogtog First Nations members are heading back to the streets in New Brunswick this week to defend their land from a gas drilling company seeking to re-start exploratory fracking operations in the region.

The new wave of local anti-drilling resistance will resume an ongoing battle between the community members who faced a paramilitary-style onslaught by police last month that sparked international outcry and a wave of solidarity protests.

“This is an issue of human rights and access to clean drinking water, and it’s fundamentally about sovereignty and self-determination.” –Clayton Thomas-Muller, Idle No More

The renewed protest follows a recent announcement by New Brunswick’s premiere that SWN Resources Canada, a subsidiary of the Houston-based Southwestern Energy Company, will resume shale gas exploration in First Nations territory after it was halted by blockades and protests. Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Justice, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, Hydrofracking, Idle No More, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs

Ontario First Nation rejects forest management plan

Failure to consult and infringes on Aboriginal and Treaty Rights cited

31 October, 2013–Today Grassy Narrows Chief and Council sent an open letter to Premier Wynne rejecting Ontario’s Forestry Management Plan 2012 – 2022 for another decade of clear-cut logging on Grassy Narrows Territory.  The Forest Management plan for the Whiskey Jack Forest 2012-2022 is in the final stages of approval and is currently posted for public comment.  

The plan sets out a schedule to clear-cut much of what little mature forest remains on Grassy Narrows Territory after decades of large scale industrial logging.  This will further erode the Aboriginal, Treaty Rights and the ability of the community to sustain their families and to practice their culture through fishing, hunting, trapping, medicine harvesting, ceremony and healing for all generations.

“Premier Wynne, it is within your power to ensure that the mistakes of the past are not repeated at the expense of another generation of Grassy Narrows children,” said Grassy Narrows Chief Simon Fobister.  “I call on you to ensure that never again will Ontario attempt to force decisions on our people and our lands.”

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Filed under Biodiversity, Climate Change, Forests, Idle No More, Indigenous Peoples

It begins with respect: The meaning of living well for the Tseltal and Tsotsil Mayans of Chiapas

Note: Jeff Conant is the former Communications Director for Global Justice Ecology Project.

-The GJEP Team

By Jeff Conant, July 30, 2013. Source: Intercontinental Cry

A dialogue with Pedro Hernández Luna and Miguel Sanchez Alvarez concerning el lekil kuxlejal, June 29, 2013

Throughout the Americas and the world, the name of Chiapas, Mexico, has become synonymous with struggles for indigenous resistance. From the First Indigenous Congress held in San Cristóbal de las Casas in 1974 to the 1994 uprising in which the Zapatista Army of National Liberation launched a struggle for land and liberty that would change the political geography of Mexico and shake loose historical memory across the continent and around the world, to the 2001 March for Indigenous Dignity in which thousands descended on Mexico City to demand that the congress of the nation amend the constitution to include a Law of Indigenous Rights and Culture, Chiapas has been at the vibrant heart of the construction of new forms of indigenous struggle and territorial autonomy.

One set of beliefs, generally translated as el buen vivir, or living well, is at the heart of indigenous resistance. A similar concept, the Quechua notion of sumak causay, gained a certain recognition among climate justice activists following the Cochabamba People’s Summit on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth convened by President Evo Morales of Bolivia in 2009. Assumak causay was brought to the awareness of the non-indigenous by Andean social movements a few years ago, now in Chiapas a generation of autocthonous scholars is bringing to light – theorizing, they would say – the local understanding of buen vivir: a concept articulated in Tseltal and Tsotsil as el lek’il kuxlejal.

I first encountered el lekil kuxlejal in 2009 in a book by scholar Antonio Paoli called Education, Autonomy, and lekil kuxlejal. Paoli resists a simple definition of lekil kuxlejal in favor of giving its socio-linguistic context amidst related concepts such as k’inal, (meaning environment, including both ecosystem and mind) and the broader slamalil k’inal, a tranquility of mind on which the state of lekil kuxlejal depends. “lekil kuxlejal, or buen vivir,” Paoli writes, “is not a utopia, because it is not a non-existent dream. No, lekil kuxlejal has been degraded but not extinguished, and it is possible to recover it.”
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Filed under Chiapas, Climate Justice, Indigenous Peoples, Latin America-Caribbean, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, Solutions

Indigenous Guatemalans reject mining moratorium, want genuine community consultation

By Curtis Kline, July 19, 2013. Source: Intercontinental Cry

"With the referendum, we decide our future" Banner of the Committee in Defense of Life and Peace. Photo: NISGUA

“With the referendum, we decide our future” Banner of the Committee in Defense of Life and Peace. Photo: NISGUA

Mining in Guatemala has often been to the detriment of the Indigenous Peoples of the country as it has proven to take away their ability to control their lands and livelihoods. It pollutes their farmlands and water resources, forces relocation, and diminishes their ability to continue their way of life. However, the newly announced moratorium on the granting of new mineral mining licenses has been rejected as a political show intended to calm widespread resistance to harmful mining projects.

The proposed two-year moratorium is similar to the moratorium put in place during the previous presidency of Colom. Since current president Molina lifted that moratorium a year and a half ago, over one hundred licenses have been granted for mining and exploration.

Considering that during his announcement of the Moratorium, Molina made it very clear that Tahoe Resources’ contentious Escobal mine project would be allowed to continue, it seems clear that the purpose of the moratorium is not to advance Indigenous rights, but to placate resistance.
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Filed under Indigenous Peoples, Latin America-Caribbean, Mining

Victory! Klamath tribes water rights upheld by federal government

By Scott Learn, June 10, 2013. Source: The Oregonian

Photo: Oregonian

Photo: Oregonian

The Klamath Tribes and the federal government called their water rights in southern Oregon’s Klamath Basin for the first time Monday, likely cutting off irrigation water to hundreds of cattle ranchers and farmers in the upper basin this summer.

The historic calls come after Oregon set water rights priorities earlier this year in the basin, home to one of the nation’s most persistent water wars. Drought has cut water flows in upper basin rivers to 40 percent of normal.

“This is a devastating day,” said Becky Hyde, a longtime cattle rancher in the upper basin’s Sprague River Valley. “This is such a core piece of our economy. It’s not like we can lean back on tourism and things can be OK.”

The Klamath Tribes’ water rights apply to flows in Upper Klamath Lake tributaries, including the Sprague, Williamson and Wood rivers that run through the tribes’ former reservation.
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Filed under Indigenous Peoples, Industrial agriculture, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, Victory!, Water