By Erin Flegg, April 20, 2013. Source: Vancouver Observer
Photo: Erin Flegg
In the latest step toward opposing oil pipelines at every port in Canada, the Tsleil-Waututh Nation of Burrard Inlet signed on to the International Treaty to Protect the Sacred yesterday. The nation held a press conference at the Sheraton Wall Centre where newly elected Chief Maureen Thomas signed the document, witnessed by the president of the BC Union of Indian Chiefs Stewart Phillip and national chief of the Assembly of First Nations Shawn Atleo.
The West Coast Oil Pipeline Summit followed the signing. The theme of the event was urgency, with several leaders touching on the need to oppose development at a grassroots level.
Stewart Phillip told reporters and community members assembled that the First Nations of BC are committed to using the legal system to defend their constitutional rights, but that’s not the only strategy they’re using.
“More importantly, we have committed to standing shoulder to shoulder on the land itself.”
April 11, 2013. Source: APTN News
Photo: AP/Jeff McIntosh
The chief of an Alberta First Nations battling a tar sands expansion on its territory says he is considering joining Idle No More’s call for a “Sovereignty Summer” campaign after the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed its case.
The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation went to the Supreme Court with a section 35 Constitutional challenge in hopes of forcing a regulatory review board to rule on whether there had been adequate consultation on Shell’s bid to expand its Jackpine tarsands project.
The First Nation turned to the courts after having its challenge were turned down by the Alberta Court of Appeal.
As is its practice, the Supreme Court gave no reasons as to why it refused to hear the Athabasca Chipewyan’s case.
Chief Allan Adam said the ruling leaves his First Nation with little options. With plans for an Idle No More-Defenders of the Land Sovereignty Summer campaign of direct action in the works, Adam said it may be the route his First Nation will have to take.
By Kristy Kirkup, February 25, 2013. Source: Toronto Sun
Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence wants the United Nations to intervene on the federal First Nations file.
Spence, who ended a high-profile, 43-day personal protest in Ottawa in January, is now appealing to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD).
Spence, the International Indian Treaty Council and the Mushkegowuk People of Attawapiskat First Nation have filed an ‘urgent action’ submission with the CERD.
It makes six recommendations to the Canadian government, including a call for an “immediate meeting” with the Crown, federal government, provincial governments and all First Nations to discuss treaties.
Spence previously called for a joint meeting as part of her protest but feds agreed to meet with some First Nations leaders, including Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo.
By Kyle Carsen Wyatt, February 11, 2013. Source: The Walrus
Sometime this year, the federal government is expected to introduce legislation that will pave the way for fee-simple (read: private) land ownership on First Nations reserves. According to its champions—former Kamloops chief Manny Jules and on-again, off-again Harper adviser Tom Flanagan—the new law will generate business efficiencies, investment opportunities, and individual prosperity for the 300,000 Native people living on reserves in Canada.
Editorial boards and political affairs observers have commended the First Nations Property Ownership Initiative, a working proposal crafted by Jules and Flanagan, along with Christopher Alcantara and André Le Dressay, in their 2011 book, Beyond the Indian Act: Restoring Aboriginal Property Rights. Proponents, who include a handful of First Nations, dismiss the alarms raised by most of the 600-plus Native communities in Canada, as well as Native studies scholars and the Assembly of First Nations. The Globe and Mail’s John Ibbitson has summarized their objections thusly: “The first is that native land is traditionally communally owned. Private property is yet another assimilationist Western concept being imposed on native culture. The second is that once reserve members own their land, they can sell it to non-natives, eroding the land base.”
Ibbitson rejects these concerns out of hand, arguing that “the legislation will be strictly voluntary. Only those first nations that want to embrace the concept of private property will do so.” This line of reasoning presumes that communities and individuals driven to desperation can freely engage in decision making, when in fact many of them will succumb to a coercive land grab that has been 500 years in the making. He also contrasts the proposed legislation with the US General Allotment Act of 1887, better known as the Dawes Act, pointing out that it was involuntary. He is not alone in dismissing the nineteenth-century law. Backers of the First Nations Property Ownership Initiative regard its dismal legacy as a trivial aside, a laughable historical analogy: different time, different place. But as Cherokee novelist and 2003 Massey Lecturer Thomas King observes in his new book, The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America, “When we look at Native–non-Native relations, there is no great difference between the past and the present.”
Note: Its no surprise to anyone paying attention that the Harper government’s aggressive resource extraction agenda is harming Canadian people – disproportionately First Nations – and ecosystems. While this new report calls for a ‘boom’ in environmental regulation to match the ‘boom’ in resource development, maybe the Harper government should instead look to the ‘boom’ in eco-defense and resistance. The real answers lie in Idle No More; the Innu defending their land against Hydro Quebec and Plan Nord; the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation fighting against tar sands; Sarnia fighting against Enbridge’s tar sands pipeline; Barriere Lake Algonquin fighting illegal logging…Canadians are standing up everywhere to advance a different agenda that protects the rights of First Nations, ecosystems and communities.
-The GJEP Team
By Shawn McCarthy, February 5, 2013. Source: The Globe and Mail
The Harper government is failing to protect Canadians’ health and environment from the pollution risks associated with the resource industry boom across the country, the Federal Environment Commissioner said in a report to Parliament.
In a series of audits released Tuesday, Commissioner Scott Vaughan pointed to several shortcomings, including the absence of regulations for toxic chemicals used by the oil industry and the lack of preparedness for major tanker accidents off the West Coast or for catastrophic oil spills on the East Coast.
Mr. Vaughan said Ottawa continues to subsidize the oil industry despite a commitment to the G20 to end such support. However, the government is dramatically scaling back its support, and is reviewing outdated liability limits that could leave taxpayers on the hook for billions of dollars after a major accident.
The environmental auditor said Ottawa needs far more vigorous enforcement to keep pace with the anticipated growth in investments in pipelines, offshore drilling, oil-sands development, shale-gas production and mining, though opposition critics have accused the government of slashing environmental assessments in recent budget bills.
Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Hydrofracking, Idle No More, Illegal logging, Indigenous Peoples, Mining, Oceans, Oil, Tar Sands, Waste, Water
Note: Clayton Thomas-Muller is tar sands campaign co-director with Indigenous Environmental Network and sits on the board of Global Justice Ecology Project
-The GJEP Team
January 28, 2013.
Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Justice, Corporate Globalization, Hydroelectric dams, Hydrofracking, Idle No More, Illegal logging, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Mining, Oceans, Oil, Videos, Water
January 24, 2013. Source: NY Times
Canadian native leaders vowed Thursday to carry on the fight for better living conditions as a chief at the center of an aboriginal protest movement ended her six-week hunger strike. Chief Theresa Spence, from a remote northern Ontario reserve, ended her hunger strike after holding negotiations with other aboriginal leaders and opposition members of Parliament. Canada spends about $11.1 billion a year on its aboriginal population of 1.2 million. But living conditions for many are poor, and some reserves have high rates of poverty, addiction, joblessness and suicide. Aboriginal leaders also say legislation by the Conservative government promotes resource development while reducing environmental protection for lakes and rivers on their lands.
By Gloria Galloway, January 23, 2013. Source: The Globe and Mail
Photo: Dave Chan For The Globe and Mail
Theresa Spence, the chief of a remote Ontario first nation who has been on a hunger strike since early December, is in talks to end her protest on Thursday in exchange for continued political pressure from federal and native leaders, sources have told The Globe and Mail.
Ms. Spence has indicated she will resume eating solid foods after the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Shawn Atleo, and opposition leaders Thomas Mulcair of the New Democrats and Bob Rae of the Liberals agree to press the Harper government to move on an eight-point action plan crafted by the AFN, the sources said.
She also wants a commitment from the opposition leaders to continue fighting omnibus budget legislation that has prompted country-wide protests under the Idle No More movement and which many native people say will negatively affect their communities because it reduces federal environmental oversight.
January 16, 2013. Source: APTN News
A Mohawk man from Tyendinaga sits on a train bridge while the sun sets on day of mass action across the country. Photo: APTN
Three rail blockades launched in British Columbia, Manitoba and Ontario were expected to end by late evening Wednesday on a day that saw rallies sweep across the country along with altercations between motorists and protesters.
The blockade in Manitoba, which was about 90 km west of Winnipeg, wound down at around 4 p.m. local time, said former Roseau River chief Terry Nelson.
In Ontario, a rail blockade launched between Belleville, Ont., and Kingston, Ont., by about a dozen Mohawks from Tyendinaga also wrapped up by 7 p.m. local time.
VIA rail said the Mohawk blockade stopped 10 trains and impacted 850 travellers.
A rail blockade launched by the Gitwangak people of the Gitxsan Nation near Terrace, B.C., was also expected to end by 6 p.m. local time.
The blockades were part of cross-country, National Day of Action events planned from British Columbia to Nunavut, Alberta to Nova Scotia.
Nelson, who was served with a court injunction, said a group of about 50 people faced temperatures hovering around -35C with the wind chill.
“We sent a strong message to the business community,” said Nelson. “We will be back.”
Image: Andy Everson
By Winona LaDuke, January 7, 2013. Source: Common Dreams
As Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence enters her fourth week on a hunger strike outside the Canadian capital building, thousands of protesters in Los Angeles, London, Minneapolis and New York City, voice their support.
Spence and the protesters of the Idle No More Movement are drawing attention to some deplorable conditions in Native communities, and recently passed legislation C-45, which sidesteps most Canadian environmental laws.
Put it this way, before the passage of Bill C-45, 2.6 million rivers, lakes and a good portion of Canada’s three ocean shorelines were protected under the Navigable Waters Act, now only eighty-seven are protected. That’s just the beginning of the problem, which seems to have not drawn much attention by the general public.
“Flash mob” protests with traditional dancing and drumming have erupted in dozens of shopping malls across North America, marches and highway blockades by aboriginal groups across Canada and supporters have emerged from as far away as New Zealand and the Middle East.