The family of Colton Crowshoe gathered for a peaceful walk in downtown Calgary on Saturday to bring attention to ongoing issues between Canada’s First Nations youth and police. In July, the body of 18-year-old Colton Crowshoe was found in a NE pond. The cause of Colton’s death has not been released but the death has been ruled a homicide. The grisly discovery followed the Crowshoe family’s request for police assistance in locating the teenager who had not returned following a night at a friend’s house. According to the family, police downplayed Colton’s disappearance, stating an 18-year-old may not want to be found. Three weeks after their initial call for police help, Colton’s body was found.
From the edge of a rye field teeming with grasshoppers, Willie Nelson and Neil Young sang on Saturday in opposition to the proposed Keystone XL project, warning through lyrics that a “company wants to build a tar sand pipeline where it don’t belong.” The site of the concert — a patch of farmland where 26 acres of corn were harvested early to create a makeshift parking lot — was as unlikely as the coalition of Nebraskans who have united against Keystone XL and made this state the legal and emotional center of the pipeline opposition. “I’ve told them, ‘You’ll have to haul me out from in front of that bulldozer, because I’m going to protect this farm,’ ” said Art Tanderup, who with his wife, Helen, hosted the concert. Their land in the rolling hills of northeast Nebraska would be directly along the pipeline route.
As world leaders gathered in New York for the UN General Assembly on September 24, an alternative People’s General Assembly was organized outside that provided a more accurate picture of the state of the world. “When governments come together, they generally create rules to increase consumption at all costs and guarantee profit to corporations and the rich. These rules have required the loss of lands and livelihoods, slavery-like employment, militarisation and a climate that threatens the very survival of human beings” said the People’s General Secretary Vernie Yocogan-Diano, an indigenous woman from the Cordillera Women’s Education Action Research Center in the Cordillera Region, Philippines.
The fight against the tar sands is a big one. We stand in defense of the land, water, climate and communities against the richest companies on the planet, and a federal and provincial government who are intent on extracting tar sands as quickly as possible regardless of the cost. Working in Alberta, the belly of the tar sands beast, the odds are often overwhelming but, over the past few months, something has changed. The resistance to the tar sands has not only grown in leaps and bounds, it is changing the dynamics of the entire fight. Last week’s massive People’s Climate March in New York that brought over 400,000 people to the streets of New York, led by climate impacted and Indigenous communities, was just one of many signs of hope that are starting to emerge. People are standing up to the largest carbon bullies on the planet and we are starting to win.
Today the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) announced they will no longer participate in the TransCanada Grand Rapids Pipeline hearing citing impossible timelines and prejudice within the process. The First Nation is referring to the project as the “Mother of All Pipelines” feeding projects like the Energy East Pipeline and the controversial Keystone XL pipeline projects. “The AER put us in an impossible position. I am dumbfounded by this process,” stated Adam before he continued to speak about the obstacles the ACFN has faced in trying to get action from both government and industry to adequately address their concerns.
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has joined a growing number of local governments opposing the state legislature’s decision to allow hydraulic fracturing, called fracking, in North Carolina. Earlier this month, tribal council passed a resolution outlawing the practice on tribal lands, a force of authority stronger than what county and municipal governments possess. The June legislation that lifted the state’s moratorium on fracking included a clause keeping local governments from outlawing the practice in their jurisdiction, so their resolutions are an expression of opinion rather than an act of law. But the Eastern Band is a sovereign nation, so the tribal council is able to completely prevent drilling on Cherokee land.
The Obama administration has agreed to pay the Navajo Nation a record $554 million to settle longstanding claims by America’s largest Indian tribe that its funds and natural resources were mishandled for decades by the U.S. government. The accord, resolving claims that date back as far as 50 years and marking the biggest U.S. legal settlement with a single tribe, will be formally signed at a ceremony on Friday in Window Rock, Arizona, the capital of the sprawling Navajo reservation. The deal stems from litigation accusing the government of mismanaging Navajo trust accounts and resources on more than 14 million acres (5.7 million hectares) of land held in trust for the tribe and leased for such purposes as farming, energy development, logging and mining.
Six years ago climate activists, Native American groups, ranchers, farmers, students and other began their ongoing campaign to block the proposed construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, intended to carry tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf of Mexico to be shipped overseas. In that time, more than 2,000 activists have been arrested, more than 50,000 rallied in Washington, D.C. in February 2013 to protest the pipeline, and countless small groups have gathered in their own communities to demonstrate against it. Because the pipeline is unbuilt, 1,818,530,000 barrels of tar sands oil remain in the ground, and more than one billion metric tons of CO2 has been keep out of the atmosphere.
Today, the Climate Justice Alliance attempted to bring a statement from the people to world leaders, but were refused entry. Community voices were silenced, even while frontline climate-devastated communities and the 400,000 others who marched on Sunday called for climate action that works for Main Street, not just Wall Street. “We’re being exploited, assaulted on an everyday basis, by industry that surrounds our community,” said Yuditha Nieto of T.E.J.A.S., an environmental justice organization in Houston, Texas. “We don’t get any support from our representatives. We have to put our two cents in and let them know that we are here.” The exclusion of community members who live on the frontlines of the climate crisis show that today’s climate decision-making arenas have been taken over by a corporate agenda that prioritizes destructive profit driven policies over the wellbeing of families, workers and communities.
Hundreds of indigenous leaders from communities around the globe have converged on New York for the first high-level World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, being held Monday and Tuesday during the United Nations General Assembly. Gualinga said she went both to represent Saryaku and to share the community’s victory; through a decades-long court battle in the Costa Rica–based Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the approximately 1,200 residents of Sarayaku succeeded in 2012 in blocking oil exploration in there. Now Gualinga and her community want to help other groups prevent similar drilling initiatives in a bid to prevent climate change. “We have a proposal that’s based on scientists’ reports that say that 50 percent of known petroleum reserves around the world need to stay underground to avoid raising the earth’s temperature even more,” she said, referring to a figure from the International Energy Agency’s 2012 World Energy Investment Outlook.
Today, in advance of the UN Climate Summit on Tuesday, September 23rd, environmentalist, indigenous peoples and activist will be marching in New York to bring attention to climate change. The Indigenous Council encouraged the marchers by stating, “Know that you yourself are essential to this World. Each of us is put here in this time and this place to personally decide the future of humankind. We must sacrifice and move beyond our own comforts and pleasures. We must stop the damaging activities and begin working on restoring the natural environment for the future of All Life.”
VANCOUVER – In January of this year, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers made a presentation to high-ranking officials in British Columbia’s Environment Ministry, outlining changes they wanted to environmental review rules for natural gas projects. Those changes became law on April 14, but they didn’t stay that way for long. An outcry from First Nations organizations forced an about-face from Environment Minister Mary Polak, who rescinded the revisions two days after they were passed by order-in-council. “Industry prefers shorter regulatory timelines and less regulatory burden to reduce costs,” said internal documents obtained by The Canadian Press through a Freedom of Information request.
In the wake of federal hearings about reopening uranium mines and milling in Black Hills treaty territory, members of the Washington, D.C.-based Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) must decide if Native American sacred sites would be adequately preserved under the hotly contested license for the proposal. The proponent, Powertech Uranium Corp., which is changing its name to Azarga Uranium Corp. and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff, argued at August hearings that a Programmatic Agreement for phased-in surveys of cultural resources is sufficient to justify granting the license to operate in the 10,500-acre Dewey-Burdock mining area of southwestern South Dakota. “The complete evaluation of the historic and cultural resources adequately satisfies NRC requirements,” Powertech Azarga Counsel Christopher Pugsley said, in arguing for dismissal of contentions.
A First Nations group protesting a copper and gold mining site in the heart of the Sacred Headwaters of northwest B.C. was responded to by RCMP officers with rifles on Friday afternoon, according to several eyewitness accounts. Members of the “Klabona Keepers” have occupied a drill site in Tahltan territory, near Iskut B.C. for several days. The drill is operated by Firesteel Resources of Vancouver. Tahltan band member Peter Jakesta helps run the protest camp, and said four RCMP members came in unannounced, took their radios, and told them to leave or risk being charged with theft.
What a Dasiqox Tribal Park would help to protect: (1) Would connect five surrounding parks: Ts’yl?os, Big Creek, Nunsti, Big Creek, and Southern Chilcotin Mountains. (2) More than 10,000 hectares of threatened white bark pine forest, perhaps the largest and healthiest such stands remaining in Western Canada, not decimated by white pine blister rust, the mountain pine beetle, and wildfires driven by climate change. (3) The last viable refuge for the dryland grizzly bear, which historically occurred down the western mountains of North America in the lee of the coast ranges. The diet of these grizzlies ranges from white bark pine nuts to salmon. (4) Important spawning habitat for chinook, sockeye, and coho salmon, having made lengthy journeys via the Fraser and Chilcotin rivers; the low sockeye run in Yohetta Creek is considered a unique genetic stock that is endangered. (5) Migratory routes for mule deer as well as ancient Tsilhqot’in trails, both local and long-distance, some of them thought to date back thousands of years.