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First Nations say ‘no’ to pipeline plans at Enbridge AGM

[[{“type”:”media”,”view_mode”:”media_large”,”fid”:”1218″,”attributes”:{“class”:”media-image alignright size-medium wp-image-14551″,”typeof”:”foaf:Image”,”style”:””,”width”:”225″,”height”:”165″,”title”:”no-pipelines-no-consent”,”alt”:””}}]]As reported in a previous blog, “Aboriginal groups in Western Canada have united against a proposed bitumen pipeline to British Columbia’s northern coast, saying the $5.5-billion Northern Gateway project has no future without the approval of communities along the route. The Yinka Dene Alliance, representing aboriginal communities along a quarter of the Enbridge pipeline project in B.C., were in Calgary Wednesday [May 11]  to attend the company’s annual meeting and argue the threat of oil spills on traditional lands and in the ocean outweigh any benefit the project could have.”

After marching from Enbridge headquarters to the site of the AGM, almost 100 supporters of the Yinka Dene Alliance chanted, drummed and handed out flyers outlining First Nation opposition to the Northern Gateway Pipeline as outlined in the Save the Fraser Declaration, which declares that “We will not allow the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline, or similar Tar Sands projects, to cross our lands, territories and watersheds, or the ocean migration routes of Fraser River salmon.”

Meanwhile, a delegation of First Nation representatives from the Yinka Dene Alliance spoke to shareholders inside the AGM, emerging to boisterous applause when they emerged to report to the crowd about what had happened inside.

One of the most compelling reports came from 10-year-old Ta’Kaiya Blaney of the Sliammon First Nation, who before entering the AGM as part of the delegation performed her song “Shallow Waters” at the demonstration. In March Enbridge refused to accept a speech written by Ta’Kaiya.

Ta’Kaiya said the following of Enbridge CEO and President Patrick Daniel: “What I don’t think he realizes is that you can’t live forever, and you can’t make money forever, and it’s the children that say no to the pipeline, they will be inheriting this. And one day they’ll be trying to clean up after his mess. He doesn’t realize that he … I mean, he doesn’t realize that he doesn’t own the planet. We don’t want the planet polluted. We don’t want to live in a big garbage dump.”

“They’re planning on turning our ‘no’ into a ‘yes,'” reported Anne Ketlo of the Nadleh Whut’en First Nation, another of the delegation which spoke to the AGM. “But I clarified that that no will never be a yes, because our future generations are at risk.”

Representative from five BC First Nations (Yinka Dene Alliance), three Alberta First Nations (Lubicon, Blood, and Alexander) and one Manitoba First Nation (Roseau River) also met the previous day and released a statement of solidarity stating, “We stand in solidarity with the Coastal First Nations, and the Nations who have signed the Save the Fraser Declaration, and we are united in stating that Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline and tanker project, as well as other fossil fuel development projects including Keystone XL, must not proceed without obtaining the free, prior and informed consent of all affected First Nations … If such consent is not obtained, no construction of such projects shall proceed.”

And on May 12 in Prince Rupert, BC, over 500 First Nations and citizens from across northern British Columbia also rallied at the annual convention of the North Central Local Government Association (NCLGA), a regional organization made up of town councils in northern BC, in opposition to Enbridge’s pipeline plan.