Last night, Crystal Lameman of the Beaver Lake Cree Nation spoke alongside Maude Barlow, Jean Lortie, Brigette DePape and others at our counter-conference challenging the Harper agenda and notably the Conservative convention taking place just down the street in Calgary.
The Beaver Lake Cree Nation, which covers a large portion of northeastern Alberta about the size of Switzerland, has won the right to proceed to trial against the cumulative effects of the tar sands (and mining and forestry) as a violation of their Treaty rights. 560,000 barrels per day are extracted from their territory, that’s about 30 per cent of the daily output from the tar sands.
It was recently reported that, “The Alberta and federal governments have lost a second attempt to derail a five-year-old court case by a Lac La Biche-area Cree nation that’s fighting to slow the pace of oilsands development in the province’s northeast, including heavy-oil development near Cold Lake. The Beaver Lake Cree argue that more than 300 oilsands projects, when taken together, are having a negative impact on their rights under Treaty 6 to hunt and fish. The case, launched in May 2008, can now proceed to trial.”
Lameman has stated, “It is my obligation as a mother, my obligation to my ancestors to ensure we have our rights respected. It’s my obligation to my future generations and most of all to our own true mother—something each and every one of us has in common. That obligation can never be surrendered. We are keepers of the land, stewards of the land.”
About 400 people attended last night’s public forum in Calgary, while an additional 350+ people watched it on-line via rabble.ca.
Photo: Lameman and Barlow in Calgary last night.