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NEWS: Kainai women arrested blocking road to prevent fracking on Alberta reserve

A media release issued by Kainai Earth Watch early yesterday afternoon stated, “Plans of construction on 4 new fracking sites begin tomorrow. The women have vowed not to leave until they are confident the fracking wont go ahead.”

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Lois Frank credit: Jeddie Russell

The front-page of the Lethbridge Herald reports, “A handful of protesters from the Blood Tribe risked arrest by parking themselves in the middle of the road at the gate to an oil well on the reserve Friday. Members of Kainai Earth Watch came prepared for the long haul, vowing to stay until the Blood Tribe leaders put an end to fracking for oil and gas on the reserve.”

“Lois Frank, a Kainai Earth Watch member, said the group is concerned about the effects of fracking… ‘They’re trying to indicate to us that this is safe,’ Frank said. ‘The issue is that we don’t have any information; nobody’s been consulted; there’s been no referendum, no vote. These things are popping up everywhere to the benefit of the oil companies. They’re the ones who are going to exploit our lands, our people, poison us and then leave.’ …’We want our concerns addressed from a regulatory standpoint by the federal and provincial governments,’ Frank said during a phone conversation from the well site.”

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Credit: Jeddie Russell

“By late afternoon, Frank and the other few protestors were still in the middle of the road at the gate to the well site. She said police had been called but hadn’t arrived. ‘I’m not moving and if they choose to arrest me that’s fine,’ she said.”

According to eyewitness accounts, just before 10 pm MT, the Blood Reserve Tribal Police arrested three of the people blocking the road, including Frank.

A film maker, who was also arrested, was able to tell some of the story with this footage now posted at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OM2D2PDKORI and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P13jki3F2LU.

The Herald article says, “Members have been working with various experts in recent months and have partnered with other organizations such as the Lethbridge Council of Canadians.”

Lethbridge chapter activist Sheila Rogers was also at the blockade site offering support to the women and updating Prairies organizer Scott Harris throughout the evening.

Earlier in the evening, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow made this statement, “In June I had the honour of being invited by members of the Blood Nation to visit their beautiful land, and I was incredibly moved to witness firsthand the unswerving commitment of the people there to stop fracking from poisoning their water, land and people. I declared then that they had my complete support in their struggle, and today I once again offer my absolute solidarity to the Kainai people who are putting their bodies on the line to stop this destructive process. I’ve just returned from Guatemala, where I witnessed the incredible fight of indigenous people there to stop the destruction caused by the Canadian mining company Goldcorp, and I praise the courage and leadership of First Nations peoples from the highlands of Guatemala to the foothills of the Rockies and around the world who are leading the struggle to protect the Earth and future generations with their bodies and their courage.”

Gasland director Josh Fox and 350.org founder Bill McKibben also made statements of support for the blockade.

The news report is at http://www.lethbridgeherald.com/front-page-news/protesters-blocking-road-to-prevent-fracking-91011.html.