Background

BACKGROUND:

Idle No More & Defenders of the Land Support the Actions of Indigenous Peoples of Elsipogtog, Barriere Lake & Lubicon Lake Nation to Protect Their Waters, Lands & Forests

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Idle No More and Defenders of the Land Networks call on Indigenous Peoples and Canadians to support Indigenous Nations currently engaged in protecting their lands and waters against the corporate sponsored agendasofthefederalandprovincialgovernments. Inthepastmonth,theMi’kmaqofElsipogtog,the Algonquins of Barriere Lake and the Cree of Lubicon Lake Nation have been involved in land protection struggles to defend against invasive extractive natural resource development (natural gas exploration, drilling for oil & natural gas/racking and clear cut logging) taking place on their territories without their Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC).

FPIC is in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which contains a number ofprovisions that address FPIC as follows:

• Article 10. “Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly relocated from their lands and
t e r r i t o r i e s ... w i t h o u t t h e fr e e , p r i o r a n d i n fo r m e d c o n s e n t o f t h e i n d i g e n o u s p e o p l e s c o n c e r n e d ... ” [emphasis added] ;

• Article 11. “Indigenous peoples have the right to...maintain, protect and develop the past, present and future manifestations oftheir cultures, such as archaeological and historical sites...[and] States shall provide redress...with respect to their cultural...property taken without their free, prior and informed consent...” [emphasis added] ;

• Article 19. “States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned...in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them.” [emphasis added];

• Article 29. “Indigenous peoples have the right to the conservation and protection of the environment and the productive capacity oftheir lands or territories and resources...[including] no storage or disposal of hazardous materials... in the lands or territories of indigenous peoples without their free, prior and informed consent.” [emphasis added] ;

• Article 30. “Military activities shall not take place in the lands or territories of indigenous peoples, unless justified by a relevant public interest or otherwise freely agreed with...by the indigenous peoples concerned.” [emphasis added] ; and

• Article 32. “States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned... in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent prior to the approval of any project affecting their land or territories and other resources, particularly in connection with the development, utilization or exploitation ofmineral, water or other resources.” [emphasis added].

Ultimately, the legitimate rights holders ofIndigenous lands—the grassroots people and traditional land users/harvesters—are the Peoples whose future will be affected by these illegitimate government authorized corporate activities, which violate the FPIC of Indigenous Peoples.

We are in a critical time in our relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples in Canada. The Canadian State continues to implement a long-standing Termination Plan to assimilate Indigenous Peoples into the Canadian mainstream.

Termination—means the ending of Indigenous Nations pre-existing sovereign status through federal coercion of Indigenous Nations into Final Agreements that convert Indigenous Nations into municipalities, their reserves into fee simple lands and extinguishment (through modification) of their Inherent, Aboriginal and Treaty Rights.

Specifically, the government of Canada has key tenets in negotiations across Canada with Indigenous Nations, which are to get Indigenous Nations to enter into final agreements to:

• Accept the extinguishment (modification) of Aboriginal Title.

• Accept the legal release of Crown liability for past violations of Aboriginal Title and Rights.

• Accept elimination of Indian Reserves by accepting lands in fee simple.

• Accept removing on-reserve tax exemptions.

• Respect existing Private Lands/Third Party Interests (and therefore alienation of Aboriginal Title territory without compensation).

• Accept (to be assimilated into) existing federal and provincial orders ofgovernment.

• Accept application of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms over governance and institutions in all matters.

• Accept funding on a formula basis being linked to own source revenue.

• Accept the dismantling of Treaties

The federal goal is to get Indigenous Nations to accept becoming ethnic municipalities within the Canadian Federation.

For those Indigenous Nations who are not at a federal negotiation table seeking to opt out of the racist colonial Indian Act the Harper government is amending the Indian Act as a law to continue to assimilate Indigenous Nations into the Canadian mainstream while extinguishing their collective rights.

We can no longer accept this status quo and stand silent while the blatant avoidance and denial of IndigenousrightsandthepillagingofIndigenouslands/resourcescontinue. Ineachoftheselandstruggles, there are people camping and protecting lands outside in extreme winter weather conditions before the holidays to keep Industry activity at bay. Despite weather dipping to -30o on some days, men, women, children and Elders continue to protect the land to ensure their grandchildren and future generations have something left for their sustenance and livelihood.

We condemn the collusion between the Federal/Provincial governments and corporations who work together to implement economic development plans and activities that disregard the Inherent Aboriginal and Treaty Rights held by Indigenous Peoples.

We are against shale gas exploration and fracking. We do not support puppet regimes that endorse extractive industry natural resource development on Indigenous lands. We support the FPIC of the Indigenous People’s impacted by extractive resource development on their Indigenous lands.

We call on all people Indigenous and non-Indigenous to come together in unity to challenge the federal and provincial governments in avoiding and denying the rights of Indigenous Peoples who are on the frontline defending the very waters, lands and forests we all need to survive.

We are pledging support to the Mi’kmaq of Elisipogtog, the Algonquins of Barriere Lake and the Cree of Lubicon Lake Nation and ask others to do the same.

The Mi’kmaq ofElsipogtog have been asking for a meaningful consultation and accommodation process without success. Instead of negotiating through a proper consultation process with the Mi’kmaq government the government of New Brunswick let a conflict develop over the past few months on the ground between the local community and SWN Resources Canada.

The company has sought and obtained an injunction against the land protectors, as we call them, and then a day after the federal Throne Speech the RCMP moved in on the unarmed local people, including women and children, using excessive police force with dogs, snipers and guns drawn. We understand about 40 people were charged as a result of police operations and more resulting from the police enforcing the Injunction.

The Algonquins of Barriere Lake have erected a Land Protection camp on their traditional lands within the La Verendrye Wildlife Reserve in Quebec to stop unauthorized logging from damaging Algonquin cultural sites and critical wildlife habitat until an already agreed upon Process is re-established on an urgent basis. The Algonquins of Barriere Lake are demanding that the Quebec government:

1. Cooperate in a process to identify and protect cultural and ecological sites from logging.

2. Honour a 1991 landmark Barriere Lake Trilateral Agreement and related 1998 Agreement with Quebec on Sustainable Development, Co-Management and Resource Revenue Sharing among other issues.

On November 26, 2013 the Lubicon Lake Nation initiated an eviction notice to Penn West Petroleum Ltd for being on their lands. The eviction came after the Lubicon People’s noticed heavy equipment operators ready to initiate drilling for oil and gas using hydraulic fracturing. The Lubicon Lake Nation are a sovereign nation who did not enter into treaty and assert that both the Federal and Provincial governments did not obtain their Free, Prior and informed Consent to be on their lands to drill for oil & gas. As a result, the Lubicon Lake Nation has initiated “Operation FrackOFF” and say they will remain at the location until Penn West ceases its operations. On December 12, 2013 an injunction was issued by Penn West to prevent the Lubicon Lake Nation from blockading the lands Penn West intends to explore for shale gas on.

An injunction hearing will be held in Calgary on Monday December 16, 2013. The Lubicon Lake Nation has set up a protection camp to stop any oil & natural gas development activity and have repeatedly said they will not leave the site until Penn West stops its oil & gas development operations. The Lubicon Lake Nation protectors are rights holders and are to be commended for their personal sacrifice in camping in the bitter cold to stop unauthorized oil and natural gas development on their traditional lands.

In light of the increasing Indigenous land struggles taking place across the territories and the urgency to bring attention to Canada's Termination Plan towards Indigenous People's, we encourage communities to host teach-in's on January 28. 2014 to discuss these issues. Please see the IdleNoMore website at www.idlenomore.ca for upcoming information and material regarding this campaign.