Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Poor Obama. He hasn't even yet been crowned as emperor, but the petitions from all and sundry are coming at him. One of these is from natives here in Manitoba. Like other bands across the western provinces members of Treaty One First nations are disturbed that the new oil pipelines being constructed to supply the USA are being bulldozed through without proper concern for aboriginal claims. The following has also made the rounds of the internet, but I reproduce the call from the Treaty One First Nations from the online newsmagazine Straight Goods. Molly is extremely doubtful that the President-Elect will actually do anything about these native claims, but, as a means of raising the issue in the public eye, tomorrow's demonstration in Washington DC is a winner.
Canada's First Nations to demonstrate in Washington, DC:
Protests over oil exploitation spur visit to the "Great White Father."

from Manitoba Treaty One First Nations
In the tradition of delegations of American Indians traveling in the late 1800s to Washington, DC to meet the "Great White Father," Chiefs from Canada's First Nations will be traveling to the US capitol to seek the support of President Elect Obama in their fight for Human Rights. On January 8, a First Nations delegation of Chiefs from across Canada will conduct a procession on horseback at the National Mall in Washington DC to deliver their message, followed by a Press Conference.

"We are hopeful that President-Elect Obama will embrace the attitude of respect, compassion and support by engaging in the accountability of equitable and fair trade between the United States, the Indian Nations and the Canadian Government," stated Chief Glenn Hudson of Peguis First Nation, a spokesman for Treaty One.

The oil that Canada sells the US is stolen from indigenous lands, constituting a security breach for the United States, Canada and the First Nations.

"Canada is the largest foreign supplier of oil to the United States," added Chief Hudson.
"America needs to purchase 14 million barrels of foreign oil every day, and maintaining a steady supply of oil is a national security issue for the US. So far, Canada pays little or no royalties to indigenous people for resources."

Chiefs from the seven First Nations of Treaty One announced a decision to assemble the delegation of Chiefs to deliver a message of oil and human rights to President-Elect Obama. During the election campaign President-Elect Barack Obama talked of his concerns with "dirty oil" from Canada and made many of positive statements on a new relationship with Native America.

According to the US Energy Information Administration, over eighty percent of all Canadian exports flow to the US Canada remained the largest exporter to the US of total petroleum in September, exporting 2.364 million barrels per day. The second largest petroleum exporter to the US was Saudi Arabia with 1.431 million barrels per day.

Two major pipelines — the Enbridge Alberta Clipper and the TransCanada Keystone Project — are being constructed through three provinces to carry an additional 1.9 million barrels of oil per day to the US by 2012. The two pipelines are of grave importance to American energy needs given the increasing instability of other foreign sources of oil.

Canada supplies the United States with 65 percent more oil per day than Saudi Arabia, yet the stability of oil supply from Canada has never been of concern to Americans. The oil that the US is purchasing from Canada is stolen from indigenous lands, constituting a security breach for the United States, Canada and the First Nations.

In September, two blockades by First Nations in the Province of Saskatchewan sent shockwaves through the industry as construction was halted for four and six days at two sites. Chief Barry Kennedy of Carry the Kettle First Nation (Treaty Four) and Chief Sheldon Wuttunee of Red Pheasant First Nation (Treaty Six) in Saskatchewan organized the blockades. The First Nations are currently in negotiations with the pipelines.

Treaty One will send invitations to Chiefs from all three prairie provinces, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Invitations will also go to British Columbia where First Nations are fighting the proposed Gateway Pipeline. Gateway will pipe oil to the Pacific to be sent on Ocean Tankers to China and western United States.

On the American side, invitations to speak in Washington will go to four tribes from North and South Dakota. The Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate, the Rosebud Sioux, Santee Sioux and Yankton Sioux Tribes recently launched a US lawsuit to stop the TransCanada pipeline.

The First Nations delegation of Chiefs seeks President-Elect Obama to apply international pressure on Canada — the largest supplier of crude oil to the US — to share resource wealth with the indigenous people of Canada, the original and rightful owners of the resources. An emergency resolution at the national Assembly of First Nations in the December 2008 Summit in Ottawa will debate the proposed Declaration on Oil. The AFN is the national political representative of 633 First Nations in Canada.

While the United States recognizes property in its Bill of Rights and recognizes Treaties as the "law of the land" in its constitution, Canada omits the Right to Property in its Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The United States and Canada both voted against the United Nations Declaration on Indigenous Rights, an issue that will surely confront the newly elected President of the United States.

About Treaty One First Nations in Manitoba. Treaty One territory is 16,700 square miles, (10 million acres) directly in the path of both Enbridge and TransCanada pipelines. The pipelines are currently being constructed through Treaty One territory without any prior approval by the indigenous people.

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