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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

First Nations protest pipeline ..."haven't been consulted"

First Nations protest pipeline

Protesters say they haven't been consulted and are demanding a share of the revenues

Darren Bernhardt,

Published: Monday, September 29, 2008

KERROBERT - Led by two men on horseback, roughly 60 First Nations people carried placards and marched through Kerrobert on Monday afternoon as part of a demonstration centered on the construction of a 1,590-kilometre oil pipeline known as the Alberta Clipper through traditional Treaty 6 territory.

The protesters say they haven't been consulted and are demanding a share of the revenues.

"We want to put out a message that we've had enough, that we're going to stand together as Indian people to make sure we get our fair share of the resources that come from our traditional lands," said Red Pheasant First Nation Chief Sheldon Wuttunee, who led the procession through town, wearing a ceremonial headdress.

Wuttunee was among the protesters, as Native leaders set up camp on the Enbridge Pipelines Inc. pipeline near Kerrobert to make it known they want a share in the construction and revenues.

Richard Marjan/The StarPhoenix

The march concluded at the Kerrobert headquarters of Enbridge Pipelines Inc., the company behind the pipeline project.

Construction on the pipeline is currently taking place near the Red Pheasant reserve, located 85 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon. Several kilometres of top soil have been removed to prepare for trenching.

Wuttunee and several of his band members, along with supporters from the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) and First Nation bands in Manitoba, Alberta and B.C. as well as across Saskatchewan, have also set up a campsite adjacent to the pipeline path just south of Luseland.

Four teepees have been erected, including one directly on top of the pipeline path.

Enbridge is planning to send 800,000 barrels of oil per day to Wisconsin and TransCanada Pipeline is sending another one million barrels per day to the United States, said Roseau River Anishinabe (Manitoba) First Nation Chief Terrance Nelson, whose band has also had issues with Enbridge.

"Farmers get payment if they have title to the land. Municipalities gets paid. The provincial and federal governments get paid. And what are they going to give you? Nothing, not even a royalty. A few token jobs, maybe," Nelson said to the group of supporters during a press conference at the campsite prior to the march.

"Good for you to stand up and say, 'Enough is enough. We own that land. We're sure as hell not going to give it up to everyone else.' "

Enbridge spokesperson Gina Jordan said they have had public consultations with 40 First Nations and Metis groups over the past two years.

"We are looking forward to continuing discussions with Red Pheasant and other First Nations. We want to make sure they have participation (in the pipeline project)." She added that several First Nations people are employed in the construction, contracting and security fields regarding the pipeline.

When asked repeatedly about sharing royalties, Jordan said "royalties are a federal government issue so they're not something I can comment on."

Senior management from Enbridge, Jordan said, are intending to meet with Wuttunee and other First Nations officials as soon as possible, but she did not know when that might happen.

Wuttunee has said the camp will remain set up "until we are dealt with."

Protesters representing Treaty 4 First Nations brought traffic on Highway 1 east of Regina to a crawl on Sunday and barricaded the road leading into a pipeline construction compound on Sunday as part of protests planned provincewide, and possibly for across Canada.

Earlier this month, Wuttunee warned action was being considered to halt construction of a multimillion-dollar oil pipeline until First Nations feel their issues have been addressed. Wuttunee's concerns centred on employment, with the chief alleging Enbridge had reneged on a written pledge to provide jobs and contracts to First Nations people.

Meanwhile, Standing Buffalo First Nation -- one of four bands without a treaty with the Crown -- hit a roadblock this summer when the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal refused to quash a decision allowing Enbridge to expand a pipeline into the Weyburn area. The band had argued the pipeline traversed traditional Dakota-Lakota land and that the band had not been consulted.

Sunday's action was centred on the Waschuk Pipeline construction compound, located just west of White City. At about 3:30 p.m., Treaty 4 members led by about 15 people on horseback began the trek east down Highway 1.

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My Canada includes rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Two Row Wampum Treaty

Two Row Wampum Treaty
"It is said that, each nation shall stay in their own vessels, and travel the river side by side. Further, it is said, that neither nation will try to steer the vessel of the other." This is a treaty among Indigenous Nations, and with Canada. This is the true nature of our relationships with Indigenous Nations of 'Kanata'.