BC First Nations Unite to Declare Province-Wide Opposition to Crude Oil Pipeline and Tanker Expansion

News — the tar sands action team December 5, 2011 at 2:01 pm

VANCOUVER, COAST SALISH TERRITORIES, BRITISH COLUMBIA, Dec 01, 2011 — First Nations, whose unceded territory encompasses the entire coastline of British Columbia, have formed a united front, banning all exports of tar sands crude oil through their territories, and effectively all of BC – whether by Enbridge in the north or Kinder-Morgan in the south.

Several new First Nations signed the Save the Fraser Declaration in a Vancouver ceremony, expanding First Nations opposition in western Canada to more than 130 Nations. These First Nations form an unbroken wall of opposition from the U.S. border to the Arctic Ocean. This is the first time that First Nations have come together publicly to declare a ban on oil tankers and pipelines on both the north and south coasts.

“North or south, it makes no difference. First Nations from every corner of BC are saying absolutely no tar sands pipelines or tankers in our territories,” said Chief Jackie Thomas of Saik’uz First Nation, a member of the Yinka Dene Alliance. “We have banned oil pipelines and tankers using our laws, and we will defend our decision using all the means at our disposal.”

It is impossible for oil pipelines to go around opposed First Nations, and their consent to pipelines and tankers in their territories is required by international law. Today’s announcement – on the first anniversary of the Save the Fraser Declaration – comes in response to recent calls from the Harper government and oil executives to push through pipeline and tanker projects against the wishes of British Columbians and First Nations.

“The government can talk all it wants about pushing tar sands oil pipelines and tankers through BC. There is no way our Nations will allow it,” says Chief Art Adolph representing the St’at’imc Nation. “If they are serious about respecting our rights, the government of Canada must stop pushing the oil companies’ line that this is in the public interest, and the government of BC should step up to the plate too and begin protecting our rivers and coastlines from further environmental damages that violate our basic human rights. Especially now, when Canada is a global embarrassment for failing to address climate change and systemically ignoring Indigenous rights.”

The Save the Fraser Declaration, signed by more than 61 First Nations, bans tar sands oil pipelines throughout the Fraser River watershed. It also prohibits tar sands crude oil tankers in the ocean migration routes of Fraser River salmon. Until now, the Declaration has been used to fight Enbridge’s northern pipeline plans. Now it is being recognized by First Nations as effectively banning tar sands crude oil exports on the whole coast, including the south. Adding to the chorus last week, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs – representing most First Nations in BC – passed a resolution endorsing the Save the Fraser Declaration and the Coastal First Nations Declaration, and expressly recognizing that they prohibit the transportation of tar sands crude by pipeline and tanker anywhere in BC.

The Coastal First Nations declared a ban on crude oil tanker traffic on the north coast of BC in 2010. Harold Yeltatzie, president of the Coastal First Nations, stated: “The Coastal First Nations support the First Nations communities along the Fraser, Bulkley and Skeena rivers in their fight to ban crude oil pipelines in their territories.” Yeltatzie added that the ban on crude oil tankers on BC’s coast must be maintained, saying, “The consequences of a catastrophic oil spill on our people and our culture cannot be calculated or compensated.”

“We won’t let government and industry play First Nations off one another with their usual divide and conquer strategies. We are drawing the line in BC and First Nations are more united than ever before to stop the threat of oil spills,” said Chief Na’Moks, on behalf of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, who signed the Declaration today on behalf of his people (who are not members of the Yinka Dene Alliance). “We have stood against tar sands pipelines from day one and we join with our brothers and sisters today in a shared commitment to put a stop to them.”

  1. Pendragon2 says:

    The buck stops here. No matter what the harperites do in Ottawa and around the world, First Nations rights cannot be ignored.

  2. samul says:

    We need some news like this in the States.

  3. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a persons conscience~Atticus Finch…
    “To Kill A Mocking Bird”

  4. bcmapleleaf says:

    Keep up the good fight. We stand together in BC.

    “Foreigners funding ‘mischief’ against Canada’s oilsands: Kent”

    This headline needs a strong push back. Have seen very little, if anything at all, in the media re the ‘mischief’ of lobbyists, and oil interests’ divide and conquer PR campaigns and funding to balance this, so the fight is also going to require some good guerilla marketing style media strategies to support BC and First Nations in combatting the spin, buzz words, smear tactics and rhetoric starting to appear from pro-oil interests. You can bet it will get much more heated in the days to come. ‘Public interest’, ‘security’ (always a biggie), and ‘national good’ are just a few of the phrases being bandied about.

    Especially uncomfortable and disturbing is an unsettling rhetoric beginning to appear from pro-oil which subtley intimates that you are being a traitor to your country or not a patriot if you oppose the tar sands, somewhat reminiscent of the words of a certain U.S. President in a certain speech about a certain war, and those of Colonel Korn to Yossarian in Joseph Heller’s novel ‘Catch-22’ … “You’re either for us or against your country. It’s as simple as that.” A worrying trend indeed.

    In solidarity

  5. Davies Gratwick Nagel says:

    Occupy Tar Sands…

    We are honored to stand with you…

    Greigsville, NY USA

  6. bcmapleleaf says:

    Oops? Has a miscalculated stunt by Enbridge backfired? – Global News video

    “Serious rift over BC pipeline proposal Mon, Dec 5: New evidence Gitsxan First Nation leaders are not unanimous in their support of a proposed pipeline by Enbridge — despite what the company would like investors to believe. Darlene Heidemann reports.”


  7. bcmapleleaf says:

    Yet another example of extremist and biased reporting skewing the facts … from Ezra Levant, “ethical” oil proponent.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Good! Unity! Now, what are the rest of us going to do?

  9. Tananmontana says:

    Thank you First Nationsfor never losing your selves and your identity, for keeping yourself as true nations, and for being warriors for your mother earth.

  10. svede says:

    When all of you give up your cars and all oil derived products you MIGHT gain some credibility. Until then you’re a bunch of do-as-I-sayers. BTW “Earth” could give a crap

  11. The buck stops here. No matter what the harperites do in Ottawa and around the world, First Nations rights cannot be ignored.

You must be logged in to post a comment.

(c) 2016 Tar Sands Action | powered by WordPress