Saturday, January 10, 2009

Canadian First Nations To Deliver Message on Oil Projects to President-Elect Obama


Suite 201 – 1311 Portage Avenue

Winnipeg, Manitoba R3G 0V3

Contacts, for press only:

Noemi Perez, (703) 270-9254

Chief Glenn Hudson, (204) 223-4209


Canadian Indigenous Community to Deliver Message of Oil and Human Rights to President-Elect Obama

Delegation follows in centuries-long tradition of delegations of American Indians traveling to Washington, DC to meet the "Great White Father."

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada – 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 U.S. 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 D.C. to deliver their message, followed by a Press Conference.
Oil Pipeline in Canada Crossing Indigenous First Nations Land
"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. "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 U.S. 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 U.S. Energy Information Administration, over eighty percent of all Canadian exports flow to the U.S. Canada remained the largest exporter to the U.S. of total petroleum in September, exporting 2.364 million barrels per day. The second largest petroleum exporter to the U.S. was Saudi Arabia with 1.431 million barrels per day.

Two major pipelines, the Enbridge Alberta Clipper and the TransCanada Keystone Project, being constructed through three provinces will carry an additional 1.9 million barrels of oil per day to the U.S. 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% 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 U.S. is purchasing from Canada is stolen from indigenous lands, constituting a security breach for the United States, Canada, and the First Nations.
Oil Pipeline Crossing Indigenous First Nations Land in Canada
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 U.S. 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 U.S. – 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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