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Threat to First Nations – Winona LaDuke

Threat to First Nations – Winona LaDuke

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There are few routes for tar sands oil to travel
from the point of extraction in central Canada to the ports that are gateways to global markets. One is the controversial Keystone pipeline, heading south to the Gulf of Mexico. Another is the proposed Northern Gateway
pipeline, which would travel west from Alberta through British Columbia to Pacific Ocean ports—straight through sensitive watersheds, temperate rainforests, and
millennia-old communities of First Nations peoples.
There are few routes for tar sands oil to travel
from the point of extraction in central Canada to the ports that are gateways to global markets. One is the controversial Keystone pipeline, heading south to the Gulf of Mexico. Another is the proposed Northern Gateway
pipeline, which would travel west from Alberta through British Columbia to Pacific Ocean ports—straight through sensitive watersheds, temperate rainforests, and
millennia-old communities of First Nations peoples.

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Published by: Post Carbon Institute on Apr 03, 2013
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05/14/2014

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TAR SANDS,PIPELINES,AND THETHREATTO FIRSTNATIONS
Winona LaDuke,WithMartin Curry
 
This publication is an excerpted chapter rom
The Energy Reader: Overdevelopment and the Delusion of Endless Growth
, Tom Butler, Daniel Lerch, and George Wuerthner,eds. (Healdsburg, CA: Watershed Media, 2012).
The Energy Reader 
is copyright© 2012 by the Foundation or Deep Ecology, and published in collaboration withWatershed Media and Post Carbon Institute.For other excerpts, permission to reprint, and purchasing visit energy-reality.org or contact Post Carbon Institute.Photo: ©Rogu Collecti / Greenpeace.
In 2011, a breach of the Rainbow pipeline spilled 28,000 barrels of crude oil near the community of Little Buffalo in Lubicon Cree First Nationtraditional territory in northern Alberta, Canada.
about the author
Winona LaDuke
is an enrolled member o the Mississippi Band Anishinaabeg who lives and works on the WhiteEarth Reservation. She is an internationally renowned Native American Indian activist and advocate or environ-mental, women’s, and children’s rights. A graduate o Harvard and Antioch Universities with advanced degrees inrural economic development, she is ounder and Executive Director o Honor the Earth, a national advocacy groupencouraging public support and unding or native environmental groups.
Martin Curry
is a Saginaw Chippewa tribal member; he lives in LaPointe, Wisconsin, and is a caregiver or his ather.“Tar Sands, Pipelines, and the Threat to First Nations” by Winona LaDuke with Martin Curry was publishedoriginally in
Indian Country Today
; ©2012 by Winona LaDuke, used by permission o the author.
Post Carbon Institute | 613 4th Street, Suite 208 | Santa Rosa, California 95404 USA
 
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1
I
am writing this story because o a bear—a whitebear. The Spirit Bears are white bears in a clan o black bears; one out o every ten o these bears is bornpure white. Called
Moksgm’ol 
by the Tsimshian peo-ple, there are only 400 Spirit Bears in the Great Bear Rainorest in northern British Columbia. Their terri-tory surrounds the town o Kitimat, the proposed endo yet another tar sands pipeline, which means largeequipment, pipes, possible spills, and a lot o inrastruc-ture may soon be invading the home o these bears.In January 2012, just two weeks ater President BarackObama announced that the United States would notmove ahead with the proposed Keystone XL pipelinerom the Canadian tar sands down to the Gul Coast,Enbridge Inc. was scrambling to show that its proposedNorthern Gateway pipeline was a sure thing—andmaybe, just maybe, Enbridge was also hoping to scareU.S. policy makers back to the table or another roundo negotiations on the Keystone project.With some very quick maneuvering ater Obama’sannouncement, the Canadian government set up aNational Energy Board (NEB) panel that started hear-ings on the highly contentious terrain o the proposedNorthern Gateway pipeline. It would run rom Albertato British Columbia, crossing 785 rivers and streams,tunneling through the Coast Range twice, and span-ning the headwaters o three o the continent’s mostimportant rivers—the Mackenzie, Fraser, and Skeena.The pipe would also punch through the heart o theSpirit Bears’ home. Upon reaching the coastal towno Kitimat, the oil would be pumped into holdingtanks and then into colossal oil tankers called VeryLarge Crude Carriers (VLCCs, i you are an insider),which would then chug over the wreckage o a largegovernment-owned passenger erry—Queen o theNorth—that is still leaking oil into the ocean, as it hasbeen or six years. Ater snaking through 120 miles o jords, making a ew tight turns oshore o the larg-est remaining temperate rainorest on the planet, theVLCCs would arrive at an open ocean that has record-setting tidal uctuations. Beyond that, it’s a clear shotto China. None o that was mentioned at the NationalEnergy Board’s Enbridge hearings held thus ar.In a hotel conerence room in Edmonton, Alberta,flled with amilies rom Cree communities in northernAlberta, Enbridge ofcials listened to testimony rommembers o the communities that would be touched bythe Northern Gateway pipeline. Cree villagers talkedabout their land being overrun with roads and power lines, poisoned by oil and its by-products—and abouttheir rivers and fsh already exhibiting signs o stress,and long stretches o days when the fsh are inedibleand ull o tumors. Panel ofcials politely nodded whileEnbridge attorneys and public relations acks scribblednotes. I sat next to the Enbridge representatives, and
 
There are few routes for tar sands oil to travelfrom the point of extraction in central Canada tothe ports that are gateways to global markets. One is thecontroversial Keystone pipeline, heading south to theGulf of Mexico. Another is the proposed Northern Gatewaypipeline, which would travel west from Alberta throughBritish Columbia to Pacific Ocean ports—straight throughsensitive watersheds, temperate rainforests, andmillennia-old communities of First Nations peoples.

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