Aboriginal leaders in Canada are disturbed by the behavior of the Prime Minister and his cabinet in promoting oil pipelines through indigenous territories prior to environmental review. As if it wasn’t enough that Ottawa ignored the First Nations’ concerns, Prime Minister Harper and the oil companies he represents are now mobilizing resentment toward indigenous peoples attempting to protect their lands and waters from environmental disaster. As the Crown First Nations Gathering fast approaches later this month, the Crown is behaving as though it is above the law–both Canadian and international.
As noted in my earlier post citing First Nations Strategic Bulletin, the Government of Canada and Canadian mining companies have a notorious record of violating the human rights of indigenous peoples at home and abroad. Using RCMP spies and foreign mercenaries, they have committed unspeakable violence toward tribal peoples. Now that they are losing in the court of public opinion over the Tar Sands disaster and associated pipeline proposals to coastal British Columbia and the Gulf of Mexico, Canada and the corporations are attempting to silence First Nations and their allies through media campaigns and official threats in violation of the Canadian Constitution and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
When Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo was running for office, the Government of Canada did all in its power to prevent Atleo’s election, hoping instead — through spying, bribery, harassment and threats — to facilitate the election of a patsy Ottawa could control. Now that National Chief Atleo has established himself as a champion for indigenous rights under international law, the Harper administration is attempting to outmaneuver AFN in the run-up to the Crown First Nations summit. How successful Harper will be in undermining his adversary Atleo depends on how vigilant indigenous media and activists can be in exposing the ruthless hypocrisy and reckless conduct of Canada’s government and corporations.
The library is dedicated to the memory of Secwepemc Chief George Manuel (1921-1989), to the nations of the Fourth World and to the elders and generations to come.access here