Yesterday (September 22), more than 50 First Nations from Canada and the United States signed a treaty to unify their fight against new pipelines that would increase dependence on oil sands from Alberta, Canada.
The National Observer reported that two ceremonies in Quebec and B.C., Canada took place regarding the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion. Whie these groups have always opposed fossil fuel development, it was never as a unified group.
“In this time of great challenge we know that other First Nations will sign on,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, according to the National Observer. “Based on our sovereign, inherent right to self-determination, we have collectively decided that we will pick up our sacred responsibilities to the land, waters, and people. We will come together in unity and solidarity to protect our territory from the predations of big oil interests, industry, and everything that represents.”
The treaty states:
“As sovereign Indigenous Nations, we enter this treaty pursuant to our inherent legal authority and responsibility to protect our respective territories from threats to our lands, waters, air and climate, but we do so knowing full well that it is in the best interest of all peoples, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to put a stop to the threat of Tar Sands expansion.
We wish to work in collaboration with all peoples and all governments in building a more equitable and sustainable future, one that will produce healthier and more prosperous communities across Turtle Island and beyond, as well as preserve and protect our peoples’ way of life.”
Similar alliances are becoming more common as thousands of Native and Indigenous peoples from around the world join the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in their battle against the Dakota Access Pipeline—even tribes that have historically been enemies. In addition to the Standing Rock Sioux, other U.S. signatories include the Lummi Nation in Washington state and the White Earth Nation in Minnesota.