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Yinka Dene Alliance

Report from an All Clans Gathering: Why ignoring Indigenous laws on the Enbridge Pipeline is risky business

20 May, 2014

On April 11, 2014, the Yinka Dene Alliance (“YDA”) held an All Clans Gathering in Nak’azdli (adjacent to Fort St. James) in order for their leaders and elders to issue reasons for the rejection of the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline in a gathering according to their laws. I was grateful to be invited as a witness at the gathering along with West Coast’s executive director and senior counsel Jessica Clogg. The power of the gathering really underlined why the federal government’s decision to essentially ignore First Nations’ assertions of their laws and governance in relation to the Enbridge pipeline is a serious risk, not just from a relationship-building standpoint but also in the context of Canadian law.

On April 11, 2014, the Yinka Dene Alliance (“YDA”) held an All Clans Gathering in Nak’azdli (adjacent to Fort St. James) in order for their leaders and elders to issue reasons for the rejection of the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline in a gathering according to their laws. I was grateful to be invited as a witness at the gathering along with West Coast’s executive director and senior counsel Jessica Clogg.

First Nations warn Enbridge against trespass as BC moves to grant preliminary work permits

17 September, 2013

The Yinka Dene Alliance (YDA), a group of First Nations whose territories cover 25 percent of Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipelines route, is ramping up enforcement of its own laws in the face of efforts by Enbridge to begin preliminary work in YDA territories for the proposed pipelines.  Meanwhile, the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations recently offered at least two land tenures to Enbridge and expects to finalize and issue the related permits within the next couple weeks.  As the autumn unfolds, the Province’s response to YDA will show whether BC is ready to match the strong stance it has taken against Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline with meaningful action on the ground.

The Yinka Dene Alliance (YDA), a group of First Nations whose territories cover 25 percent of Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipelines route, is ramping up enforcement of its own laws in the face of efforts by Enbridge to begin preliminary work in YDA territories for the proposed pipelines.  YDA is vocally opposed to the proposed pipeline and

First Nations and BC Mayors stand together against threat of oil tankers and pipelines

18 December, 2012

In December 2010, representatives of sixty-one Indigenous nations came together in an historic alliance to protect the Fraser watershed and our coastal waters from the threat of oil spills.The result was the Save the Fraser Declaration, which bans tar sands projects, like the Enbridge pipeline and tankers project, from impacted First Nations’ territories as a matter of Indigenous law. The Declaration states:

We will not allow the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines, or similar Tar Sands projects, to cross our lands, territories and watersheds, or the ocean migration routes of Fraser River salmon.

In December 2010, representatives of sixty-one Indigenous nations came together in an historic alliance to protect the Fraser watershed and our coastal waters from the threat of oil spills.The result was the Save the Fraser Declaration, which bans tar sands projects, like the Enbridge pipeline and tankers project, from impacted First Nations’ territories as a matter of Indigenous law. The Declaration states:

Freedom Train 2012: Taking Enbridge opposition Canada-wide

17 May, 2012

The cross-Canada railway has always been a powerful symbol. Over the years it has been celebrated as a “nation-building” exercise by some, while it is remembered as a source of deep injustice by others. Chinese and Indigenous labourers worked to build the tracks in dangerous conditions inferior to those of white workers. The railway itself was a tool of colonization that brought significant change to Indigenous society throughout the West, and hastened the imposition of the British-Canadian legal order with almost no treaties in British Columbia, a history that is the source of continuing legal and political conflict today. Conscious of that history, a number of BC First Nations led by the Yinka Dene Alliance, have transformed those rails into a source of power for Indigenous peoples, as they recently completed a journey across the country to assert their rights and their inherent authority to govern themselves.

March to Enbridge shareholders meeting in Toronto

Headlines, Pipelines and Time Spent on the Front Lines

7 March, 2012

Reflections of two legal interns from Australia

As part of our internship with West Coast Environmental Law, we recently travelled with staff counsel to some of the Northern BC communities that would be affected by the proposed Enbridge pipelines and supertankers project,  to the community hearings being currently being held by the National Energy Board. After several years sharpening our minds at Macquarie University in Australia, we were eager to engage with the reality, not just the theory, behind legal issues in which we both strongly believe: empowering communities to engage with decision making processes, strengthening environmental laws and promoting recognition of, and respect for, Aboriginal title and rights.

Reflections of two legal interns from Australia

As part of our internship with West Coast Environmental Law, we recently travelled with staff counsel to some of the Northern BC communities that would be affected by the proposed Enbridge pipelines and supertankers project,  to the community hearings being currently being held by the National Energy Board.

Save the Fraser Declaration - Alberta and Northwest Territories First Nations join BC First Nations in opposing Enbridge Pipeline and Tankers Proposal

1 February, 2012

On January 30th, media, First Nations groups, activists and one law student intern crowded into a hotel room on the outskirts of Edmonton for a press conference held by the Yinka Dene Alliance. Alberta and Northwest Territories First Nations signed on to the historic “Save the Fraser Declaration” to oppose the export of tar sands oil to tankers on the BC Coast. As a law student intern newly started at West Coast Environmental Law, I was very interested to watch First Nations asserting their decisions under Indigenous law.

Nicole Peterson is a legal intern with West Coast Environmental Law who is participating in the Osgoode Aboriginal Clinical Intensive Program.  She writes:

First Nations tell Enbridge: No pipelines without consent

17 May, 2011

When Enbridge recently held its annual meeting of shareholders in Calgary, the company and the city’s business sector received a powerful message about the obstacles in the way of expanding tar sands pipelines to the Pacific coast. First Nations from BC, Alberta and Manitoba gathered together to express their firm conviction, to federal and provincial governments, and to the oil industry, that oil developments and pipelines must not be built on the traditional territories of First Nations without their consent.

When Enbridge recently held its annual meeting of shareholders in Calgary, the company and the city’s business sector received a powerful message about the obstacles in the way of expanding tar sands pipelines to the Pacific coast. First Nations from BC, Alberta and Manitoba gathered together to express their firm conviction, to federal and provincial governments, and to the oil industry, that oil developments and pipelines must not be built on the traditional territories of First Nations without their consent.

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