Canada OKs Oil Pipeline to the Pacific Coast

By ROB GILLIES Associated Press

Canada’s government on Tuesday approved a proposed pipeline to the Pacific Coast that would allow oil to be shipped to Asia, a major step in the country’s efforts to diversify its oil industry.

The approval Tuesday was expected. Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been a staunch supporter of Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline after the U.S. delayed a decision on TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline that would take oil from Alberta to the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Enbridge’s pipeline would transport 525,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta’s oil sands to the Pacific to deliver oil to Asia, mainly energy-hungry China.

There is fierce environmental and aboriginal opposition to the project and legal challenges are expected. About 220 large oil tankers a year would visit the Pacific coast town of Kitamat and opponents fear pipeline leaks and a potential disaster on the pristine Pacific coast.

Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford said in a statement that Enbridge must meet the 209 conditions Canada’s regulator imposed on the pipeline. The company has previously said it would.

“The proponent clearly has more work to do in order to fulfill the public commitment it has made to engage with Aboriginal groups and local communities along the route,” he said in a statement.

The Keystone XL pipeline and the Northern Gateway project are critical to Canada, which needs infrastructure in place to export its growing oil sands production. The northern Alberta region has the world’s third largest oil reserves, with 170 billion barrels of proven reserves.

Harper has said Canada’s national interest makes the pipelines essential. He was “profoundly disappointed” that U.S. President Barack Obama delayed a decision on the Texas Keystone XL option, and spoke of the need to diversify Canada’s oil industry. Ninety-seven percent of Canadian oil exports now go to the U.S.

Tribes and First Nations Unite to Halt B.C. Mine That Threatens Salmon Habitat

Tongass Conservation SocietyThe headwaters of the Unuk River, where a company called KSM wants to build a humongous open-pit mine for cold, copper and other metals.

Tongass Conservation Society
The headwaters of the Unuk River, where a company called KSM wants to build a humongous open-pit mine for cold, copper and other metals.

 

Paula Dobbyn, ICTMN

 

It has become an all-too-familiar story: Pristine waters. Salmon habitat. Sacred significance. Mining.

The Unuk River watershed, straddling the border between British Columbia and Alaska, is on track to become ground zero in a struggle to stop the world’s largest open-pit mine, Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell (KSM). The fight against it is uniting First Nations and Alaska Natives as they battle to preserve stewardship of the pristine region. And it is just one of five massive projects proposed for the region.

If KSM secures the financing and the regulatory go-ahead, the giant mine would turn 6,500 acres of pristine land into an industrial zone that would generate more than 10 billion pounds of copper and 38 million ounces of gold, according to a project summary. As with any large mine, it would employ a hefty workforce—in this case mostly Canadians—and create taxes and royalty payments for Canada. But it would also produce a slew of waste. And that’s what critics say downstream Alaska communities stand to take on: none of the economic benefits but much of the environmental risk.

With its remote headwaters in British Columbia, the Unuk River is one of the world’s most prolific salmon waters. An international river, the Unuk flows into neighboring Southeast Alaska and its temperate rainforest, the 17-million-acre Tongass National Forest, a place of towering coastal mountains, tidewater glaciers and fog-shrouded islands. The Unuk empties into Misty Fjords National Monument, an attraction for cruise ship passengers viewing glaciers, bears and whales that dot Alaska’s Inside Passage. The Unuk, known as Joonáx̱ in Tlingit, supports large runs of king salmon, a cultural icon prized by commercial, sport and subsistence fishermen alike.

“The consequences for salmon runs on both sides of the border could be devastating, yet Alaskans would see none of the economic benefit,” wrote National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Michael Fay in a 2011 letter to British Columbia Premier Christy Clark, signed by nearly 40 other scientists.

Seabridge Gold, the mine developer, expects KSM to generate more than two billion tons of acidic waste rock called tailings, a byproduct of the mining process than can be lethal to fish. The tailings would be held behind two huge dams—each taller than the Hoover dam—built in the headwaters of the Nass River, one of British Columbia’s most important salmon rivers.

Because KSM is located in sensitive fish habitat, it has raised the ire of Southeast Alaska tribes, fishermen and some Canadian First Nations. They joined forces in early April, forming a cross-border working group to develop a unified strategy to protect their interests.

It’s not just KSM that worries them. KSM is one of more than a dozen mines planned for northern B.C., including five located in salmon-bearing watersheds that arise in Canada and drain into Alaska. The British Columbia government is encouraging the mines’ development, offering tax breaks and relaxed environmental rules. Also spurring development is the construction of a new power line extending electricity into the northwest corner of the province, bordering Alaska. The transboundary projects include Red Chris, Schaft Creek, Galore Creek and Tulsequah Chief. The international rivers they could affect are the Taku, Stikine and Unuk, some of Southeast Alaska’s top salmon rivers.

“These projects could not be in a worse location. Salmon is our traditional food. If anything happens to them, we would be in a world of hurt,” said Ketchikan fisherman and tribal leader Rob Sanderson Jr.

Fishing, seafood processing and tourism are key economic drivers in Southeast Alaska. The seafood industry produced $641 million worth of fish in 2011, which created 17,500 jobs and $468 million in wages. A million visitors tour the area every year, spending about copy billion.

Tribes have passed numerous resolutions of concern about how KSM and the other transboundary mines could potentially contaminate the region, including their traditional fishing grounds. Recently a delegation of tribal leaders and fishermen flew to Washington, D.C.  to lobby for State Department intervention. They delivered a letter signed by 40 businesses, groups and individuals asking for help.

Alaska’s congressional delegation got the message. Shortly after the Alaskans flew home, Senators Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich, along with Congressman Don Young, contacted the office of Secretary of State John Kerry by letter asking him to get involved to protect Alaska’s interests. Because the mines are located in Canada, Alaska tribes feel they have less influence over the outcome than if they were on U.S. soil.

“It’s happening in a foreign country. We don’t have a lot of control over it,” said Sanderson. “They don’t even have to consult with Alaska tribes.”

The U.S. Environmental Protect Agency has raised issues regarding the KSM project, mirroring the tribes’ concerns. The U.S Interior Department has urged Seabridge Gold to consult with Alaska tribes regarding fishing and clean water.

Recently Seabridge sent its vice president for environmental affairs to Alaska to participate in a tribal meeting on Prince of Wales Island near Ketchikan regarding KSM. Seabridge’s Brent Murphy told the Juneau Empire that “the overwhelming design philosophy for the KSM project is the protection of downstream environments and that is ensuring protection also for Alaskans.”

On its website, Seabridge notes that KSM has undergone extensive review by environmental and technical experts over the past five years to see that salmon and other wild resources are protected.

But Seabridge’s assurances have done little to allay skepticism on the U.S. side. Since the meeting on Prince of Wales in late March, the newly elected president of Alaska’s largest tribe, the Juneau-based Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, has elevated the matter.

“This is a direct threat to the lifestyle and culture of our tribes’ 29,000-plus members,” said Richard Peterson, tribal president.

At Peterson’s urging, the Central Council adopted a resolution giving Southeast Alaska’s 19 federally recognized tribes the green light to work with First Nations to try to slow the development of the transboundary mines.

“We need a collective call to arms,” said Peterson.

Not all B.C. First Nations oppose the KSM mine or the other transboundary projects. The Gitxsan and Nisga’a Nations support the mine’s development. But others, including the Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs, who live downstream from where the KSM waste facility would be located, are opposed.

“Nass River fish are critical for the food security of the Gitanyow,” said Kevin Koch, a fish and wildlife biologist with Gitanyow Fisheries Authority. “KSM poses a major threat to the Gitanyow way of life.”

Koch noted that the Gitanyow have constitutionally protected aboriginal rights to fish in the Nass. Seabridge maintains that any ill effects from mine waste on Nass River salmon would be minimal.

Peterson is unconvinced.

“I think John Kerry should be sitting in my office talking to me right now,” he said. “We need face-to-face consultation on this. We’re a sovereign nation.”

 

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/05/02/tribes-and-first-nations-unite-halt-bc-mine-threatens-salmon-habitat-154681?page=0%2C1

RCMP uncover over 1,000 cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women

 

MISSINGWOMENINQUIRYGFX2

30. Apr, 2014 by APTN National News |

 

Kenneth Jackson
APTN National News
An RCMP project aimed at tallying the number of missing and murdered Indigenous women has uncovered “over 1,000” cases, APTN National News has learned.

The RCMP was able to determine over a 1,000 cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women with the help other police forces across the country, according to a person with knowledge of the project, who asked not to be named because they’re not the official spokesperson on the project.

As part of this project, the RCMP reached out to over 200 police forces across the country to get a peek in their files to compile their statistics.

APTN was told the project was complete and the report’s release is being held up by the federal ministry of public safety Canada and was supposed to come out March 31.

However, RCMP Aboriginal policing Supt. Tyler Bates denied a report was done when contacted on his cellphone Wednesday afternoon but not the tally.

“There is no report as of yet that has been disseminated,” said Bates. “There will be a publicly available document down the road.”

When asked about the tally of over 1,000 Bates said he couldn’t confirm or deny any number.

“I’m not going to speak to a specific number to confirm or refute anything at this juncture,” he said. “I don’t have any comment right now. All I can tell you is there is work that remains ongoing.”

The purpose of the project was to give the RCMP clear data on the number of missing and murdered Indigenous women Bates told APTN in December.

The tally of over 1,000 cases would shatter anything officially compiled up until this point. The Native Women’s Association of Canada released a report in 2010 with nearly 600 cases.

Then just recently an Ottawa researcher said her work put the number at over 800.

The RCMP questioned NWAC’s numbers in the past, but, until the recent project, the federal force only tallied information from within its own files.

A call the public safety minister’s office wasn’t immediately returned.

– with APTN files

Dream catcher weaved in Halifax to honour souls of missing, murdered aboriginal women

04-17-hal8-murdered-aboriginals-jh

By Christine Bennett For Metro

April 16, 2014

Halifax community members gathered on Wednesday to weave a 10-foot dream catcher to honour missing and murdered aboriginal women.

The Mi’kmaq Native Friendship Centre on Gottingen Street hosted the event with support from the Public Service Alliance of Canada.

They’re making 824 small dream catchers to hang off the large one, each of those representing one of the aboriginal women currently missing in Canada.

“A dream catcher is to help you have good dreams and take the bad dreams away, but in this case, those women who are missing, their dreams are gone,” said Debbie Eisan, who works at the centre. “We want to make sure that their dreams are not going to be forgotten and their lives won’t be forgotten.”

The purple ribbon on these dream catchers represents the missing woman, and the black bead represents the mourning of that woman.

The bead usually goes in the middle, but this time it’s at the bottom because there’s nothing to celebrate, Eisan said.

This idea came after the death of Loretta Saunders, an Inuit woman who was murdered in February while she was studying at Saint Mary’s University and writing her thesis on missing and murdered aboriginal women.

Eisan is calling on the government to provide equal and fair treatment to aboriginal cases.

“I just want these cases to be treated with the same respect, importance, and dignity as they would any other missing and murdered woman,” she said.

Native Americans vow a last stand to block Keystone XL pipeline

 

By Rob Hotakainen

McClatchy Washington Bureau February 17, 2014

Faith Spotted Eagle sits in her home in Lake Andes, South Dakota on Monday, Feb. 10, 2014. Spotted Eagle is fighting against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. TRAVIS HEYING — MCT

Faith Spotted Eagle sits in her home in Lake Andes, South Dakota on Monday, Feb. 10, 2014. Spotted Eagle is fighting against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. TRAVIS HEYING — MCT

WASHINGTON — Faith Spotted Eagle figures that building a crude oil pipeline from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast would bring little to Indian Country besides more crime and dirty water, but she doubts that Native Americans will ever get the U.S. government to block the $7 billion project.

“There is no way for Native people to say no – there never has been,” said Spotted Eagle, 65, a Yankton Sioux tribal elder from Lake Andes, S.D. “Our history has caused us not to be optimistic. . . . When you have capitalism, you have to have an underclass – and we’re the underclass.”

Opponents may be down after a State Department study found that the proposed Keystone XL pipeline would not contribute to global warming. But they haven’t abandoned their goal of killing what some call “the black snake.”

In South Dakota, home to some of the nation’s poorest American Indians, tribes are busy preparing for nonviolent battle with “resistance training” aimed at TransCanada, the company that wants to develop the 1,700-mile pipeline.

While organizers said they want to keep their strategy a secret, they’re considering everything from vigils to civil disobedience to blockades to thwart the moving of construction equipment and the delivery of materials.

“We’re going to do everything we possibly can,” said Greg Grey Cloud of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, who attended a two-day conference and training session in Rapid City last week sponsored by the Oglala Sioux Tribe called “Help Save Mother Earth from the Keystone Pipeline.” He said tribes are considering setting up encampments to follow the construction, but he stressed that any actions would be peaceful. “We’re not going to damage anything or riot or anything like that,” he said.

Like much of the country, however, tribal members are divided over the pipeline. In South Dakota, the battle pits those who fear irreversible effects on the environment and public safety against those who trumpet the economic payoff and a chance to cash in on a kind of big development project that rarely comes along.

In Winner, S.D., where the population numbers fewer than 3,000, Mayor Jess Keesis is eager to welcome construction workers from a 600-member “man camp” that would open just 10 miles from town if President Barack Obama approves the pipeline.

“Out here on the prairie, you know, we’re a tough people,” said Keesis, who’s also a member of the Prairie Band of Potawatomi Nation in Kansas. “We deal with drought and eight-foot blizzards and all kinds of stuff all the time, so anytime we can get something like this to give us a shot, it’s a good thing.”

Opponents say the risks are too great.

Two weeks ago, an alliance of Native American groups approved a statement saying emphatically that no pipeline would be allowed in South Dakota and that tribes stand ready to protect their “sacred water” and other natural resources.

That includes Native women, who opponents of the pipeline say would become easy prey for thousands of temporary construction workers housed in work camps. According to the federal government, one of every three Indian women are either raped or sexually assaulted during their lifetimes, with the majority of attacks done by non-Native men.

O6vIM.La.91“If you like to drink water, if you like your children not being harmed, if you don’t want your women being harmed, then say no to the pipeline,” Grey Cloud said. “Because once it comes, it’s going to destruct everything.”

Opponents said they don’t want to have to follow through on their plans. They hope that they have the ultimate trump card with a president who just happens to be an adopted Indian. That would be Barack Black Eagle, who was formally adopted by Hartford and Mary Black Eagle of Montana’s Crow Indian Tribe in 2008, when he visited the tribal reservation during his first presidential run.

“They didn’t do that by accident – they saw something in him, and I hope he recognizes that within himself,” Spotted Eagle said.

Grey Cloud said Obama would be “going against his word” if he approves the pipeline: “His main promise was to not allow pollution in our area.”

Keesis said the project carries risks but ultimately would be a winner for the region. He said the city of Winner and surrounding Tripp County would get a windfall of roughly $900,000 a year from construction workers patronizing the town’s restaurants, bars and its recently upgraded digital theater. Even the city would make money, hauling liquid waste from the nearby construction camp to its municipal facilities.

After spending 20 years working in oilfields and boomtowns, he’s convinced that much has changed, with construction workers “under the gun to behave.”

“I’ve been in boomtowns all my life: Wyoming, Texas, California, Colorado, Alaska, everywhere,” he said. “I don’t think it’s going to be near as bad as what people have in their minds. The oilfield, as with any other occupation like this, has really mellowed over the last 20 years. It’s not the Wild West like it used to be. . . . But you’ve got to take a little bad with the good.”

Obama, who has not said when he’ll make a final decision, is under heavy pressure to approve the project. Just last week, all 45 Republican senators sent a letter to the president, saying thousands of jobs are at stake and reminding him that he had promised them to make a decision by the end of 2013.

Nationally, project backers appear to be riding the momentum, armed with a State Department report on Jan. 31 that minimized the climate change impact of building the pipeline. Republican House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio said the report shows Americans that there is “no reason, scientific or otherwise, to block this project any longer.”

While Obama has kept mum, his administration has been offering hope to tribal officials.

“If we’re developing an area that runs through Indian Country, it’s very important that we reach an agreement that makes sense to tribes,” Interior Secretary Sally Jewell told tribal officials during a visit to Oklahoma in November, according to a story published in the Native American Times. “If not, that might mean the pipeline or transmission line goes somewhere else.”

In South Dakota, the proposed line would not go through any of the state’s nine reservations, but opponents say its close proximity would still pose a hazard.

TransCanada officials say they’ve worked closely with the tribes, even halting work in northeast Texas last year as a team of archaeological contractors dug for Indian artifacts at a sacred site.

With the southern section of the pipeline already open, company spokesman Terry Cunha said TransCanada is now working with 17 tribes in South Dakota, Montana and Nebraska, where the company needs Obama’s approval to build. He said the company hopes to begin work in those states in 2015.

Cunha said the company expects the pipeline to have a “limited impact” on the environment and that its work camps will be provided with around-the-clock security.

“We see it as a positive benefit,” he said.

Besides the short-term construction work, Keesis said his city would gain another 30 to 40 permanent residents who would work on pipeline-related jobs. He said Winner needs a lift, noting that since the city shut down its strip clubs a few years back, fewer pheasant hunters are visiting, opting to stay in big hunting lodges nearby.

“When I moved here, during the first three weeks of pheasant season, you couldn’t find a parking space,” he said. “Now you can park anywhere.”

But the economic argument is a hard sell for many tribal members in South Dakota, where history is still raw. It’s the scene of the some of the bloodiest battles between Indians and the federal government, including the 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee Creek by the U.S. 7th Cavalry that killed nearly 300 Sioux.

Spotted Eagle said she feels obligated to try to stop the pipeline, both to provide toxic-free land and water for her grandchildren and to protect women from attacks.

“This is a form of militarism, bringing in these man camps,” said Spotted Eagle. “For those of us who have the history, it smacks of repetitive economics, when they put us in forts and they wanted our land. . . . All we’re willing to do here is sell our soul, just for the economy. That’s the dark side.”

Email: rhotakainen@mcclatchydc.com; Twitter: @HotakainenRob

Majority of British Columbians oppose Northern Gateway pipeline: poll

 

Dogwood Initiative executive director Will Horter said pipeline opposition is always stronger in polls when tanker routes and the possibility of oils spills are mentioned as part of the Northern Gateway project.Photograph by: JONATHAN HAYWARD , THE CANADIAN PRESS

Dogwood Initiative executive director Will Horter said pipeline opposition is always stronger in polls when tanker routes and the possibility of oils spills are mentioned as part of the Northern Gateway project.
Photograph by: JONATHAN HAYWARD , THE CANADIAN PRESS

Results not surprising in survey commissioned by environmental groups

By Gordon Hoekstra, Vancouver Sun February 5, 2014

Nearly two thirds of British Columbians are opposed to the $6.5-billion Northern Gateway pipeline and the tankers it will bring to the northern coast, according to a poll commissioned by environmental groups.

Conducted between Jan. 13-19, the Justason Market Intelligence poll of 600 people also found that 64 per cent (the same number that are opposed) believe the project will definitely or probably be built. The margin of error of the combined telephone and online poll is plus or minus four per cent.

The survey showed that 92 per cent were aware of the project, which will carry diluted bitumen from the Alberta oilsands to Kitimat for transport by tanker overseas to open up Asian markets.

The poll was commissioned by the Dogwood Initiative, ForestEthics Advocacy, Northwest Institute for Bioregional Research and West Coast Environmental Law.

The Enbridge pipeline project received approval last month from a joint panel federal review of the National Energy Board and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.

Several First Nations and environmental groups have already launched court action against the panel decision.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government has until the middle of this year to grant approval.

The findings showed that four times as many of those surveyed “strongly” oppose the project (50 per cent) than who “strongly” support the project (12 per cent). Another 17 per cent somewhat support the project.

The majority-opposition finding is not an unusual for a poll commissioned by environmental groups, which generally highlight in their questions the introduction of super tankers and the possibility of oil spills.

Dogwood Initiative executive director Will Horter said opposition is always stronger in polls when tankers are mentioned as part of the Northern Gateway project.

“People have very strong concerns about oil pipelines, but have deep, deep concerns about the oil tankers,” said Horter.

Business and industry-commissioned polls, which tend to highlight the economic benefits of Northern Gateway, usually find higher support for the project.

A B.C. Chamber of Commerce-commissioned poll released in December found nearly 50 per cent support for Northern Gateway.

The Justason poll also found that 51 per cent distrust the joint review panel process, while 32 per cent trusted it.

If Premier Christy Clark’s five conditions for supporting heavy oil being transported through B.C. are met, 49 per cent said they would be a lot or a little bit more supportive of the project.

The B.C. Chamber poll had found that should the project meet the five conditions, support increased to 63 per cent.

Clark’s conditions include the passing of an environmental review, creating world-leading marine and land spill prevention and recovery systems, addressing First Nations’ rights and receiving a fair share of economic benefits.

ghoekstra@vancouversun.com

Follow me: @Gordon_Hoekstra

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

Kinder Morgan Pipeline Threatens Ecology and Economy of Salish Tribes

Tribes on both sides of the border intervene in proceeding to address tanker traffic and oil spill risks

A boy pulls salmon from a net.Photo Courtesy of Tulalip Tribes

A boy pulls salmon from a net.
Photo Courtesy of Tulalip Tribes

Press Release, Office of Public Affairs, Tulalip Tribes, Earth Justice

 

Seattle, WA; Vancouver, BC — Opposition to Kinder Morgan’s TransMountain proposed pipeline project ramped up today as Coast Salish peoples on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border vowed to oppose the project as intervenors before Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB). Coast Salish intervenors include the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, Tulalip Tribes, Lummi Nation, and Suquamish Tribe in Washington state, and the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations in British Columbia. The deadline for application to participate in the NEB process was last night at midnight.

“Over the last 100 years, our most sacred site, the Salish Sea, has been deeply impacted by our pollution-based economy,” said Swinomish Chairman Brian Cladoosby. “Every kind of pollution ends up in the Salish Sea. We have decided no more and we are stepping forward. It is up to this generation and future generations to restore and protect the precious waters of the Salish Sea.”

“Our people are bound together by our deep connection to Burrard Inlet and the Salish Sea. We are the ‘People of the Inlet’ and we are united in our resolve to protect our land, water and air from this risky project,” said Chief Maureen Thomas of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation. “We will use all lawful means to oppose it. This is why we have applied to intervene in the NEB hearing process.”

In December, Kinder Morgan filed an application with the NEB to build a new pipeline to bring tar sands oil from Alberta to Vancouver, B.C. The NEB is the Canadian federal agency that regulates interprovincial energy infrastructure. It is responsible for reviewing, recommending and regulating major energy projects, such as the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline.

If approved, the proposal would see the transport of tar sands oil expanded from its present level of approximately 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000 barrels per day. With an almost seven-fold increase in oil tankers moving through the shared waters of the Salish Sea, an increase in groundings, accidents, incidents, leaks and oil spills is inevitable.

Experts have acknowledged that a serious oil spill would devastate an already-stressed marine environment and likely lead to collapses in the remaining salmon stocks and further contamination of shellfish beds, wiping out Indigenous fishing rights.

“The fishing grounds of the Salish Sea are the lifeblood of our peoples. We cannot sit idly by while these waters are threatened by reckless increases in oil tanker traffic and increased risk of catastrophic oil spill,” said Mel Sheldon, Chairman of the Tulalip Tribes.

The proposed tar sands pipeline expansion is one of several projects that would dramatically increase the passage of tankers, bulk carriers, and other vessels through Salish Sea shipping routes and adjacent waters on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border. In addition to oil, regulators in both countries are reviewing controversial proposals to export huge quantities of U.S. coal. Taken together, these projects would greatly increase the risk of oil spills and other accidents that threaten the Coast Salish economies and cultures.

“Today we are taking a stand to honour our ancient connection to the Salish Sea. The threat of oil spills and industrial pollution continue to threaten our way of life.” said Chief Ian Campbell of the Squamish Nation. “We stand in unity with all who care about the health of the Salish Sea and defend it for future generations.”

Chairman Timothy Ballew III of the Lummi Nation stated, “I am a fisherman, a father and a member of the great Lummi Nation. As the northernmost Washington Treaty Tribe of the Boldt Decision, we are the stewards the Salish Sea and will not allow the Kinder Morgan proposal along our waterways that will threaten our harvesting areas and further the detrimental impacts to the environment and natural resources.”

Read an FAQ on the Kinder Morgan TransMountain pipeline expansion.

Abused Mohawk woman fears becoming statistic among growing number of missing and murdered

By Kenneth Jackson, APTN National News
The bedside alarm clock said it was 1:58 in the morning.

That’s the exact moment when she was awoken from her bed by a man who had broken into her home and was grabbing her.

Groggy and frightened, as she lived alone with a cat, she thought she was having a nightmare.

She was.

In fact, she’d be living it for several years.

Before the sun would come up she was punched, choked, kicked and threatened to be killed by her ex-boyfriend, a Caucasian who always ridiculed her Indigenous roots.

“He said: ‘Only one of us is going to wake up tomorrow and it’s going to be me,’” the young women recounted to an APTN National News reporter who agreed to protect her identity and some details of the attack because she fears for her safety.

The Mohawk from Tyendinaga thought she was going to die, but somehow was able to survive and call police.

She gave a video statement to police and went to the hospital.

He wasn’t arrested until two days later and was then released from the station. She spent a weekend thinking he was being held for a bail hearing only to find out that wasn’t the case.

She said a police officer refused to tell her they released him.

He was charged with mischief and assault. She questions why he wasn’t charged with more.

She can no longer live in the small town near Ottawa anymore, where the abuser and his family live.

She has to quit her job and move away – far away –  from him.

“It’s not safe for me to be here anymore,” she said. “I don’t want to become a statistic. I don’t want to be another murdered First Nations woman.”

That statistic, which she refers to, is apparently climbing according to a recent study by Maryanne Pearce, an Ottawa researcher, who says she’s compiled over 800 cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women dating back to 1946.

A few years ago that number was pegged at about 600 by the Native Women’s Association of Canada.

Pearce, who is part Mohawk, told APTN her work was done, in part, for her doctorate in law at the University of Ottawa.

“Issues of violence against women are very important to me, so I wanted to help in any way I can,” said Pearce.

Pearce used online media stories, archives and other related work to make her list.

“Most were from 1980 and beyond, and more from 1999 onward,” she said, mainly because the Internet made it easier.

Pearce said she was inclusive and detailed as possible when collecting the date, but is upfront it can’t be 100 per cent.

“Inevitably, I will have missed cases or included case has changed and shouldn’t be there any more,” she said, adding a newspaper recently spotted two in her database that had been found alive.

But her work has sparked others to submit names she never had.

“Since the media began reporting on the research, I have also been sent emails with names or numbers of women that were omitted. One of the cases brought to my attention I have yet to be able to find in any public source,” said Pearce.

Many have called for a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women, but Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said he won’t call one.

Pearce isn’t necessarily against an inquiry. She does question how it would work.

“I certainly understand the reasons behind calling for a national inquiry. We all want answers and action. While I am not against a national inquiry per se, I have many questions about how it would proceed and function,” she said.

That includes how it will be funded and involve the provinces and territories.

“If we did have an inquiry, would the non-binding recommendations in a report be acted upon, or sit on a shelf?” she wondered.

Still, she hopes her research can attempt to help other work in the area, and try to fill any gaps.

Shawn Brant is also from Tyendinaga, and a well-known Mohawk activist willing to stand up against what he perceives as injustices against Indigenous peoples.

Brant is about to begin a campaign “to force the federal government” to call a national public inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women.

It’s what he calls the first step in a plan to protect Indigenous women in Canada.

“There’s no limit in how far we’ll go to resolve this,” said Brant.

He said that includes “direct conflict” if required.

Brant is aware of the Mohawk woman and her situation.

“I think that she models the circumstances that inevitably lead to tragedy,” he said.

Canada’s energy officials take over job of protecting fish from pipelines

By John Upton, Grist

A salmon in Canada
Arthur Chapman

Move aside, Canadian federal fisheries and oceans officials. Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s administration has decided that the nation’s fossil-fuel-friendly energy regulators would do a better job of protecting fish in streams and lakes that cross paths with gas and oil pipelines. Northwest Coast Energy News has the scoop:

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has handed responsibility for fish and fish habitat along pipeline routes over to the National Energy Board. …

DFO and NEB quietly announced a memorandum of agreement on December 16, 2013, that went largely unnoticed with the release three days later of the Joint Review Panel decision on Northern Gateway and the slow down in news coverage over the Christmas holidays. …

Enbridge no longer has to apply to DFO for permits to alter fish habitat along the Northern Gateway route. …

Fish and fish habitat along [that] pipeline is now the responsibility of the Alberta-based, energy friendly National Energy Board.

This looks to be another horrifying step in Harper’s efforts to quash any science (or common sense) that might slow down the extraction and transportation of gas and oil in Canada.

John Upton is a science fan and green news boffin who tweets, posts articles to Facebook, and blogs about ecology. He welcomes reader questions, tips, and incoherent rants: johnupton@gmail.com.

More Than 4,000 Indigenous Children Died in Canada’s Residential Schools: Commission

DAVE CHAN/POSTMEDIA NEWSKimberly Murray, executive director of Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, says there is evidence that at least 4,000 indigenous children died in residential schools.

DAVE CHAN/POSTMEDIA NEWS
Kimberly Murray, executive director of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, says there is evidence that at least 4,000 indigenous children died in residential schools.

The dark years of the residential schools era in Canada have long obscured the fate of many of the 150,000 indigenous children who were taken from their families from the 1860s through the 1990s and “educated” with the goal of “killing the Indian in the child,” as the motto went.

Though about 80,000 of these former students survive, many were never accounted for. Until now.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), mandated to unmask what really went on at the schools, has documented the deaths of at least 4,000 children during that chapter in Canada’s history. And that’s just the ones they know about, Postmedia News reported on January 3.

The figures, based on only partial federal government records, is expected to rise as more complete records come to light, Postmedia News said.

From fires, to abuse, to disease, even to suicide, indigenous children died in droves. They were buried in unmarked graves near the schools because the Canadian government did not want to pay to have them shipped back home. Moreover, in many cases the parents were never told what happened to their children, Postmedia News said.

A lack of fire escapes was one glaring example of how the system not only didn’t care for the children but also outrightly put them in danger. Many schools refused to install fire escapes, instead putting poles outside of windows for children to slide down, fireman style. But with windows locked to prevent escape, children were unable to reach the poles, PostMedia News said. Neither were there sprinkler systems, despite numerous reports calling the schools firetraps and recommending the measures.

“It’s amazing that they didn’t make those corrections in those schools,” said TRC Executive Director Kimberly Murray, in an interview with PostMedia News. “There are just so many deaths that I think could have been prevented if they had done what they were supposed to do.”

Part of the commission’s work has been to establish a data base of the children’s names, cause of death and burial places, known as “The Missing Children Project,” Postmedia News said. The TRC’s full report, due out in 2015, will tell the full story of the deceased children.

Full story: At Least 4,000 Aboriginal Children Died in Residential Schools, Commission Finds

RELATED: Canadian Govt. Watched Kids Starve Like Lab Rats for ‘Science’

‘Not Even Human’ How Canadian Govt. Abused Aboriginal Children in TB Experiments

 

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/01/07/more-4000-indigenous-children-died-canadas-residential-schools-commission-153011