October 31, 2016, Turtle Island—An International Treaty Alliance of 85 First Nations and Tribes is calling on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to make a statement condemning the role that Canadian company Enbridge Inc. (headquartered in Calgary, Alberta) has played in the severe violations of the rights of the Indigenous People and their allies at Standing Rock. The Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sand Expansion, which prohibits the passage of proposed Tar Sands pipelines, trains and tankers, was formally launched on September 22, 2016 with the majority of signatories located in Canada, and including U.S. Tribes such as the Standing Rock Sioux.
Enbridge announced on August 2, 2016 that one of its units, Enbridge Energy Partners L.P., would be investing $1.5 billion in exchange for a 27.6 percent share of the Dakota Access pipeline project, which seeks to transport dirty fracked oil from the Bakken region of North Dakota to Illinois and would pass under the Missouri River, the source of drinking water for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and millions more people.
“It is time for the Prime Minister, who has stated that no relationship is more important to him than the one with Indigenous Peoples, to take a stand in support of the rights of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and allied Nations as they resist the Dakota Access pipeline,” said Grand Chief Derek Nepinak of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs. “This historic moment at Standing Rock is a Canadian issue that you must publicly address Mr. Prime Minister: we are talking about a Canadian company committing severe human rights violations and some of its victims are brave water protectors and land defenders from First Nations up North.”
The world watched in horror on September 3, 2016 as the security guards hired by the Dakota Access pipeline company unleashed attack dogs on peaceful, unarmed water protectors. That day also saw the pipeline company bulldoze a sacred tribal burial ground. Since such time, military-like police forces from North Dakota and elsewhere have acted like the pipeline’s paid security force, violently assaulting peaceful Indigenous People, often women and elders, who, along with their allies, are simply standing in defense and protection of the water relied upon by millions.
“There is a battle being waged across the globe by Indigenous People and their allies demanding a safe world for future generations. This is about water versus oil: life versus death,” added Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. “Right now, the frontlines of the battle for humanity’s survival are located at Standing Rock. It is time to choose Mr. Prime Minister – to be silent is to be complicit: do you stand with Enbridge and the forces trying to ram through the Dakota Access pipeline or do you stand for human rights and the protection of the environment?”
“Canada likes to think of itself as a human rights leader, despite the way its government and its companies have treated Indigenous People at home and abroad,” said Winona Laduke, executive director for Honor the Earth. “Yet once again, this time at Standing Rock, we see the Canadian company Enbridge harming our Tribal peoples in the US. Let’s not forget that Enbridge is responsible for the biggest inland pipeline spill in US history when they dumped over 4 million litres of toxic tar sands dilbit into the Kalamazoo river in Michigan, and yet now Enbridge and Canada are hoping with the proposed Line 3 pipeline project to send even more tar sands dilbit our way in Minnesota. That pipeline is not going to pass either.”
The Treaty Alliance is growing and will be announcing more signatures at an upcoming event in Ottawa (Algonquin territory) on November 15, 2016. We will also be announcing the groups that will be signing the Solidarity Accord in support of the Treaty Alliance. You can find a copy of the Solidarity Accord and all of the information on the Treaty at www.treatyalliance.org