Treaty Violations & Line 9

||| by Sâkihitowin Awâsis

The National Energy Board is not seeking free, prior, and informed consent from First Nations communities and Indigenous Peoples.  Although the project cuts across Haudenosaunee territory (the Haldimand land tract), federal officials have ignored the concerns raised by Haudenosaunee Confederacy in late 2011.  The Enbridge line 9 reversal application and review process already has violated the Nanfan treaty, the Two-Row Wampum, Friendship Wampum belt, the Great Peace of Montreal treaty, the Haldimand Proclamation, section 35 of the Constitution Act, and the UN Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  In late 2011, the Oneida Nation of the Thames band council also submitted a statement to voice concerns, which seemingly have been ignored.

We are ALL treaty people! Honour the treaties!

Pictured above is the Silver Covenant Chain Wampum, one of the earliest agreements made between the Haudenosaunee and Settler nations. This belt accompanies the Two Row Wampum, and is based in the principle of mutual aid and respect. Depicted above is an Onkwehon:we (Indigenous) and non-Indigenous person holding a silver chain, in agreement that if there are difficulties or trouble we will pull on the chain to let the other know we need to help one another. The principles of this international treaty agreement have not been upheld by settlers.

For a lot of people colonization is not something of the past, but an ongoing destructive process that continues to degrade the self-government and diverse cultures of Indigenous Peoples today.

Although treaties involve principles of good relations between Indigenous Nations and Settler Nations, many treaties have been broken. When European governments were trying to create and legitimize their own settlements on the Americas, treaties were still signed by independent Indigenous Nations, who are not subjects of the British crown.

For instance, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy of Six Nations was forced off of land that was promised to them by the Canadian government, yet are currently being denied compensation. This means that the government is failing to uphold the Two Row Wampum treaty, the basis of which is Peace, Respect, and Friendship.

Treaty making is the appropriate starting place for resolving conflict between Indigenous Nations and the settler state in ways that are peaceful and meaningful for both parties, in the spirit and intent of the original treaty-making.  

Further information –

http://peopleshearing2012.wordpress.com/

http://6nsolidarity.wordpress.com/

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Pipeline threats

The pipeline crosses multiple waterways, including the Grand River which flows through Six Nations territory, and the Thames river, through London, Ontario. The Great Lakes are downstream.

Line 9 was built in 1975. Corrosive tar sands and increased flow pressure would increase the risk of a disastrous breach. A similar Enbridge pipeline ruptured along the way to Sarnia in 2010, spoiling 40 kilometers of the Kalamazoo River in Michigan.  Enbridge lists more than 600 pipeline spills between 1999 and 2008, as well, when this company’s pipelines released approximately 21 million litres of fossil fuels.

A fast-tracked review

Enbridge is being granted a fast-tracked review for their line 9 tar sands pipeline reversal through Ontario.

The official hearings are not legitimate or democratic for some of the following reasons:

  • The federal cabinet will try to overrule any review outcomes which they do not approve of.
  • Concerns about tar sands extraction are among numerous crucial topics that will be considered to be ‘irrelevant’ in this far-too-narrowly defined hearing.
  • This project violates treaties with indigenous peoples.  The pipeline reversal would flow across the Haldimand Land tract, without Six Nations consent.
  • Enbridge has not provided adequate notice of their plans, and very few Ontario residents are aware of this pipeline.
  • The web site for the official hearing is not accessible; it evidently was written for lawyers.  Yet, citizens generally are unable to hire lawyers to represent them in this review process.
  • Months were slashed from the timeline of this review, which originally was scheduled for the fall.  This fast-tracked review further undercuts the potential for democratic participation.

This project should not be approved without the free, prior, and informed consent of all peoples who may be impacted.

The tar sands industry is attempting to build as many pipelines as they can, and the National Energy Board seems to be helping them to do so.

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