Monday, November 7, 2011

First Nation Woman speaks about the Alberta Tar Sands' effect

"The earth does not belong to us. We belong to the earth"
- Chief Seattle, Chief Seattle's Speech

Well, my awesome friend Crystal Lameman-Cardinal of Beaver Lake Cree Nation, is off to England to speak Internationally about how the Tar sands are affecting our people here in Canada & how it's infringing on our Treaty Rights & Traditional Way of Life & not to mention all the health issues with our people, the animals, & medicines...I ask all, when you all pray in your own way, for the next 10 days, please pray for strength & support for her, she has a heavy task & needs all of us behind her ♥

(L to R) Crystal's uncle Former Chief Al Lameman
of Beaver Lake Cree Nation who spearheaded
the legal case, herself, & Cooperative
Group/Bank UK Colin Baines
She has made many sacrifices to do this for all of us, she has left her two little ones, for the first time, left her husband behind, and this will be the first time she travels out of our country.  Let's pray for the safety for her children and husband, and let her know we will help the Creator keep them safe so she can have more peace and keep her focus on her great task.  I also pray our Ancestors like Chief Big Bear, Chief Poundmaker and other great visionary leaders are there beside her in that distant land.

These are her words & message today, as she boards that plane across the great waters because the governments of North America keep ignoring our calls:
"I have a heavy task ahead of me that requires all of my positive energy; thus I will leave you with this: I do this for those that cannot speak for themselves, I do this because our earths entire fresh water reserve is only 3% but industry is producing over a billion barrels of oil a day and it takes 3-5 barrels of fresh water to 1barrel of tarsands oil and 90% of that water is not recyclable and contaminated thus sits in insitu ponds and leaches into the ground ultimately leading to destruction; in case you didn't know... When that water's gone, we have no more drinking water. I do this whether you agree or disagree... I do it for everyone. Everyone has a family to feed. I have never stated that I was against the industry, what I do say is that industry and the Canadian Government must be held accountable for not abiding by the agreements set forth and that our inherent right to hunt, fish, and forage is being ignored...I do it for our people... The First People of Canada - our ancestors said, "we will have the ability to use the land as we did yesterday, and the day before that and the day before that, and we will use it that same way tomorrow and the next..." I'm grateful for those that have supported me and those that doubt me. When the tarsands are depleted and our ecosystems destroyed, our Treaties will be gone, and we will not be able to drink that oil or eat that money. I don't parade around yelling, "shut down the tarsands," but I do advocate for ethical oil!"
She will be blogging her experience daily at:

The Canadian Government has been sending their people to England to support the Tar sands with no one from Canada to question their motives.  Just recently, Canadian Natural Resource Minister, Joe Oliver was cited saying the following in a news release.  Max Paris reports on the issue:

"Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver has quite the sales job ahead of him. As minister in charge of selling the oil sands, there's a lot of bad press to spin out of and ugly pictures to gloss over. Lucky for him, the potential for tens-of-thousands of new jobs and billions of dollars in new revenues make the job that much easier.
Still, when he sat down for an on-camera interview with the CBC's Margo McDiarmid last week, it was hard to ignore when he made his job a whole lot harder. 
"That (oilsands) land, which only represents one-thousandth of our boreal forest, is uninhabitable... uh... by human beings. So, you know, no community is being disrupted," according to the minister.
Uh, Joe? It may be uninhabitable by human beings if your idea of human habitat is restricted to the confines of the Toronto riding of Eglinton-Lawrence. But if, say, you live just down the river from the oil sands development in the mainly Cree, Dene and Metis town of Fort Chipewyan, you might have a different take on the possibilities of the human habitability of the area. There are about a thousand people who live in Fort Chip. And they've been doing pretty well ever since the town was founded in 1788..." (read article further at: 

Uninhabitability of the oil sands forest)
Not to mention our Indigenous people have been here for thousands, not hundreds, THOUSANDS of years... 

Here are some links related to what she is doing & to create more awareness:

Crystal Lameman-Cardinal's Blog: she will be blogging her experience daily
Crystal Lameman-Cardinal's response to Joe Oliver 
Raven Trustis a charitable organization (with status both in Canada and the US) that provides financial resources to assist Aboriginal Nations within Canada in lawfully forcing industrial development to be reconciled with their traditional ways of life, and in a manner that addresses global warming or other ecological sustainability challenges.
People & Planet
Tar sands Free: People & Planet: on Facebook
Shared Planet 2011: Global Student Action Festival: on Facebook
Truth, Trials and Tar Sands: The Beaver Lake Cree Nation Battle Bug Oil to Save the Boreal
Indigenous people in legal challenge against oil firms over tar sand project
Google: "Beaver Lake & Tar sands" for more information

A First Nations' view on keeping tar sands oil out of Europe
(taken from the Facebook page of Tar Sands Free - People & Planet) 
The Alberta tar sands are the most destructive industrial project on Earth. The UK Government have recently bowed to Canadian Government and industry pressure and are trying to undermine the European Fuel Quality Directive, which would effectively ban tar sands from being sold in Europe.
Beyond their massive C02 emissions, the tar sands industry is also responsible for the ongoing destruction of the food, water and traditionalcultures of countless First Nations peoples in Northern Alberta.

Crystal Lameman-Cardinal and Chance McPherson, two young people from the Beaver Lake Cree Nation, an indigenous community living at the centre of proposed tar sands expansion, will be in the UK to speak about their experiences and challenge the UK’s opposition to the proposed EU tar sands ban.

Come hear firsthand stories about this global issue from some of the people who are living with its realities every day of their lives.

Other speakers to be announced.

This event is Pay What You Can Afford, with all funds supporting People & Planet's 'Tar Sands-Free' campaign.

Crystal and Chance will be speaking in London, Oxford and Birmingham between November 8th and 16th. Visit or email Liam Barrington-Bush at for more information on their trip, or to arrange interviews or media appearances.

This event has been organised by People & Planet, with Greenpeace UK, the UK Tar Sands Network and The Co-operative's Toxic Fuels campaign.

Crystal Lameman-Cardinal and Chance McPherson, two young people from the Beaver Lake Cree Nation, an indigenous community living at the centre of proposed tar sands expansion, will be in the UK to speak about their experiences and challenge the UK’s opposition to the proposed EU tar sands ban.
Come hear firsthand stories about this global issue from some of the people who are living with its realities every day of their lives.
Other speakers to be announced.

This reminds me of an International Indigenous Leadership Gathering (the official site: International Indigenous Leadership Gathering) I went to outside of Lillooet, BC in St'at'imc Lands a few years ago and I was listening to the Indigenous Elders speak.  Many spoke from different nations all over the world but one universal message was that us Alberta Indigenous people need to wake up and be true to ourselves, our people, our children, and our Mother ~ Earth.  They said the effects of the Oil Sands are affecting all of us all over the world, not just those in Alberta.  They said, if any nations are going to affect change and help save us all, it's us Indigenous people located in the province of Alberta.  As I sat there and witnessed the effects when I worked on Traditional Lands, and participated on the Soil Ingestion Project this year, I can confirm this to be a truth.  We need to use the strength of our Treaty, NOT the INDIAN ACT (totally different than our Treaty) to support us.  It says in Treaty #6 that we "shall have right to pursue their avocations of hunting and fishing..."; however, we need a habitat to pursue our Treaty Rights but once the Canadian Government or any other entities affected our rights by destroying or negatively affecting our habitat, prevents us from pursuing our Treaty Right, and they have INFRINGED on that right and broke treaty.  Now remember, they approached us to sign treaty, who is upholding the treaty now?

Crystal's son (please respect & do NOT copy)
~ It's our children, who will inherit the land,
what are we leaving them?
What ever method we choose to try to be true to who we are as Indigenous People, we need to remember to do it in a good way & follow our hearts, the place of our TRUTH!

Now I ask you to ask yourself, Aboriginal Ways of Knowing asks: "What is my responsibility & role in this process?" and Science is now asking through Science-Technology-Society (STS) teaching strategies: "Should we do it?"

We need to remember our fundamental principle  responsibility to make our choices based on affecting Seven Generations ahead...

The Fundamental Treaty Principles
ALL Canadian Historical Treaties: AADNC Copies
Treaty #6: AADNC (formally INAC) Copy
Treaty #6: Includes other historical information
Justice for Aboriginal Peoples
Indigenous Voices for the Future: on Facebook
International Indigenous Leadership Gathering: 3rd Annual Gathering ~ Protecting the Sacred May 30th to June 5th, 2011
Soil Exposure, Dr. Blais's Website & Research: I was part of another project where the data will be released in the summer of 2012
Soil Ingestion Project: I was part of a study through the University of Ottawa & I blogged my experience, here is a blog on the 15th closing day

1 comment:

Brenda Dyck said...

Thank you for this inspiring blog posting, Shannon. Your support of Crystal and your obvious interest in her work will go a long way in giving her the backing that she needs to enter this unfamiliar territory. I will watch Crystal's Blog with interest over the next few weeks.
~ Brenda
Instructor, EDEL 335 ATEP
University of Alberta