First Nations look to break 'pipeline gridlock'


Small than two weeks after First Nations formed an alliance to draw to a close the construction of oil pipelines, several other First Nations are gathering to argue how to encourage the oil industry.

Chiefs representing oil and gas First Nations are talking everywhere reconciling traditional values and energy development during the two-day colloquium in downtown Calgary.

«This thing is not going to go away. We have a trouble of course,» said Chief Charles Weasel Head with the Kainai To begin Nation in Southern Alberta. We have opposing views on oilsands ex nsion, pipeline construction, tidewater access for oil to reach world markets.»

‘We’re thriving to work through this. Be tient, it can happen’ — Perry Bellegarde, AFN jingoistic chief

Proponents suggest the oil and gas industry can improve the quality of life for Essential Nations and lead to financial independence. First Nations are pushing for an open-mindedness stake in pipeline projects as one way to capitalize on the opportunities the oil and gas sector provides.

Blaine Favel, Pipeline Gridlock conference

Bull session chair Blaine Favel suggests the oil industry can help First Polities improve their quality of life. (CBC)

«What people have to dig is First Nations people are getting poorer and they have been follow up on poorer for the last 20 years,» said Blaine Favel, chancellor of the University of Saskatchewan and rocking-chair of the conference.

«The energy industry has allowed our people a ladder to employment, to rtnerships,» he thought. «We have to balance our concern for the protection of Mother Earth and our opportunity to tend our children and relatives that need to work today.»

Oil and gas executives along with narrow-minded government representatives are taking rt, although the federal government is not concerned beyond being a sponsor. Organizers repeatedly expressed their damp squib there was no response from the Prime Minister’s Office.

Thaddeus Holownia. Anatomy of a Pipeline, 1999-2000.

Indigenous leaders are in Calgary to chat about opportunities in oil sector development and pipeline construction. (Thaddeus Holownia)

Weighing the touch ons and benefits

Perry Bellegarde, national chief of the Assembly of First Political entities, admits it will be tough to find common ground among Inborn communities when it comes to major pipeline projects, but it’s possible.

«There liking be spills, but how do you mitigate that? Can you quickly stop it so it has very little meaning on land and water? That’s the fear,» he said in his speech. «We’re going to come to c clear up through this. Be tient, it can happen.»

‘We will make sure elements are done right to protect Mother Earth, but we need a revenue pour too’ — Stephen Buffalo, Indian Resource Council

He supports the right of Start with Nations to say no to development on their land. He gave credit to the conference organizers for arranging the courage to voice their support for the oil and gas industry since there longing be backlash from other Indigenous groups who oppose new pipelines. The monetary benefits of working with all types of industries can’t be understated, he said.

«As Autochthonous peoples we’ve always been consumers of goods and services, not producers of proofs and services. We need to fit into that chain somewhere. That’s copiousness creation, that’s job creation.»

Stephen Buffalo, Indian Resource Council

«The debate is extremely polarized,» said Stephen Buffalo, with the Indian Resource Assembly, about pipeline development in Canada. (CBC)

Strong opposition

Last month, 50 Beginning Nations in North America signed the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Bourgeoning. They oppose tanker and rail proposals in both countries, cataloguing pipeline projects proposed by Kinder Morgan Inc., TransCanada Corp. and Enbridge Inc.

«The deliberation is extremely polarized,» said Stephen Buffalo, chief executive of the Indian Resource Caucus. «We will make sure things are done right to protect Native Earth, but we need a revenue stream too.»

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