RAVEN - Respecting Aboriginal Values and Environmental Needs

September 2016 Media advisory

TREATY 8 JUSTICE FOR THE PEACE CARAVAN WANTS PRIME MINISTER TRUDEAU TO KEEP HIS PROMISES TO FIRST NATIONS

On September 12, the Federal Court of Appeal in Montreal will hear the latest legal challenge to the massive Site C hydroelectric dam already under construction on Treaty 8 territory in northeast British Columbia.

First Nations community members from Treaty 8 are setting out today to travel by bus across Canada to focus attention of the importance of this case to the rights of all treaty nations and to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s promised new relationship with First Nations.

The Justice for the Peace caravan is endorsed by the Assembly of First Nations British Columbia, the First Nations Leadership Summit, and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.

What’s at stake:

•  Are governments in Canada accountable to spirit and intent of historic treaties when making decisions about large-scale resource development project?

•  What did Justin Trudeau really mean when he promised to respect treaty rights and uphold the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples?

Timetable

Sept. 5: Justice for the Peace Caravan leaves Fort St. John, BC

Sept 6-11: Hosted by treaty nations across Canada, including in Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg

Sept 12: Court hearing in Montreal

Sept 13: Caravan arrives in Ottawa celebrate anniversary of UN adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

For the media:

The following individuals are available for interview throughout the journey:

Chief Roland Willson, West Moberly First Nations, 1-250-783-0733

Chief Lynette Tsakoza, Prophet River First Nation, 1-250-775-1124

Helen Knott, spokesperson for the Caravan, 1-250-280-2277

Photos and video from the journey will be available at: nosite-c.com

Follow the Caravan on facebook: www.facebook.com/justiceforthepeacecaravan

garth

BACKGROUND

Our people, the Prophet River and West Moberly First Nations, have been fighting the Site C hydroelectric dam project for close to five decades. The massive dam threatens to flood three of the largest rivers in our territory: the Peace, Moberly, and Halfway Rivers. Over 107 kilometers of these river valleys and their tributaries could be under water. This is land we rely on to hunt, fish and hold ceremonies. Our ancestors are buried here.

In 2014, the federal and provincial governments approved construction of the dam despite the fact that their own environmental impact assessment process found that it would cause serious, irreparable harm to First Nations use of our traditional lands. This is of urgent concern to our communities because of the historical and sacred importance of this land and because so much of the rest of our traditional territory has already been disrupted by massive, ongoing oil and gas development, mining, logging and the construction of two previous large dams on the Peace River.

While the federal and provincial governments claim to have respected our rights, they deliberately chose to ignore the question of whether construction of the dam was compatible with their legal obligations under Treaty 8 and the Constitutional protection of Aboriginal and Treaty rights.

Preparation for construction of the dam has proceeded at a breakneck pace since July 2015 while legal challenges by First Nations and local landowners work their way through the court system.

On September 12, 2016, we will be in Montreal in the Federal Court of Appeal to challenge the Canada’s project approval. We are challenging whether Canada is justified in approving projects without undertaking their own analysis and determination on infringement of Treaty rights. The implications of the case are far reaching, especially for other Treaty First Nations.

Additionally, many characterize the Site C dam as a litmus test of the commitment’s made by Canada to have a renewed, nation-to-nation relationship with First Nations; a respectful relationship that honours Treaties and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Day 1 Monday, September 5, 2016 (Peace River to Edmonton)

Peace River Treaty 8 Justice for the Peace Caravan Launch Event Boon Residence, Bear Flat, Peace River Valley,

•  9:00am to 10:00am

•  Prayer, drumming, round dance (TBC) and speeches

•  Speakers:

-Prayer provided by local Elder

-Caravan Representatives

-West Moberly & Prophet River leadership

-Ken & Arlene Boon

-MP Romeo Saganash

Day 2 Tuesday, September 6, 2016 (Edmonton to Saskatoon)

Edmonton Public Solidarity Event Provincial Legislature, Edmonton, AB

• 8:00am to 10:00am

•  Water Ceremony

•  Prayer provided by local Elder

•  Welcome by local First Nations

•  Round Dance & Media Interviews

Saskatoon Public Solidarity Event Victoria Park Saskatoon, Sask.

• 6 pm – 8:45 pm

•  welcome to Territory

•  prayer for water, land and people

•  “Rainbow Friendship Round Dance” in solidarity with Treaty 8 Peace Tour

•  poetry readings

•  closing prayer

Day 3 Wednesday, September 7, 2016 (Saskatoon to Winnipeg)

Travel day, caravan participants available for media interviews by phone

Day 4 Thursday, September 8, 2016 (Winnipeg)

Public solidarity events TBD

Day 5 Friday, September 9, 2016 (Winnipeg to Thunder Bay)

Thunder Bay Welcoming to Thunder Bay Location (TBC) Thunder Bay, Ont.

• 5pm to 6:00pm

•  Welcome by local supporters

•  Interviews with local media

Day 6 Saturday, September 10, 2016 (Thunder Bay to Sault Ste. Marie)

Public solidarity events TBD

Day 7 Sunday, September 11, 2016 (Sault Ste. Marie to Montreal)

Travel day, caravan participants available for media interviews by phone

Day 8 Monday, September 12, 2016 – Federal Court of Appeal hearing

(Montreal)

Peaceful Rally Federal Court of Appeal, 30 McGill St. Montreal, QC

• 8:30-9:30

•  Drumming and ceremony

•  Speakers:

-Welcoming by First Nation elders and leaders

-Prophet River First Nation and West Moberly First Nations Leadership

Court Proceedings Federal Court of Appeal, 30 McGill St. Montreal, QC

Starting 9:30

Day 9 Tuesday, September 13, 2016 Anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Rally on Parliament Hill Parliament Hill Ottawa, Ont.

• 10:30 am to 11:30 am

•  Welcome to the Algonquin Nation by Claudette Commanda

•  Drumming and round dance

•  Statements by caravan participants and supporting organizations

•  Group photo with solidarity messages, petitions, postcards and other demonstrations of national support for Treaty 8 struggle

Press Conference Parliament Hill Ottawa, Ont.

• 11:00

•  Charles Lynch Press Room, Centre Block, Parliament Building

•  Chief Roland Willson plus supporters

Public Panel University of Ottawa + Live Webcast Ottawa, Ont.

• 1 pm – 2:30 pm

•  “Keeping the Promise: Treaty Rights, the UN Declaration and the Site C Dam”

-Chief Roland Willson, West Moberly First Nations (TBC)

-Allisun Rana, Rana Law

-Additional expert speakers on the UN Declaration and Treaty rights

Community Feast

• 5-7 pm

•  St. Paul’s-Eastern United Church, 90 Daly Ave

Get news from RAVEN by email.