Video - Tar Sands
Truth, Trials and Tar Sands: The Beaver Lake Cree Nation Battle Big Oil to Save the Boreal from Susan Smitten on Vimeo.
Chief Al Lameman of the Beaver Lake Cree Nation and Jack Woodward, pre-eminent authority on Aboriginal law in Canada, speak to a full house on Salt Spring Island about the need to tackle the tar sands if we are going to really be effective in the fight against climate change.
After viewing a film by Alan Bibby entitled Liquid Truth, Chief Lameman describes with heartbreaking honesty how his people can no longer make a traditional way of life in their home territory: "Sometimes you lie awake at night and you think about it...you think this is the end."
The Beaver Lake Cree recently decided that enough is enough and this is where lawyer Jack Woodward comes in. His law firm, Woodward & Company, currently represents this small nation from Lac La Biche, Alberta in a lawsuit against both the federal and Alberta governments. The legal action claims "The cumulative impacts of tar sands developments are destroying their treaty rights."
In the 1870s, the people of the Beaver Lake area signed Treaty 6, giving up their traditional land in return for the promise that they could continue to live off the land as they had always done. According to Jack Woodward, the Canadian and Alberta governments are currently breaking this promise.
In Jack's talk, he describes the imminent threat of the massive expansion of the tar sands, explaining that if the expansion continues, the tar sands developments (currently the size of Florida) will wreak destruction on the great boreal forest - the largest carbon sink in the world.
Currently, Alberta's tar sands are the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada and the greatest obstacle to Canada meeting its global climate change responsibilities.
Should the tiny Beaver Lake Cree community of 900 prove victorious, tar sands expansion projects would be forced to stop. Jack Woodward's point is that the only sure way to halt the ecologically disastrous expansion is legally, through dealing with Aboriginal treaty rights that are protected under the Canadian Constitution.
"Only the Indigenous treaty peoples of Alberta have the legal power to curtail the reckless behaviour of the wealthiest, most powerful industries on the planet."
Please consider donating to support the Beaver Lake Cree Nation in this monumental task!
VIDEO: Link to Former Chief Al Lameman speaking in Edinburgh September 17, 2010 as part of a tour organized by the Cooperative Bank. Chief Lameman speaks of his people's brave fight to stop the expansion of the tar sands industries.
NEW VIDEO FROM TOXIC FUELS CAMPAIGN - on Youtube - explains the tar sands and Beaver Lake Cree legal action in five minutes!
VIDEO: Link to Donald and Christine Twin, speaking about the effects of the tar sands on wildlife, their way of life and the land. Part of the Cooperative Banks Toxic Fuels Campaign.