A coalition of aboriginal leaders has drawn a line in the oilsands and has warned of a “long, hot summer” ahead in the group’s fight against the government’s resource development agenda.
First Nations leaders from Canada and the United States held a press conference in Ottawa on Wednesday to warn of impending action to challenge further oilsands development and pipeline proposals that include Keystone XL, Northern Gateway, and the Kinder Morgan plan in B.C.
“It is not just a First Nation problem,” said Chief Rueben George of the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation, located north of Vancouver. “We as a nation have to wake up.”
George said First Nations believe the land is sacred and there are grave environmental concerns to take into account. They also said proposing pipelines through their territorial land violates treaties.
The leaders, who represented 10 First Nations with territories in proximity to the oilsands and proposed pipeline routes, said aboriginals across North America are coming together like never before.
Phil Lane Jr. of American Yankton Sioux said groups south of the border will fight to “stop these pipelines one way or another.”
“It’s going to be a long, hot summer,” added Chief Allan Adam of Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation in Alberta.
The leaders didn’t specify what action was planned, but hinted at further Idle-No-More-type blockades as well as legal battles.
The U.S. administration is still reviewing the Keystone XL pipeline, which would ship Alberta crude to the Texas Gulf Coast.
Environmentalists on both sides of the border have rallied against the proposal.