Chief Theresa Spence has ended her hunger strike today. Here is the press release issued by her and her supporters:
Daniel Wilson reflects on the legacy of Chief Spence’s hunger strike today on Rabble.ca:
We can help give success a chance, as Chief Spence and Elder Robinson are now doing by allowing the conversation to move on.
We can refuse to criticize the tactics of those who share our goals and, in so doing, keep the focus on the broader struggle.
We can refuse to help tear apart what we are only starting to build.
We can mark the end of the hunger strikes as a celebration of the commitment and sacrifice of those involved, and a reaffirmation that the struggle will continue.
We can stand in unity, for all our relations. And we will learn what that means.
History in the making, in Ottawa yesterday:
“Everything that we do to water, we do to life because water is life. It’s not just us – we are all connected, we have to protect everything that lives, that shares the earth that we do…Idle No More is about us standing up and speaking up. We have never been asleep, and now more than ever we are awake and we are standing up…If we keep waiting for change, it’s never going to come.”
Eleven year old Ta’Kaiya Blaney addresses the crowd at Courtenay, B.C. Idle No More rally at the end of December.
Ta’Kaiya, 10, lives in North Vancouver and is from the Sliammon First Nation. She traveled on the Yinka Dene Alliance Freedom Train that recently crossed Canada to raise awareness of the threat posed By Enbridge’s tar sands pipeline through coastal First Nations territory. Here she is performing a song she wrote, Shallow Waters, at the Freedom Train Solidarity Concert at The Great Hall in Toronto, Ontario Canada last week.
The message from the song “Shallow Waters” is urgent because an oil spill in the northwest coast could tragically end the traditional way of life for many coastal First Nations. It would also devastate all marine and coastal life and habitat.
lle-Máijá Apiniskim Tailfeathers, one of the women arrested this weekend for peacefully protesting the plan to “frack” on Blood Reserve land, released this statement yesterday:
On September 9, 2011, we gathered peacefully on the road leading to a newly built Murphy Oil well on the Blood Reserve. After nearly a year of doing everything in our power to stop hydraulic fracturing from occurring on our land, we felt that time was no longer on our side. With the imminent threat of hydraulic fracturing about to begin on Blood Tribe land, we decided that we had to act immediately. Over the last year, we have written letters and created petitions, we have tried to raise awareness both within our community and beyond including founding Kainai Earth Watch and the Protect Blood Land website, we have repeatedly contacted the Blood Tribe Chief and Council, Kainai Resources Incorporated, the gas and oil companies, the media, the Energy Resources Conservation Board, and various levels of government including Indian and Northern Affairs Canada but still our rights were violated. Countless times, we were told that this was a matter between members of the Blood Tribe and the Blood Tribe Chief and Council. But as members of the Blood Tribe, we were never asked whether or not we wanted these wells built in the first place.
…I do not feel as though what we did was heroic. We were a handful of people, including a couple of children, who gathered for a common purpose; to prevent any further desecration of the land. For us, this place is more than just land; it is the place that has given life to our people since time immemorial. Our culture, our language, our identity comes from the land and it is to the land that we owe our very existence…How can we look our children and grandchildren in the eye and say that we have let such a thing happen? We are nothing without this place
…I want to believe, more than anything, that those behind our arrest knew in their hearts that treating the earth this way is wrong. And I want to believe, more than anything, that their actions were motivated by fear; which may explain our criminal charges of “intimidation”. I look back on the last year and am still in disbelief that it came to this point. From the actual signing of the gas and oil agreement on the Blood Reserve to the arrest and imprisonment of three unarmed Blood Tribe women. It feels much like a bad dream but somehow this is our current reality.
To read the full press release, click here.
Their court date has been set for September 19, 2011 at 10 am at the Provincial Court Building in Cardston, Alberta.
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Archbishop Desmond Tutu, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and seven other Nobel Peace Laureates have just written a letter to President Obama urging him to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, and to begin building a clean energy future immediately. The letter, released yesterday by the Nobel Women’s Initiative, concludes with:
There is a better way.
Your rejection of the pipeline provides a tremendous opportunity to begin transition away from our dependence on oil, coal and gas and instead increase investments in renewable energies and energy efficiency.
We urge you to say ‘no’ to the plan proposed by the Canadian-based company TransCanada to build the Keystone XL, and to turn your attention back to supporting renewable sources of energy and clean transportation solutions. This will be your legacy to Americans and the global community: energy that sustains the lives and livelihoods of future generations.
The Keystone XL Pipeline has become a focus point for citizens concerned about climate change, and who want to offer their children a green energy future. To get more information about why this pipeline is so dangerous, for the aquifers and ecosystem of the midwestern U.S. as well as the climate, click here. If you want to take action for the sake of your children’s future, and mine, go to Tar Sands Action.org. If you are in Canada and can come to Ottawa for the September 26th day of action on Parliament Hill, click here for more information. If you are unable to travel to Ottawa but would like to take a stand for a clean energy future, participate (or organize) a Moving Planet event in your community on September 24th. The message of Moving Planet is that, around the world, people are ready to move beyond fossil fuels. In case you need more inspiration, check out this video:
Xavier Kataquapit is originally from Attawapiskat, Ontario on the James Bay coast. In his popular newspaper column, Under the Northern Sky, he writes about his experiences as a First Nation Cree person. In April he wrote this column, Shape Up Or Ship Out, about how global warming is already affecting the north. Here is an excerpt; to read the whole article, go to Wawatay News.
Everywhere I travel these days, I feel the effects of global warming. Weather patterns are changing, ice caps are melting, glaciers are receding and it is all becoming very obvious.
I first started hearing about a change in climate from some of the Elders from up the James Bay coast about 20 years ago. More recently, I have learned through news from the worldwide scientific community that a phenomenon such as global warming is upon us.
Although there is a debate happening with opposition to this concept being fuelled by big corporations, most reasonable people have accepted that global warming is the result of human-caused pollution.
There are so many ramifications of global warming.
Changes in weather and temperatures, even though they don’t seem critical, can have great effect on wildlife. This means that my people the Cree and the Aboriginal people of northern Canada will be facing changes in our traditions and culture as it relates to our relationship to the land and animals.
Already, we see the polar bear populations being affected as well as changes in the annual goose migration. The shorter winter freeze is also affecting my people’s ability to travel in the North.
In colder months, we make great use of the frozen landscape to move about and a winter road connects communities up the James Bay coast. With the change in climate the winter road is going in later and thawing sooner every year.
Many in the corporate world and some in government are doing their best to discredit the scientists, writers and educators who are trying to alert us to this crisis of global warming. That sounds like a nasty thing to do but it is not the first time this form of denial has been encouraged.
…It is easy to feel helpless with such enormous issues like global warming but we can have a voice...Our future depends on it.
Woodland Caribou Provincial Park is a wilderness park located between Red Lake, Ontario and the Manitoba border. As Ontario’s 5th largest provincial park, covering 1.2 million acres (that’s 486,235 hectares) it offers over 1,600 kilometres of canoe routes over historic waterways. In Woodland Caribou, you can paddle the fur trade routes of the Hudson Bay and Northwest Companies, see ancient pictographs, and – if you are lucky – catch a glimpse of the caribou that give the park its name.
We are lucky enough to live in Red Lake, so Woodland Caribou is on our doorstep. This blog is going unattended for the next couple of days while we take a fossil-fuel free holiday in the amazing Canadian boreal forest. See you next week!
If you’d like to see more pictures from our 2010 Woodland Caribou adventure, go to Trippin’ With A TreeHugger.
What a week it has been! With the backdrop of the verging-on-farcical U.S. debt credit crisis brought on by the tea-baggers in Washington, and the pieing of Rupert Murdoch, a whole lot has been going on the global warming front, and not just the extreme weather events. Here’s a few highlights:
- In a historic decision, the U.N. Security Council billed climate change as a global threat to peace and security. To read more, click here.
- For a good review of the extreme weather events around the U.S. and their link to climate change, check out More Scientists See Climate Change In Today’s Extreme Weather Events.
- And the Harper government’s muzzling of Fisheries Department scientist Kristi Miller made into onto the American Association of Advancement of Science’s radar this week: Canadian Fish Scientist “Muzzled” By Government.
- And that’s not all, on the Harper government/climate change front. Alykhan Velshi, Jason Kenney’s right-hand man until a few months ago, has changed from Kenney’s PR guy to the fossil fuel industry’s champion. Velshi is now running ethicaloil.org, a website which proclaims Canada’s tar sands bitumen is the only righteous oil in the world. Sounds like a heroin addict defiantly asserting that he only buys his heroin from the nicest dealers while injecting himself. Read more at Canadian Campaign Puts The Spin on “Ethical” Oil.
- This past Tuesday, young climate activist Tim DeChristopher was sentenced to two years in U.S. federal prison and a $10,000 fine for “disrupting” a Bureau of Land Management auction in the dying days of the Bush administration. The auction was later declared illegal, but federal prosecutors chose to make an example of DeChristopher to discourage other activists from engaging in acts of civil disobedience. I don’t think it had the effect that those in power hoped! DeChristopher, who has conducted himself with dignity and integrity throughout this gruelling experience, had the opportunity to address the court and the judge before his sentence was announced. Here are excerpts from his inspiring statement to the court after his sentencing (fyi, BLM stands for Bureau of Land Management):
Mr Huber claims that the seriousness of my offense was that I “obstructed lawful government proceedings.” But the auction in question was not a lawful proceeding. I know you’ve heard another case about some of the irregularities for which the auction was overturned…A federal judge in Montana ruled last year that the BLM was in constant violation of this law throughout the Bush administration. In all the proceedings and debates about this auction, no apologist for the government or the BLM has ever even tried to claim that the BLM followed this law. In both the December 2008 auction and the creation of the Resource Management Plan on which this auction was based, the BLM did not even attempt to follow this law.
And this law is not a trivial regulation about crossing t’s or dotting i’s to make some government accountant’s job easier. This law was put into effect to mitigate the impacts of catastrophic climate change and defend a livable future on this planet. This law was about protecting the survival of young generations. That’s kind of a big deal. It’s a very big deal to me. If the government is going to refuse to step up to that responsibility to defend a livable future, I believe that creates a moral imperative for me and other citizens. My future, and the future of everyone I care about, is being traded for short term profits. I take that very personally. Until our leaders take seriously their responsibility to pass on a healthy and just world to the next generation, I will continue this fight.
The reality is not that I lack respect for the law; it’s that I have greater respect for justice. Where there is a conflict between the law and the higher moral code that we all share, my loyalty is to that higher moral code. I know Mr Huber disagrees with me on this. He wrote that “The rule of law is the bedrock of our civilized society, not acts of ‘civil disobedience’ committed in the name of the cause of the day.” That’s an especially ironic statement when he is representing the United States of America, a place where the rule of law was created through acts of civil disobedience. Since those bedrock acts of civil disobedience by our founding fathers, the rule of law in this country has continued to grow closer to our shared higher moral code through the civil disobedience that drew attention to legalized injustice. The authority of the government exists to the degree that the rule of law reflects the higher moral code of the citizens, and throughout American history, it has been civil disobedience that has bound them together.
…The truth is that my intention, then as now, was to expose, embarrass and hold accountable the oil industry to the extent that it cuts into the $100 billion in annual profits that it makes through exploitation. I actually intended for my actions to play a role in the wide variety of actions that steer the country toward a clean energy economy where those $100 billion in oil profits are completely eliminated.
…As I actually stated in the trial, my intent was to shine a light on a corrupt process and get the government to take a second look at how this auction was conducted.
…Those who are inspired to follow my actions are those who understand that we are on a path toward catastrophic consequences of climate change. They know their future, and the future of their loved ones, is on the line. And they know were are running out of time to turn things around. The closer we get to that point where it’s too late, the less people have to lose by fighting back. The power of the Justice Department is based on its ability to take things away from people. The more that people feel that they have nothing to lose, the more that power begins to shrivel. The people who are committed to fighting for a livable future will not be discouraged or intimidated by anything that happens here today. And neither will I. I will continue to confront the system that threatens our future. Given the destruction of our democratic institutions that once gave citizens access to power, my future will likely involve civil disobedience. Nothing that happens here today will change that. I don’t mean that in any sort of disrespectful way at all, but you don’t have that authority. You have authority over my life, but not my principles. Those are mine alone.
I’m not saying any of this to ask you for mercy, but to ask you to join me…With countless lives on the line, this is what love looks like, and it will only grow. The choice you are making today is what side are you on.
To read Tim’s full statement, go to Peaceful Uprising.org. If you consider his imprisonment to be your call to action to build a secure future for your children, 350.org is asking each of us to stand up and help defuse the largest carbon bomb on the planet. Go to 350.org-take-a-stand for more. Or go to Peaceful Uprising for more ideas. Here’s Sandra Steinbrenner, mother, biologist, and cancer survivor, speaking after Tim’s sentencing: