First Nations Women Arrested For Protesting Hydraulic Fracking On Their Land, Charged with “Intimidation”

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.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OM2D2PDKORI]

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.

For donations, please contact:

Ingrid Hess, Barrister
ingrid.hess@shaw.ca
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