APTN National News
An anti-pipeline Indigenous treaty alliance on Monday issued a call for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to condemn Enbridge Inc.’s role in the Dakota Access Pipeline project which is facing fierce resistance from Native Americans in North Dakota.
The Treaty Alliance, which was formed to oppose oil pipeline projects in Canada, says it now has 85 First Nations and Tribes signed up to support the cause.
The group said in a statement it wants Trudeau to weigh in on the situation unfolding near the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota where Native American-led demonstrations against the Dakota Access Pipeline have faced heavy police and National Guard actions against their protests.
“It is time for the prime minister, who has stated that no relationship is more important to him than the one with Indigenous peoples, to take a stand in support of the rights of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and allied nations as they resist the Dakota access pipeline,” said Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Derek Nepinak, in the statement. “We are talking about a Canadian company committing severe human rights violations and some of its victims are brave water protectors and land defenders from First Nations up north.”
The statement said Enbridge, through its Enbridge Energy Partners, owns a $1.5 billion or 27.6 per cent share of the Dakota Access pipeline. The pipeline is slated to ship fracked oil from the Bakken fields in North Dakota.
The pipeline would cross beneath the Missouri River, which the Standing Rock Tribe says threatens the region’s water and construction has also destroyed burial sites and sacred areas, according to the tribe.
“There is a battle being waged across the globe by Indigenous people and their allies demanding a safe world for future generations. This about water versus oil, life versus death,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. “It is time to choose Mr. Prime Minister—to be silent is to be complicit.”
However, Trudeau supported a previous U.S. oil pipeline—the Keystone XL pipeline—which was set to cross through South Dakota. That pipeline faced widespread opposition from Native American groups including the seven tribes of the Lakota Nation.
The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama rejected the Keystone XL pipeline.
The Obama administration also stopped work on the Dakota Access Pipeline around the Missouri River and asked the company behind the project to stop construction within a large buffer zone. Energy Transfer Partners, the main firm behind the project, chose to continue construction.