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First Nations Demand Canada Reject Teck Frontier Mine During Double Protest At COP 25

Press Release Tuesday, December 10, 2019


First Nations Demand Canada Reject Teck Frontier Mine During Double Protest In Madrid, Spain

Madrid, Spain - Two symbolic protests were held in the city of Madrid, Spain yesterday. In the morning at the Canadian embassy and later in the day, inside the COP 25 UN Climate negotiations. The protests were led by Indigenous youth and elders with the support of Indigenous Climate Action and their partners from across Canada and the USA. At the Canadian embassy in the morning, the group held ceremonies, prayer, and rallied participants to add their voices to a long list demanding Canada reject the Teck Frontier mine, the biggest proposed surface mine ever in the history of the Alberta tar sands. A report released last week by 17 research and campaigning organizations used oil and gas industry projections to show that Canada will be one of the worst violators of the Paris Agreement if it expands its oil and gas extraction as planned, second only to the United States. Rejecting the Teck Frontier Mine is an important first step the federal government can take to ensure a safe climate future.

This morning at the Madrid Canadian embassy, representative of the Dene Nation, Elder Francois Paulette declared that all thirty three First Nations of the Dene Nation including his home community of Fort Smith Landing are unified in their opposition to the Teck Frontier mine and any further expansion of the Alberta tar sands.

“My First Nation the Smith Landing First Nation in Alberta, we outright opposed the teck project. Its 30 km south of Wood Buffalo National Park. This project did not consult with us, their report did not include Indigenous peoples traditional knowledge. As long as traditional knowledge of First Nations is missing from your report, you are missing the most important part of our relationship with Mother Earth, so do your homework before you build projects that are going to destroy yourself and the Earth.” Elder Francois Paulette, Representative of the Dene Nation and Smith Landing First Nation.

Ta’kaiya Blaney and Kalilah Rampanen, two First Nations youth from west coast First Nations, Tla A'min and Nuučaan̓uł spoke outside of the embassy. Rampanen performed a powerful song about protecting the land and spoke to her Cree heritage from the tar sands region and how hard it is for her to have to be fighting the Teck Mine as her Grandmother started the tar sands healing walk which she experienced when she was a child.

“Our actions have been against Teck Frontier and all associated pipelines. It is unacceptable that Canada is pushing narratives around reconciliation while simultaneously pushing these projects through our lands, right now in Canada land defenders and water protectors are being forcibly removed from their lands to make way for these projects by armed forces. Canada is responsible to the land it has stolen, responsible to the climate it has disregarded over profit, so we as Indigenous youth are here to say climate leadership must be Indigenous led, our way of stewarding land needs to be respected. We need to reject teck. '' Ta'kaiya Blaney, Member of Tla'amin Nation.

The Teck Frontier Mine has already received a recommendation for approval from the oil industry dominated, Federal Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA). The CEAA review found that the project would directly impact the treaty rights of First Nations in the region and would also be devastating to both the ecosystem and endangered species like the Wood Buffalo and the whooping Crane. Indigenous Climate Action supported a delegation of frontline Indigenous youth to attend the UN Climate negotiations to pressure Canada and the Minister for Environment and Climate Change Wilkenson to meet Canada’s legal obligations to both the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Paris Agreement climate targets. Approving Teck would make this impossible.

“The largest tar sands mine on the planet is being proposed in my peoples territory right now, it will impact the woodland buffalo, the last remaining wild whooping cranes on the planet and many of the animals my people rely on for food. Aside from the detrimental impacts it will have on my peoples food security, treaty rights and water, It will add 6.1 million megatons of carbon annually to the atmosphere. We must force Canada to reject teck.” Eriel Deranger, Executive Director, Indigenous Climate Action.

Inside the UN Climate negotiations in the afternoon, a second reject teck protest supported by Indigenous Climate Action took place.

“This Teck Frontier mine is going to be a complete carbon bomb on Mother Earth, if Teck Frontier is built we will see the world begin to unravel. This is why we are here at COP 25 and this is why we have to reject Teck.” Said Nigel Henry Robinison, Indigenous Climate Action Youth Delegation Lead and member of Cold Lake Dene Nation.

Indigenous Climate Action will be in attendance at COP 25 in Madrid, Spain for the second week of COP 25 to put Canada on watch over its climate denialism and suppression of Indigenous rights to our lands, waters and air for profit. Indigenous Climate Action is calling on all peoples, social movements and governments to join us in telling Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his newly minted Environment and Climate Minister Wilkenson to reject Teck Frontier on February 20, 2020 the date the government has set to announce their decision.


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