Indigenous people level a crushing blow to U.S. funded anti-oil sands campaign

This post greenwash from the Edmonton Journal is a good example of Alberta media ignoring the implications of extending the tar sands ecocide.

Iron Coalition, co-led by Chief Tony Alexis (pictured) of the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation, is urging all First Nations and Métis communities in Alberta to sign an exclusivity agreement to join its bid to secure ownership of the pipeline. LEAH HENNEL/POSTMEDIA

There’s been big moments in the history of Canada oil and gas before. The Leduc oil strike of 1947 and the development of the Fort McMurray oilsands come to mind.

But we could be witnessing one more seismic shift.

Dozens of Indigenous groups are turning forcefully against the anti-pipeline agenda of Greenpeace and other U.S.-funded green and social justice groups.

Indigenous leaders are organizing support for oil and gas development on reserves and in communities. Indigenous men and women work in big numbers in the oil-and-gas sector and are now also running, owning and partnering in oil-and-gas companies. Indigenous leaders are speaking out in the media and at federal hearings in favour of pipelines.

And now they’re aiming what could be a killer blow to the anti-oilsands campaign, a move that would see substantial First Nations ownership of new pipelines to the B.C. coast, starting with the Trans Mountain expansion, which got federal approval this week.

At least two major groups, the Iron Coalition and Project Reconciliation, seek to bring together hundreds of First Nation communities across Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan to purchase TMX, which the Trudeau Liberals bought for $4.5 billion one year ago.

The two groups are greatly encouraged by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s openness to First Nations ownership. “When it comes to potential Indigenous buy-in, we’re not putting a limit on it,” Trudeau said on Tuesday, saying it could be anywhere from 25 to 100 per cent.

“It’s a game-changer for Indigenous people to acquire ownership of an asset that’s going to make money for communities,” said Iron Coalition co-chair Tony Alexis, Chief of Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation.

The Iron Coalition is mandated by the Assembly of Treaty Chiefs in Alberta to put together this deal. It would put all profits back into First Nations and Metis communities.

When the Trans Mountain was first built in the 1950s, it went through Indigenous land but the hunters, trappers and fishermen who lived there got zero benefit, Alexis said. That must change. “We’re now in that place where we’re making our own path. We’re going to create revenues for ourselves. We’re going subsidize our programs and services.”

Some coastal B.C. First Nations oppose the pipeline, but Alexis said his hope is B.C. chiefs will form a similar group, which will then join with his group to negotiate with the federal government. MORE