OTTAWA, Oct. 18, 2013 /CNW/ - The Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou
Istchee) unconditionally supports the Elsipogtog First Nation in
exercising their aboriginal and human rights and categorically condemns
the use of force by the RCMP to prevent the exercise of those rights.
The Elsipogtog First Nation was raising legitimate concerns about the
environmental impacts of shale gas fracking which could have serious
and negative impacts on its traditional territory and the health of its
citizens. The environmental issues associated with shale gas fracking
are far from clear. To raise concerns and to insist on an appropriate
forum for airing these concerns is the proper things to do in a
democratic society. Instead, the Elsipogtog First Nation was met with
pepper spray, rubber bullets and arrest.
Both the rights of assembly and protest in a democratic society, and
more profoundly, the aboriginal right to informed consent prior to
commencing any projects affecting the traditional territories of
aboriginal peoples, have been violated.
Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come stated: "At a time in Canada's history
when the intensified search for natural resources presents an
opportunity for this country to address fundamental aboriginal concerns
in an honourable and dignified way, the decision to meet the concerns
of the Elsipogtog First Nation with brute force is shameful. There is
another path, a path of authentic dialogue, reconciliation and
inclusion, which is the only honourable way to move forward. To miss
this historic opportunity will be disastrous for Canada. The response
to the Elsipogtog First Nation sends a very provocative and ill-advised
message to aboriginal peoples across the country."
This gross abrogation of fundamental human rights to free assembly and
the disregard for aboriginal rights, coming at the conclusion of the
visit to Canada by the UN's Special Rapporteur on the Rights of
Indigenous Peoples, James Anaya, can be interpreted as a direct
response by this government to the conclusions of the Special
Rapporteur on aboriginal human rights issues, and his reminders of the
importance of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
SOURCE: Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee)
For further information:
Bill Namagoose, Executive Director
Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee)
Cellular: (613) 725-7024