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The Yinka Dene Alliance, a group of British Columbia First Nations...


Compiled by Debora Steel







The Yinka Dene Alliance, a group of British Columbia First Nations that has used its laws to ban the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipelines and tankers in their territories, announced April 24 that it will embark on a “Freedom Train” journey beginning April 30. The goal is to protect their rights and their freedom from the threat of oil spills. The journey starts at Jasper in Alberta and ends May 9 in Toronto where Enbridge’s corporate leaders will be attending an annual shareholders meeting. “Our journey on this Freedom Train is to build on the support from the people of Canada for the protection of our traditional lands. We will stand firm against all industries like Enbridge that are planning to destroy the environment and the future of all peoples,” said Chief Martin Louie of Nadleh Whut’en First Nation, a member of the Yinka Dene Alliance. “We need a healthy environment to ensure a healthy future for our children.” The Freedom Train is expected to be greeted by demonstrations of support as it stops in major cities across the country. About 40 First Nations people from at least 10 different nations will be traveling. Additional First Nations representatives will join the train journey along the way, and more are expected to participate in events in cities along the route. The Freedom Train will stop for feasts, ceremonies, rallies and events in Edmonton, Saskatoon and Winnipeg before arriving in Toronto. In Toronto there will be two days of events, including a concert, rally, march and the attendance of First Nations representatives at Enbridge’s Annual General Meeting on May 9. “We’re travelling across Canada to tell Enbridge that they will not be permitted to build their pipelines through our lands, period,” said Chief Jackie Thomas of Saik’uz First Nation. “The fight against Enbridge is a fight for our freedom to govern ourselves and to choose our own future. We will not accept the government imposing a decision on us and forcing this pipeline through our lands.”