First Nation gains support from rock star for fight against government and oil sands project expansion

From Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Draw a line in the Sand


First Concert a Success

January 13, 2014

The First tour date went off without a hitch and Chief Adam is currently on the tour bus with Neil Young and the crew to the next location in Winnipeg.

For Regular updates from the road check out @ACFNChallenge on Twitter

Check out the photos from the kick off day here

While the coverage of the event and the press conference has been great, we feel that too much of the emphasis has been put on an "Anti-Oilsands" debate rather then the intent of the tour, which is Honour the Treaties.

The ACFN's legal challenges and struggles are not rooted in attacking a single project or operator, but rather rooted in the struggle to protect and preserve our constitional and Treaty rights.  It just so happens that our Nation and our rights are being disrupted by one the largest industrial project on the planet, that also contributes to wide spread environmental destruction.

The ACFN maintains a position of NOT being anti-development, but rather we are fighting to acheive responsible and just relationships, governance, development and economies.  TheElders Declaration signed in 2010 clearly states we do not want ANY development in the protection zone.  It would not matter if it was tar sands, pipelines, uranium, hydro, fracking, or any other resource development project.  This area is crtical to our cultural and Treaty rights survival and therefore is non-negotiable unless our rights can be guaranteed to be not be affected and we are adequately and meaningful consulted.

The Jackpine Mine Expansion project clearly does not safeguard our rights and lands and we are challenging it based on the numerous violations of our treaty rights. 

Yesterday, Chief Allan Adam announced on the Press Panel with Neil Young, David Suzuki, Eriel Deranger and Andrew Weaver that the ACFN has recently filed for a Federal  review of the recent decision made by the Crown to allow the approval of the Shell Jackpine Mine Expansion project.

Please read attached summary of the the grounds of our filing HERE.

The ACFN remains unsatisfied with the Crown's response to consultation and accommodation with the First Nation and address the extensive concerns the we brought forward before, during and after the public review process.  The Crown has a constitutional duty to consult and accommodate the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation with the intention of substantially addressing the impacts of the Project to ACFN's Aboriginal and Treaty rights.  Something the Nation feels has not happened.

We thank Neil for standing beside us we try to ensure that the rights of not just our Nation, but all First Nations, are respected and upheld by the Canadian government.

The federal government often creates the optic they are honouring the Treaties but we feel that it's full of empty promises and gestures no differnt then what our ancestors experienced. We hope that one day Canada and the Crown will fully live up to it's duty to Honour the Treaties.



Neil Young blasts oilsands expansion, launches fundraising tour

4 concerts to fund First Nations legal fight against oilsands projects

Posted: Jan 12, 2014

Neil Young launches benefit tour

Neil Young launches benefit tour 3:55

First Nation chief on oilsands fight

First Nation chief on oilsands fight 8:20

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Canadian rocker Neil Young blasted the Canadian government, saying it's "completely out of control" when it come to the environment and oilsands expansion, as he kicked off his Honour the Treaties tour in Toronto today.

The singer, speaking to reporters before his Massey Hall concert, said he supports First Nations in their fight against expanding oilsands projects in Alberta because of their destructive impact on the environment.

"I see a government completely out of control, and money is number one. Integrity isn't even on the map," he said.

Young said he toured one of 50 oilsands sites with his son and was shocked at "the ugliest thing I've ever seen. It's the greediest, most destructive and most disrespectful demonstration of something that has run amok."

A spokesman from the Prime Minister's Office defended Canada's natural resource sector, saying it is a fundamental part of the country's economy.

"Even the lifestyle of a rock star relies, to some degree, on the resources developed by thousands of hard-working Canadians every day," Jason MacDonald said in a statement.

"Our government recognizes the importance of developing resources responsibly and sustainably and we will continue to ensure that Canada's environmental laws and regulations are rigorous," MacDonald added.

A spokesperson from Shell Canada said that company staff and senior leaders meet regularly to deal with aboriginal communities to discuss projects, training, business opportunities and cultural activities.

"I'm sure our folks at the mine will continue to buy the albums, but we believe this is about long term constitutional conversations, and corporations are only one part of that," said David Williams of Shell Canada.

After his Massey Hall show, which will also feature Canadian jazz singer Diana Krall, Young will be performing at fundraising concerts in Winnipeg, Regina and Calgary later this month.

Jackpine mine expansion

The tour is in support of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) and its fight against Shell Canada's Jackpine mine, approved by regulators last month, as well as other First Nations fighting oilsands projects.

The Jackpine mine, located about 70 kilometres north of Fort McMurray, currently covers some 7,500 hectares, but is set to grow to 13,000 hectares.

Allan Adams, chief of the ACFN, said the community of Fort Chipewyan has been suffering from rapid rates rates of cancer and other such as lupus and asthma. He hopes to raise money for an independent community health study to determine the cause.

"Sure, we need development to occur to continue with the economic sustainability here in our country, but the fact remains that when are we going to say, 'Let's get this under control?'" Adams said in an interview with CBC News. 

Adams also criticized the federal government for ignoring scientific research regarding natural resources development.

"How can [projects] be safe when you have the federal government excluding all of the scientists and the credible reports?" he said.