I would like to extend my appreciation for the invitation received to attend your event on July 9th. I applaud the leadership of the Carrier Sekani peoples in taking forward your rights and title and our collective inheritance of responsibilities as Indigenous peoples to our lands and waters.
As confirmed in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples:
Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and stre ngthen their distinctive spiritual
relationship with their traditionally owned or otherwise occupied and used lands, territories,
waters and eoosta/seas and other resources and to uphold their responsibilities to fu ture
generations in this regard. (article 25)
Furthermore, the UN Declaration confirms the standard of free, prior and informed consent and offers a framework for all discussion to be conducted “in mutual respect and partnership”.
I extend my complete and full support for the exercise of your rights and responsibilities in relati on to the Joint Review Panel hearings on the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline. As the national advocacy organization, we stand in full solidarity with you. Your efforts to date as well as today's event provide an important demonstration of the power of advocacy and partnership among diverse groups.
In raising your voices against the Northern Gateway pipeline you are honouring our ancestors and future generations by insisting on your full involvement and on environmental protection. In the last month alone, I am aware as are you, of three oil spills in the neighbouring province of Alberta . This is unacceptable to our peoples from coast- to-coast- to-coast .
Your efforts today are critical to protect your pristine environment , the critical habitat of so many of our traditional foods, and the entire Pacific North Coast from the threat of oil spills and other harm posed by oil pipeline development and expansion.
I apologize for not being able to attend in person, but please accept this formal letter as a demonstrat ion of my full support .
Shawn A-in-chut Atleo