Our People and Mother Earth can no longer afford to be held economic hostages in the race to industrialize our homelands. It's time for our people to rise up and take back our role as stewards of the land.
Eriel Deranger, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation
Current tar sands development in the Treaty 8 territory of north-eastern Alberta has led to the cumulative removal of lands, wildlife and fish habitat as well as the destruction of ecological, aesthetic and sensory systems. This consequently affects constitutionally protected Treaty Rights of First Nations in the region who are experiencing the loss of continued use of traditional lands and territory for the purposes of hunting, fishing, trapping and gathering in Canada.
Canada and Alberta environmental protection laws and legislation have been watered down through numerous Bills and Acts passed in recent years. The last remaining stronghold for challenging unsustainable development lies within the rights and title held by First Nations peoples.
To ensure that future generations of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation have the opportunity to live and exercise these rights within their traditional lands, the Nation has drawn a line in the sand. This line is known as "North of the Firebag River" and follows the southern boundary of the Poplar Point Homeland.
The ACFN have launched multiple legal motions against government and industry asserting this position and the protection of Treaty rights.
The ACFN recently filed for a federal review of the approval of the Jackpine Mine Expansion project. Read Here for More info.
The legal landscape in the tar sands is incredibly complex, and defending the line requires multiple legal actions on multiple fronts. The strategy of the ACFN focuses on defending culture, the lands required to exercise Treaty and Aboriginal rights, and the resources associated with those rights (i.e. water, old growth boreal forests, endangered species like bison and caribou).
The ACFN have taken the position that current tar sands development is out of control and irresponsible contributing to massive violations of environmental and Treaty rights. The recent approval of the Jackpin Mine expansion is proof that government will stop at nothing.
The ACFN's position is that tar sands can no longer continue business as usual without direct and cumulative impacts on the environment and human & Treaty rights. Therefore they are actively engaged in a multi-prong legal approach to challenge the status quo of tar sands expansion while protecting critical traditional territory and Treaty Rights.
The ACFN have had some important and game-changing legal successes over the past two years and continue to hold the line.
SLIDE SHOW SHOWING LEGAL VICTORIES COMING SOON