KAIROS commends new Amnesty International report revealing extent of oil and gas development on Lubicon Cree traditional territory

For decades, eleven churches and religious organizations have joined together in KAIROS to support the Lubicon Lake Cree in their struggle for recognition and justice.  In 2003, then-federal negotiator professor Bradford Morse said it was his intention to be the last person to represent the federal government in Lubicon land rights negotiations. While history to that point had not given the Lubicon anything to be optimistic about, they remained hopeful that Mr. Morse was correct.

The Lubicon certainly did not envision a scenario where their land rights would remain in limbo for almost a decade. In the meantime, licenses continue to be granted to allow resource extraction on the Lubicon’s traditional territory, without their free, prior and informed consent.

Amnesty International Canada notes that maps using government data “reveal that more than 2,600 oil and gas wells have been drilled on the territory, of which more than 1300 are currently active. The drilling is supported by a massive infrastructure of more than 2400 kilometres of pipeline and more than 4500 km of roads. Exploratory seismic cut lines 3 to 5 meters wide stretch over 32,000 km. Roughly 70 per cent of the territory has been leased for future development including in situ oil sands extraction.”

Finally, Amnesty notes, this development “has taken place without any treaty or other agreement with the Lubicon.”

KAIROS supports Amnesty International’s call for a resumption of Lubicon land rights negotiations, and a halt to resource extraction activity on Lubicon land unless it has Lubicon consent. A fair and just resolution of the Lubicon land issue is necessary if the Lubicon are to benefit from their land and resource rights.

KAIROS encourages Canadians to read Amnesty’s report and to become aware of the decades-long struggle of the Lubicon Cree Nation to achieve government recognition of their basic and inherent Indigenous rights.

From homeland to oil sands: The impact of oil and gas development on the Lubicon Cree of Canada (PDF)

For more information, contact Ed Bianchi, Indigenous Rights program coordinator, at ebianchi@kairoscanada.org or 613 235 9956 x 221

Filed in: Indigenous Rights

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