The Woodland Cree First Nation (WCFN) is pursuing legal action against the province of Alberta, arguing the government breached its legal obligation when they granted Shell (and other companies) land tenure in order to pursue oil sands development projects within their Traditional Territory. At no point did the government consult the Woodland Cree.
Simultaneously, they are also seeking to block Royal Dutch Shell's multibillion-dollar expansion of the oil-extraction plant at Carmon Creek, which, as described in a Press Release dated June 22, 2007, has already significantly impacted the land, let alone their ability to live:
Over the last forty years, the WCFN has seen its Treaty and Aboriginal rights, and its very culture, threatened by rapidly increasing industrial development from oil and gas, forestry and now oil sands developments. As WCFN Chief William Whitehead observes, "Such development has gradually eaten away the land available to our First Nation - our lives have become poorer with each hectare of land no longer available to us to practice our traditional pursuits, as guaranteed by Treaty 8."
Chief Whitehead further states, "Shell's existing oil sands facility, located less than 10km from our main Reserve, has already infringed our hunting, trapping and fishing rights, and it has harmed the water and air within our Traditional Territory and around our Reserves. We are very concerned that the Carmon Creek Expansion and the other oil sands projects that will inevitably follow will devastate our Treaty 8 rights, that we will be unable to practice our traditional pursuits, maintain our physical health and that we will be unable to pass down our culture on our lands around this Project."
"We do not want to see a repeat of what people in Fort McMurray are experiencing. Let's do it right this time"
For more information about this situation, please contact
CookRoberts LLP Bob Freedman, Lawyer: 250-385-1411, or
Chief William Whitehead, 780-629-3803