Beaver Lake Identifies 16,000 infringements in Lawsuit

by May 20, 2008

Aiming to stop the wholesale destruction of their traditional lands, the Beaver Lake Cree Nation has launched a massive lawsuit against the Federal and Alberta governments.

Filed on May 14th, the suit identifies more than 16,000 infringements (development projects, most connected to the tar sands) that are contributing to the destruction of the environment, the loss of traditional areas, and the decline in wildlife populations within their territory. These infringements are making it impossible for the Nation to exercise their Treaty Rights.

A Beaver Lake press release (pdf) states in part,

Beaver Lake Cree Nation... has watched with growing anger and frustration as their traditional hunting, trapping and fishing lands have been rapidly destroyed by the oil and gas industry. They have seen the forests they depend on for their livelihood riddled with oil wells, criss-crossed with roads and seismic lines and emptied of wildlife. They have seen their constitutionally protected rights disregarded and the local environment degraded. And today Beaver Lake Cree Nation says “Enough!"

Beaver Lake has filed a court case aimed at halting the wholesale destruction of their traditional hunting, trapping and fishing areas.

“The Governments of Canada and Alberta have made a lot of promises to our people and we intend to see those promises kept,” said Chief Al Lameman. “Governments and industry ignore our concerns. This is our home. This is where we live. We have a responsibility to our children, and to our children’s children, to see that the lands where the Cree live, and will always live, remain inhabitable.”

This simply cannot happen if Canada and Alberta is allowed to continue playing "make believe" --- which is precisely what they are doing by breaching their constitutional obligations,and threatening and infringing upon the Beaver Lake Cree... just to make a lousy buck.

Further Information

Learn about Treaty Six, or visit the Treaty Six website
Download Beaver Lake's Statement of Claim (pdf) (8 MB in size. Includes full list of infringements)
Read the Kétuskéno Declaration (pdf) (signed on May 14)

Media Contacts

Beaver Lake Cree Nation:
Robert Gillis, Executive Director
BLCN Consultation Office
Telephone: (780) 623-9221
Facsimile: (780) 623-7164

Legal Counsel:
Drew Mildon
Woodward & Company
Telephone: (250) 383-2356
Facsimile: (250) 380-6560

  • September 4, 2008 at 7:16 am

    Letter of Support from HOPE-GEO to the Beaver Lake Cree

    As the founder of Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE) and the lead campaigner of HOPE’s Global Emergency Operation (GEO), I am writing on behalf of HOPE-GEO in support of the Beaver Lake Cree’s legal challenge against the governments of Canadian and Alberta for their immoral, unethical and indeed, we contend, illegal, maneuvers to force their fossil-fuels-extraction projects, in particular those pertaining to the tar sands, on the fragile environment of northern Alberta, the First Nations peoples who by right inhabit these region, those Albertans who value the Alberta environment, those Canadian who value the Canadian environment, and those world citizens who value the global environment.

    Having worked as an environmental technologist whose job was to monitor the discharges of effluent into the environment by major industries, particularly mines and pulp mills, the former mainly regarding heavy metals and cyanides, and latter regarding organo-chlorines, PCBs, PAHs, dioxins and furans, where even one part per million in excess of the maximum allowable concentrations set by the British Columbian government would be sufficient grounds to close down the operation in question until the problems have been resolved, I can say without hesitation or doubt that most Albertan fossil-fuel projects, and all tar sands projects, even if their discharges were diluted a thousand fold, could not have passed any scientifically valid environmental assessment by any margin.

    Until the tar sands raised their ugly heads, there was not a single mine in Canada, nor in the United States for that matter, that could be opened without a rigorous environmental assessment which would often take years to conduct and conclude, nor could they proceed without extensive open community consultations. The tar sands have changed all this. Fully knowing that there is not one hope in a million that these operations could pass any environmental assessment, the Canadian and Albertan governments, in abject obedience to their Big Oil puppet-masters and overlords, have massively violated their own environment-protection laws, health-security measures and their treaty obligations. The ones to massively profit are the oil companies and their unconscionable shareholders.

    The ones to lose the most are the First Nations peoples of Alberta , very concept of aboriginal rights, and of course the global environment that we all share. Therefore, we in HOPE-GEO, which is in the process of forming the global Coalition to Abolish the Tar Sands (CATS), offer our full support to the endeavor of the Beaver Lake Cree to take the Canadian and Alberta governments to task, and to any similar legal action undertaken by any other First Nation, now and in the future.

    Yours sincerely,

    Anthony Marr, founder and president

    Heal Our Planet Earth – Global Emergency Operation (HOPE-GEO)

    216-386-7362 (until mid-November)

    604-222-1169 (mid-November onwards)


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