The “days of action” campaign, which was directed at two enbridge pipeline projects in southern and northern Saskatchewan, came to an end a few days ago.
On Friday, October 4th, Chiefs from Treaty 4 and Treaty 6 First Nation communities met with representatives from Enbridge Pipelines Inc. to form what the Chiefs are calling “a new alliance.”
The details of the alliance have not been made public, but Edmund Bellegarde, a spokesperson for Treaty 4 Chiefs, says the company has promised to train and provide living allowances and transportation costs for an additional number of people than what the company initially presented.
More discussions are apparently going to take place over long-term benefits. “We’re looking at equity in future projects of this pipeline and other energy projects that Enbridge has and looking at some of their assets,” said Bellegarde. “We’re looking at long-term revenue streams, looking at securing some of those for Treaty 6 and Treaty 4 territorial communities.”
As well, the Saskatchewan government has said that is plans to meet with First Nations leaders at a Summit next month to discuss a range of issues, including the role of First Nations in the economy. “The summit comes out of First Minister and Metis Relations Minister June Draude’s participation in parts of the meeting Thursday between representatives of the First Nations and Enbridge,” explains the Saskatchewan News Network. “When asked, the minister would not rule out discussions at the meeting of a set share of resource revenue for First Nations, which was put forward by the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations this spring to a cool reception from Premier Brad Wall,” the article continues.
While it’s great that something positive has come from this campaign, one can’t help but feel disillusioned by it. After all, we were told it was going to usher in “a new era of first nations relations with the Crown.”
Instead of establishing a new relationship, it has done nothing but reinforce the old one. That’s made evident by the way Enbridge and Province are handling the treaty nations — as second-rate Canadians that are entitled to little more than a few short term jobs and maybe a new-and-improved hand-me-down economy.
Honestly, I can’t help but wonder if the whole thing was just a front, like the infamous “day of action” that was organized last year by the Assembly of First Nations (which exploited and alienated us so they could get more money).
I hope this isn’t the case, I hope all that wasn’t just talk.
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