Canadian and US indigenous leaders gathered in Ottawa on Wednesday in opposition to building pipelines to move Canadian tar sands oil across their traditional lands, citing environmental concerns.
Chiefs from nine tribes delivered a message at a press conference: "Tar sands pipelines will not pass through (our) collective territories under any conditions or circumstances."
They also pledged mutual support for one another in their respective court battles and "a long, hot summer" of protests against four Enbridge Northern Gateway, Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain, Trans Canada Keystone XL and Enbridge Line 9 pipelines.
"Together we are more empowered than apart," said Rueben George of the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation, which is opposing Kinder Morgan's new pipeline. "Our resistance is strong and growing and we believe we will succeed."
"My relatives (from the Dakotas to westernmost Canada) stand together in solidarity to say no because the owners of Enbridge and Kinder Morgan and other tar sands companies are too blind to see (the environmental damage they risk causing) because of their greed," he told reporters.
The groups represented include the Nadleh Whut'en, Nak'azdli, Takla Lake, Saik' uz, and Wet'suwet'en of northern British Columbia; the Athabasca Chipewyan who live nearest to the Alberta oil sands; the Tsleil-Waututh on Canada's Pacific Coast; the Yankton Sioux Nation along the Missouri River on the southern border of South Dakota; and the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg Nation north of Ottawa.
They also called for a cap on oil sands production at the current level of 1.8 million barrels of oil per day, and urged greater investment in less-polluting energy technologies.