VICTORIA ISLAND – Ontario – A new study points that contaminants are showing up in lakes downwind from the oil sands. PHA is two to three times higher than in the 1960’s and is posing risks to human health. Canadian scientists say that pollution has increased significantly. Study warns that if the production increases, this would put human beings at a higher risk of serious health risks.
This story is nothing new to Indigenous Peoples, as they have known first hand that the environment around them is changing and not for the better. Bills like C-45 which will open up the land even more too exhaustive extractive industries, leaving a waste land for future generations to come.
Canadians must understand that this Indigenous rights movement is about the land and our connection to it. We are the last defense against the federal government and resource industries in their plight to mine, extract, remove and kill mother earth. She has always given us life and our connection to the land as caretakers which we uphold our fundamental belief systems; what you do today and the energy that you’re sending out should not negatively impact seven generations into the future. This is how Indigenous Peoples look at long lasting impacts of the environment.
I’m sure that every Canadian wants their children and future generations to have the same wealth that their generation has grown up with. Wealth doesn’t necessarily mean monetary value; we are talking about Canadians ability to enjoy waterways, by swimming and fishing. Canadian people’s ability to breathe clean air without fear of inhaling some kind of carcinogen. Indigenous Peoples, the Cree, Dene, Blackfoot, Ojibway, Iroquoian, Anishnabe, Inuit and other Nations are all living downstream or downwind from these industrial mega-projects and have constitutionally recognized rights, known as Treaties in this country. Free, Prior and Informed consent is required on any resource development occurring in Indigenous territories and Canada needs to live up to these international legal obligations.
This is what is at the heart of this fight, our future and yours.
Chief Theresa Spence