WINNIPEG – Anishinaabe – On behalf of eight highly respected Anishinaabe (Ojibway), Nehetho (Cree) and Dakota Elders, kindly accept this invitation to an Elders and Traditional Knowledge Keepers Gathering at Turtle Lodge in Sagkeeng First Nation, Manitoba. This Gathering will provide them an opportunity to share their statements about their relationship with and love for the land as it relates to guiding the participation of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) in the National Energy Board’s hearing into the expansion of Enbridge Line 3 (see attached agenda).
On Saturday, November 28, 2015, Elders Dave Courchene Jr.(Sagkeeng First Nation), Florence Paynter (Keesekoowenis Ojibway Nations), Harry Bone(Keesekoowenis Ojibway Nation), Mary Maytwayashing (Lake Manitoba), Wally Swain (Keesekoowenis Ojibway Nation), Dennis White Bird (Rolling River), D’Arcy Linklater (Nisichawayasihk Nehethowak) and Henry Skywater (Birdtail Sioux Dakota Nation) will host this unprecedented Gathering.
The Enbridge Line 3 project represents Enbridge Pipelines Inc.’s largest project in history. It is a $7.5 billion dollar replacement and expansion that runs from Hardisty, Alberta, across Saskatchewan adjacent to Regina and through Brandon and Gretna in Manitoba. Similarly, in the United States of America, there will be a US $6.2 billion replacement program for its Line 3 pipeline running from Neche, North Dakota to Superior, Wisconsin. The current Line 3 will be widened and its use is being changed from light oil to mixed use (capable of carrying both light and heavy oil). The pipeline capacity will almost double from 390,000 barrels a day to 760,000 barrels a day.
Over the past several months, the Elders have been meeting to prepare for their contribution to the Enbridge Line 3 hearing. First and foremost, the Elders want to create awareness and share their understandings on sacred responsibilities relating to caring for the land. Supported by AMC, the Elders will host this open Gathering so they may follow appropriate protocols, share in ceremony and speak in an uncompromised voice to all invited guests within their environment. Elders will be sharing their knowledge of their relationship with the Creator, Mother Earth and newcomers, including natural resource development and transportation companies.
The Elders feel is it critically important to communicate their deep understanding and love of the land within the context of their oral and ceremonial traditions. This Gathering is an opportunity for respectful and non- confrontational communication with Government, industry, the National Energy Board and the general public.
I believe accepting our invitation to Turtle Lodge will go a long way to show your commitment to meaningfully engage and respect First Nations.
ASSEMBLY OF MANITOBA CHIEFS
Derek J. Nepinak, LLB, B.A.(Hons.)
Grand Chief, Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs