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Treaty 8 Justice for the Peace Caravan wants Prime Minister to keep his promises

    Saturday, September 3, 2016 - 12:53

    MEDIA ADVISORY

    On September 12, the Federal Court of Appeal in Montreal will hear the latest legal challenge to the massive Site C hydroelectric dam already under construction on Treaty 8 territory in northeast British Columbia.

    First Nations community members from Treaty 8 are setting out today to travel by bus across Canada to focus attention of the importance of this case to the rights of all treaty nations and to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s promised new relationship with First Nations.
     
    The Justice for the Peace caravan is endorsed by the Assembly of First Nations British Columbia, the First Nations Leadership Summit, and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.
     
    What’s at stake:
    • Are governments in Canada accountable to spirit and intent of historic treaties when making decisions about large-scale resource development project?
    • What did Justin Trudeau really mean when he promised to respect treaty rights and uphold the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples?
    Timetable
     
    Sept. 5: Justice for the Peace Caravan leaves Fort St. John, BC
    Sept 6-11: Hosted by treaty nations across Canada, including in Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg
    Sept 12: Court hearing in Montreal
    Sept 13: Caravan arrives in Ottawa celebrate anniversary of UN adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
    (A detailed itinerary follows at the end of this advisory)
     
    For the media:
     
    The following individuals are available for interview throughout the journey:
    Chief Roland Willson, West Moberly First Nations, 1-250-783-0733
    Chief Lynette Tsakoza, Prophet River First Nation, 1-250-775-1124
    Helen Knott, spokesperson for the Caravan, 1-250-280-2277
    Yvonne Tupper, spokesperson for the Caravan, 1-250-874-0079
     
    Photos and video from the journey will be posted here: nosite-c.com
     
    Follow the Caravan on facebook: www.facebook.com/justiceforthepeacecaravan

    BACKGROUND

    Our people, the Prophet River and West Moberly First Nations, have been fighting the Site C hydroelectric dam project for close to five decades. The massive dam threatens to flood three of the largest rivers in our territory: the Peace, Moberly, and Halfway Rivers. Over 107 kilometers of these river valleys and their tributaries could be under water. This is land we rely on to hunt, fish and hold ceremonies. Our ancestors are buried here. 
     
    In 2014, the federal and provincial governments approved construction of the dam despite the fact that their own environmental impact assessment process found that it would cause serious, irreparable harm to First Nations use of our traditional lands. This is of urgent concern to our communities because of the historical and sacred importance of this land and because so much of the rest of our traditional territory has already been disrupted by massive, ongoing oil and gas development, mining, logging and the construction of two previous large dams on the Peace River.
     
    While the federal and provincial governments claim to have respected our rights, they deliberately chose to ignore the question of whether construction of the dam was compatible with their legal obligations under Treaty 8 and the Constitutional protection of Aboriginal and Treaty rights. 
     
    Preparation for construction of the dam has proceeded at a breakneck pace since July 2015 while legal challenges by First Nations and local landowners work their way through the court system.
     
    On September 12, 2016, we will be in Montreal in the Federal Court of Appeal to challenge the Canada’s project approval. We are challenging whether Canada is justified in approving projects without undertaking their own analysis and determination on infringement of Treaty rights. The implications of the case are far reaching, especially for other Treaty First Nations. 
     
    Additionally, many characterize the Site C dam as a litmus test of the commitment’s made by Canada to have a renewed, nation-to-nation relationship with First Nations; a respectful relationship that honours Treaties and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. 
     
    DETAILED ITINERARY

    Day 1
    Monday, September 5, 2016

    (Peace River to Edmonton)

    Peace River
    Treaty 8 Justice for the Peace Caravan Launch Event 

    Boon Residence, Bear Flat, Peace River Valley

    • 9:00am to 10:00am
    • Prayer, drumming, round dance and speeches
    • With Caravan Representatives, West Moberly & Prophet River leadership, Ken & Arlene Boon, MP Romeo Saganash

    Day 2           
    Tuesday, September 6, 2016
    (Edmonton to Saskatoon)

    Edmonton
    Public Solidarity Event at Provincial Legislature 

    • 8:00am to 10:00am
    • Water Ceremony
    • Prayer provided by local Elder
    • Welcome by local First Nations
    • Round Dance & Media Interviews

    Saskatoon
    Public Solidarity Event at Victoria Park 

    • 6 pm – 8:45 pm
    • welcome to Territory
    • prayer for water, land and people
    • "Rainbow Friendship Round Dance" in solidarity with Treaty 8 Peace Tour
    • poetry readings
    • closing prayer

    Day 3
    Wednesday, September 7, 2016

    (Saskatoon to Winnipeg)

    Travel day, caravan participants available for media interviews by phone

    Day 4
    Thursday, September 8, 2016

    (Winnipeg)

    “Meet Me at the Bell Tower” Indigenous Family Centre, 470 Selkirk Ave                      

    • 6 pm to 8:00pm
    • Public event

    Day 5
    Friday, September 9, 2016

    (Winnipeg to Thunder Bay)

    Thunder Bay
    Welcoming to Thunder Bay             Location (TBC)               

    • 5pm to 6:00pm
    • Welcome by local supporters
    • Interviews with local media

    Day 6
    Saturday, September 10, 2016

    (Thunder Bay to Sault Ste. Marie)

    Public solidarity events TBD

    Day 7
    Sunday, September 11, 2016

    (Sault Ste. Marie to Montreal)

    Travel day, caravan participants available for media interviews by phone

    Day 8
    Monday, September 12, 2016 

    (Montreal)

    – Federal Court of Appeal hearing

    Peaceful Rally, Federal Court of Appeal, 30 McGill St.                

    • 8:00-9:30
    • Drumming and ceremony
    • Welcoming by First Nation elders and leaders
    • Prophet River First Nation and West Moberly First Nations Leadership

    Court Proceedings,Federal Court of Appeal, 30 McGill St.         

    • Starting 9:30

    Day 9
    Tuesday, September 13, 2016

    (Ottawa)

    Anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples                       

    Rally on Parliament Hill                     

    • 10:30 am to 11:30 am
    • Welcoming from the Algonquin Nation
    • Drumming and round dance
    • Statements by caravan participants and supporting organizations
    • Group photo with solidarity messages, petitions, postcards and other demonstrations of national support for Treaty 8 struggle

    Press Conference, Parliament Hill                 

    • 11:00
    • Charles Lynch Press Room, Centre Block, Parliament Building
    • Chief Roland Willson plus supporters

    Public Panel  University of Ottawa + Live Webcast        Ottawa, Ont. 

    • 1 pm – 2:30 pm
    •  “Keeping the Promise: Treaty Rights, the UN Declaration and the Site C Dam”
    • Chief Roland Willson, West Moberly First Nations
    • Allisun Rana, Rana Law
    • William David, Assembly of First Nations
    • Additional expert speakers on the UN Declaration and Treaty rights

    Community Feast

    • 5-7 pm
    • St. Paul's-Eastern United Church, 90 Daly Ave