Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

September 1, 2011

Native Americans and First Nations to be arrested at White House

Native Americans and First Nations To Be Arrested at White House Protesting TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline

Brenda Norrell
Censored News

Photo Credit Milan Ilnyckyj: Clayton Thomas Muller, Cree, delivering letter to Canadian Consulate in DC on Wednesday.

WASHINGTON -- Native Americans and First Nations will be arrested at the White House on Friday, urging President Obama to say "No"' to the Keystone XL Pipeline that threatens Indian country and the enormous Ogallala aquifer in the heart of the nation.

Urging an end to the pipeline and the dirty tar sands already destroying First Nations homelands in Alberta, Indigenous Peoples join the two week sit-in on Friday, Sept. 2, 2011.

Representatives of Canada’s Assembly of First Nations, First Nations community members, Native Americans from the United States and the Indigenous Environmental Network, will be arrested in front of the White House to protest the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

"President Obama will decide the fate of this massive project later this fall. Representatives have traveled to the capitol city to wrap up two weeks of the largest mass civil disobedience the United States has seen organized in decades," the delegation said.

First Nation and Native American arrestees will be holding banners saying “Obama honor the Treaties” and “Stop the Keystone XL Pipeline” until they are arrested on Friday.

The delegation invited members of the press to Lafayette Park, across the street from the White House in Washington DC, for a press event to hear statements from Tribal Leaders and community representatives that will start promptly at 11:30 am on Friday.

On Wednesday, the Council of Canadians, the Indigenous Environmental Network and Greenpeace Canada presented a letter addressed to Ambassador Gary Doer at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C. demanding an end to lobbying in favour of the Keystone XL pipeline.

“Ambassador Doer has publicly recognized he is actively lobbying for Keystone XL,” says Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians. “To pitch the tar sands as the answer to American energy security ignores the destruction of the tar sands and turns away from the sustainable energy future Canada and the U.S. need.”

In May 2011, Alberta saw one of the largest pipeline bursts in the province’s history when 28,000 barrels of crude oil spilled into the local ecosystem near Peace River. In the past year, TransCanada’s first Keystone pipeline has spilled crude oil at least 12 times and contaminated water, air and soil in nearby communities. The spills resulted in catastrophic effects on wildlife and the quality of life of nearby farmers, landowners and Indigenous communities.

First Nations delegates with the Indigenous Environmental Network will also be present outside the Canadian Embassy. They have come to Washington to share their testimonies of the damaging social and health effects the tar sands are having on their communities.

“With the onslaught of tar sands exploitation, we are seeing more people developing serious respiratory illnesses. People of all ages are developing types of cancer that we have never seen in our area, as we have seen the tar sands industry expand,” said Gitz Crazyboy of Fort McMurray, in the heart of the Alberta tar sands.

“What we see is alarming – we are witnessing the complete destruction of the boreal forest as tar sands operations expand.”

The proposed Keystone XL pipeline would carry tar sands oil from Canada to the U.S. The controversial 2,736 kilometre project threatens to pollute freshwater supplies in America’s agricultural heartland and spike air pollution in the Gulf Coast. The pipeline would cross Indian-US treaty territories, water aquifers, rivers, grasslands, cultural sites and ecological sensitive areas. Tar sands operations and its associated infrastructure projects.

Interviews available upon request, please call:
ClaytonThomas-Muller-Indigenous Tar Sands Campaigner
Cell: 613 297 7515 or email
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