FROM THE PACIFIC COAST TO TORONTO’S FINANCIAL CENTERHistoric “Freedom Train” sets out to defend First Nations self‐government rights and freedom from oil spills
The Yinka Dene Alliance, a leading group of British Columbia First Nations that has used its laws to ban the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipelines and tankers in their territories, announced today that it will embark on a “Freedom Train” journey on April 30 aimed at protecting their rights and their freedom from the threat of devastating oil spills.
Representatives of numerous First Nations will join the Canada‐wide trip that will build on the wide support they have received across the country. The journey will begin on April 30 and culminate with First Nations taking their message directly to Enbridge’s corporate leadership at the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting in Toronto on May 9.
“Our journey on this Freedom Train is to build on the support from the people of Canada for the protection of our traditional lands. We will stand firm against all industries like Enbridge that are planning to destroy the environment and the future of all peoples,” said Chief Martin Louie of Nadleh Whut’en First Nation, a member of the Yinka Dene Alliance. “We need a healthy environment to ensure a healthy future for our children”
The Freedom Train will be met with large demonstrations of support as it stops in major cities across the country, organized by local First Nations groups in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. About 40 First Nations people from at least ten different Nations will be on the Freedom Train, ranging in age from 16 to 67.
Additional First Nations representatives will join the train journey along the way, and many more people are expected to participate in events in cities along the route. The Freedom Train will be sent off with ceremonies in Nadleh Whut’en and Jasper, and will stop for feasts, ceremonies, rallies and events in Edmonton, Saskatoon and Winnipeg before arriving in Toronto. In Toronto there will be two days of events including a concert, rally, march and the attendance of First Nations representatives at Enbridge’s Annual General Meeting on May 9.
“We’re traveling across Canada to tell Enbridge that they will not be permitted to build their pipelines through our lands, period,” said Chief Jackie Thomas of Saik’uz First Nation. “The fight against Enbridge is a fight for our freedom to govern ourselves and to choose our own future. We will not accept the government imposing a decision on us and forcing this pipeline through our lands.”
Through the Save the Fraser Declaration, more than 100 First Nations have banned Enbridge’s proposed pipelines and tankers from their territories. Combined with the Coastal First Nations Declaration banning tankers on the Pacific North Coast, the majority of Enbridge’s proposed pipeline route is through the territories of First Nations that have promised to ensure the project is never built.
Each of the past years has seen a growing First Nations presence at Enbridge’s annual meetings, including last year’s sizable Yinka Dene delegation and demonstration at the meeting in Calgary. This year’s event in Toronto will be the largest yet, as First Nations from the west coast are joined by First Nations allies from across Ontario.
“We are blown away by the support we have from First Nations and other people right across Canada,” said Dolly Abraham of Takla Lake First Nation. “We have put out a call across the country for solidarity as we make this huge effort, and we’re grateful for the many backers we have, all the way through from west to east. People are standing up with us against this pipeline threat because they know it’s not just us who are going to be impacted – if these rivers and coastlines are destroyed for the benefit of the tar sands, everybody suffers.”
The Freedom Train itinerary is as follows:
April 30 Freedom Rally – No Tar Sands Pipeline on our Lands
Jasper Train Station, Jasper AB 4:00 pm
May 1 Feast and Round Dance
Westmount Community Centre (10970 127 Street), Edmonton AB 5:00 pm (closed to media)
May 2 Press Conference
Alberta Legislature 10:30
May 2 Freedom Rally – No Tar Sands Pipeline on our Lands
Alberta Legislature, Edmonton AB
May 3 Whistlestop Freedom Rally – No Tar Sands Pipeline on our Lands
Saskatoon Train Station, Saskatoon SK 7:45 am
May 4 Press conference
Thunderbird House, 715 Main Street , Winnipeg MB 10:00 am
May 4 Feast and Celebration
Thunderbird House, 715 Main Street, Winnipeg MB 6 pm (closed to media)
May 5 Freedom Rally – No Tar Sands Pipeline on our Lands
1 Forks Market Road, Winnipeg, MB, Canada
May 8 Freedom Train Solidarity Concert
The Great Hall, 1087 Queen Street West, Toronto ON 8pm
May 9 Press Conference
Metro Hall Rotunda, 55 John Street, Toronto ON 11am
May 9 Freedom Rally – No Tar Sands Pipeline on our Lands
March to Enbridge AGM
Metro Hall Square, 55 John Street (rally followed by march proceeding to Le Meridien King Edward Hotel, 37 King St E) 11:45 am Visit Freedom Train Website HereFollow along on FB Here