First Nations Launch Nationwide Train Journey to Bring Opposition to Enbridge's Northern Gateway Project to Toronto's Financial District
Petition in Support of Freedom Train 2012
We call on Parliament to recognize the decision that has been taken by the Yinka Dene Alliance and other First Nations to ban tar sands pipelines and tankers in their lands and waters - including the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and tanker project. Click here to Sign the Petition.
JASPER, ALBERTA - The Yinka Dene Alliance (YDA), a coalition of First Nations from northern BC, will hold rallies to launch its nationwide "Freedom Train" journey from the Pacific Coast to Toronto's financial district in Jasper, AB, on April 30, and in Edmonton, AB, on May 2.
Local First Nations and community groups will join the YDA at these events, with dancing and the Wild Spirit drummers. Joe Abraham from Big Horn will lead the water ceremony, where water from different regions of Canada will be mixed to symbolize that water connects us all. YDA leaders will be available to media for comment at all events. The YDA delegation will take its message across Canada, directly to Enbridge's corporate leadership at the company's annual shareholders meeting in Toronto on May 9.
Jasper Freedom Rally
Monday, April 30, 2012
Jasper VIA Rail Station
607 Connaught Drive, Jasper, AB
Edmonton news conference and rally
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Steps of the Alberta Legislature, 10800 97 Avenue NW, Edmonton, AB
1:00-11:00pm – Pow Wow (independent event). The University of Manitoba, Investors Group Athletic Centre, 75 Sidney Smith Street, Winnipeg, MB
5:00pm – Mingle/dinner for purchase/film screening. HI Hostel, 330 Kennedy Street, Winnipeg, MB
Sunday, May 6, 2012
10:00am – Check out of Hostel/hotel. HI Hostel, 330 Kennedy Street, Winnipeg, MB Other hotel to be determined.
10:30pm – Train leaves Winnipeg. VIA Rail station, 123 Main Street, #146, Winnipeg, MB
Monday, May 7 , 2012 - On Train All Day
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
9:30am – Train arrives in Toronto. VIA Rail station, Union Station, 65 Front Street West, Toronto, ON
9:30am – Check into hotel. Strathcona Hotel, 60 York Street, Toronto, ON
5:00pm – Small reception for lead YDA people and local government. Planet Traveller, 357 College St, Toronto, ON
8:00pm – Freedom Train Solidarity Concert. The Great Hall, 1087 Queen St W, Toronto, Toronto Division, Ontario
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
11:00am – Press Conference and water ceremony. Metro Hall Rotunda, 55 John Street, Toronto, ON
11:45am - Freedom Rally - No Tar Sands Pipelines in Our Lands. Lawn of the Metro Hall, 55 John Street, Toronto, ON
1:00pm – March to Enbridge AGM. Le Meridien King Edward, 37 King St E, Toronto, ON
1:30pm – Enbridge AGM. Le Meridien King Edward, 37 King St E, Toronto, ON
Thursday, May 10, 2012 - Free Day In Toronto
Friday, May 11, 2012
11:00am – Check out of hotel. Strathcona Hotel, 60 York Street, Toronto, ON
12:30pm – Leave for airport (mode of transportation and leaving location to be determined)
3:15pm – YDA flight leaves from Toronto. Toronto Pearson Airport, 6301 Silver Dart Drive, Mississauga, Ontario
8:39pm – YDA flight arrives in Prince George. Prince George Airport
People on the Train
The Yinka Dene Alliance is sending 30 people on the Freedom Train ranging in age from youths of 16 to elders up to age 67. The Yinka Dene delegation will be joined on the train by representatives of other First Nations who are also deeply involved in the fight to keep their territories and waters free from Enbridge’s proposed tar sands oil pipelines and supertankers.
Here are some of the representatives on the Freedom Train:
Chief Jackie Thomas, Saik’uz
Jackie Thomas is of the frog clan at Saik’uz. She is a mother of four and proud grandmother of one. Jackie has been working for her community for over 25 years in various capacities. Currently she completing her 6th year as the elected chief and still hunts, fishes, collects berries, and medicines in the territory.
Geraldine Thomas-Flurer, Yinka Dene Alliance
My name is Geraldine Thomas Flurer, I am from Saikuz and born into the Frog Clan. I was raised by my Grandmother the late Dr. Sophie Thomas, Traditional Medicine Woman. I am married to a wonderful Sahtu Dene hunter and have four children and two grandsons. I attended school at Simon Fraser University, University of Victoria and currently work as the coordinator for the Yinka Dene Alliance. I don't want to say I am an environmentalist, because being Carrier/Cree we naturally care for Mother Earth as it is our responsibility. I am a board member for the BC Aboriginal Tourism Board, and have held many leadership roles in urban society, where I received a leadership award for my role as President of the Prince George Native Friendship Center. My Grandmother always said "If you take care of mother earth, she will take care of you, if you destroy the earth, you destroy yourself". So I am proud to walk in the footsteps of my Grandmother until we meet again.
Jasmine Thomas is of Carrier/Cree descent raised in her mother Geraldine Thomas-Flurer’s traditional territory of Saik’uz and is a member of the frog clan (steward of the water). Taught by her late maternal great-grandmother Sophie Thomas, traditional healer for the Yinka Dene (People of the Land), she continues the ancient practice of traditional medicines with her grandmother Minnie Thomas within her community. She has studied Environmental Planning at the University of Northern BC and has also attended the Greenland-based International Training Centre of Indigenous Peoples. She is also a youth advocate and organizer for the Yinka Dene Alliance on a broad range of social, environmental and climate justice issues. Jasmine has also been involved in the Canadian Indigenous Tar Sands Campaign with the Indigenous Environmental Network
bringing national and international attention to this issue. She is currently a youth engagement worker for various northern-interior BC communities focusing on holistic health issues and youth empowerment.
Our Indigenous laws say that we must protect our land and waters from threats such as the
introduction of oil pipelines. They do not permit us to make any other decision. We have never given up our Title, Rights and legal authority over our lands. As self-governing Nations, we have a legal and moral responsibility to protect everyone from the harms that are sure to result if this pipeline is built.
Our laws state that we have a responsibility to ourselves, our ancestors, our descendants, and to all the people living in our territories and elsewhere to defend the health of our lands and waters. Our laws do not permit us to stand by and allow these oil pipelines to enter our shared Fraser River watershed.
Along with our more than 130 First Nations allies across BC and western Canada, our Nations are united as never before to protect against threats to our rivers, our ocean, and the plants, animals and fish that we rely on for our food, our livelihoods and our culture. We will not put them at risk.
Our communities rely on our lands and our waters every single day. We continue to sustain ourselves, and to feed our selves, and to keep ourselves healthy, from what the land provides.
Our entire culture, our language, our way of being in the world, are directly tied to the land and water and the creatures around us. Gathering our foods and medicines is one of the central parts of our culture, our families and our community life. Our very existence as separate peoples depends on this.
That’s why we can’t accept any risk of an oil spill. It doesn’t matter what technical safety measures that Enbridge promises, or how much money they are willing to offer. We simply will not allow our communities to be placed at this risk, and we will use all lawful means available to ensure that this tar sands pipeline and tanker project, or others like it in future, are not built in our territories.
Pipeline/tanker threatThe proposed Enbridge Northern Enbridge Gateway oil pipeline and tanker project would put our communities at grave risk in order to transport crude oil (diluted bitumen) by pipeline from the Alberta tar sands with the Pacific coast port of Kitimat, British Columbia, where supertankers will transport it to overseas markets.
Our organizers, staff, partners, and affiliates are members of many communities being threatened by rampant industrial projects and fossil fuel extraction.
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