Proposed in the mid-2000s, the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines was a project to build a 731.4-mile-long twin pipeline from Bruderheim, Alberta to Kitimat, British Columbia. While its eastbound line would have carried 193,000 barrels of natural gas condensate per day, its westbound line would have moved 525,000 barrels of crude oil per day to a marine terminal, where it would be picked up by oil tankers destined for Asia. The initial budget for the project was $5.5 billion.
In the summer of 1990, Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Canadians gathered at a “Peace Camp” in Oka, Quebec, Canada and a “Peace Village” in Winnipeg Manitoba, Canada. Their goal was four-fold:
To support the Mohawks of Kanehsatake and Kahnawake Quebec who were in a stand-off with the Canadian government and military
To bring attention to issues of injustice towards Aboriginal people in Canada
The right to Aboriginal reserve land has been a contested issue throughout Canadian history, but perhaps one of the most disturbing violations of Aboriginal land rights is illustrated through the Lubicon Cree, a First Nations band in northern Alberta.
The context for this campaign starts in the early 1980s with the repatriation of the legislation that founded Canada: the British North America Act of 1867. The idea of repatriation had been around since the 1920s and was finally brought to realization in 1982 by the then Prime Minister of Canada, Pierre Elliot Trudeau.
In Canada, there are many First Nations groups with unique languages and cultures. One of those is the Cree nation, who speak Cree and are accustomed to Cree social norms within Canada. Manitoba, a central Canadian province, has a large indigenous popular with high unemployment.
The Nuxalk people live mid-way up the British Columbian coast, in the region around the town Bella Coola. The Nuxalk have long refused to enter into any treaties with Canada or cede any of their ancestral territory to the national or provincial government. As such, they still claim sovereign rights to much land that the government claims belongs to it. One of those areas is King Island. On King Island is a valley called Itsa, which, according to the Nuxalk, is the sacred place of origin of their people.