Hand delivery of Beaver Lake First Nations Community Member, Crystal Lameman’s statement on BP operating in her homelands
“We deserve clean drinking water, clean air to breath, the ability to go to the land to subsist, to hunt, to fish, to forage, to find our medicines that are natural to us, why? It was promised in our Treaties, it is a constitutionally protected right, it is an inherent right, but most of all… because we’re human too, we exist, we’re here, and we’re not going anywhere.” ~ Crystal Lameman, member of the Beaver Lake Cree Nation
In 2008 former Chief of the Beaver Lake Cree Nation, Al Lameman stepped up in recognition of his obligation to his people and since then we have superseded the expectations of our Governments. There have been many pro-industry people stating that we would never get our day in court and that this plight was but a waste of time. Here we are today, almost 4 years after the Statement of Claim was filed, and the Beaver Lake Cree Nation has set historical precedence and will get their day in court.
The judicial system has favored my nation and the inherent rights of all First Nations people and this is something BP, you should not ignore. The provincial judicial system has taken law over claims by the government that this case is, “unmanageable” and pay attention to the mere fact that trial has been granted based on the law and the law clearly is in our favor. Our constitutionally protected rights are being deliberately ignored and abused; we have proven this and are now in the process of spreading the truth about the environmental destruction and disaster we are living amongst.
Our hope is to curb the expansion plans of industry until true and honest consultation has taken place and that our inherent Treaty rights are upheld, abided-by, protected, and honored; thus ensuring we can always go to the land to hunt, fish, forage, find medicines, drink clean water, breath clean air, and subsist as promised in our Treaties. We have support on a global level, people standing up in recognition of our Treaty rights, people unafraid to challenge the governments and industry; thus moving forth in telling the truth about what it is we are enduring and what it is industry and government are attempting to do with regards to expansion.
In less than 20 years an area the size of England has been completely destroyed and there are further plans to develop that 10X, this territory that is being conquered is our traditional hunting territories, the land that we subside on, the land in which we live and we are unafraid to spread this truth. The truth that it takes 3-5 barrels of our fresh water produce one barrel of tar-sands dirty oil and that 90% of that water is non-recyclable thus the tailing-ponds.
I can continue and lay-claim to the facts and statistics, but you know that already, you are well aware of the destruction and what it has done to my people – fish with cancers, moose with puss bubbles under the skin, water systems that are not up to code therefore our children are getting violently ill and having to be rushed to local hospitals for drinking contaminated water.
The economy exists, we don’t deny that; but does that mean we all become economic hostages whilst succumbing to illness, inability to subsist on the land, medicine that are natural to us becoming extinct – medicine we use to treat cancer? No, I choose life, I choose my children’s lives, I choose ethics and responsibility over a dollar that I cannot eat when our air and water is destroyed, our ecosystems destroyed, our way of life destroyed. BP you will be held accountable for your part in this destruction, you have been implicated in our Statement of Claim, because you have leases within our Traditional hunting territories, on this day you have the opportunity to rectify your contribution to this ignorance and destruction.
All my relations,
Crystal Lameman, SW, BGS, B. Ed Candidate (June 2012), mother, and proud member of the Beaver Lake Cree Nation
Crystal Lameman, recently traveled to the U.K. and spent a week speaking to student groups, government officials, and visiting activists around the country in November of 2011. Crystal is a mother of two who is working towards her second degree at the University of Alberta and is a powerful voice for her community and region. She is an activist for her people fighting to protect their constitutionally protected rights.