“Sharing the Gift of Knowledge” to help inform major Prairie pipeline expansion
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – MONDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2015
WINNIPEG, MB –
A number of highly respected Manitoba Elders who are Traditional Knowledge Keepers have invited the National Energy Board (NEB) to a day of sacred ceremony, feasting and a sharing of the gift of knowledge oral statement on the Enbridge Line 3 Replacement. The gathering will take place at Turtle Lodge, Sagkeeng First Nation on Saturday, November 28, 2015.
In addition to members of the National Energy Board, Enbridge Pipeline representatives, government officials, the general public and the media have also been invited to attend and bear witness. The Elders, supported by the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, feel it is critically important that their deep understanding and love of the land is communicated within the context of their oral and ceremonial traditions. The Elders see this as an opportunity to discuss their relationship with the Creator, Mother Earth and newcomers, including natural resource development and transportation companies. The Elders believe this is an opportunity for respectful and non-confrontational communication with industry and the National Energy Board.
While Manitoba Elders and Traditional Knowledge Keepers have intended to provide a statement regarding an alliance with nature and Mother Earth to the NEB based on their knowledge and laws, the NEB recently made decision that severely limits the scope of how the Elders can participate in sharing their knowledge at the hearing. The Elders have determined that they will not be constrained by the Board’s description of ‘oral traditional’ evidence.
Elders Dave Courchene Jr., Florence Paynter, Harry Bone, Mary Maytwayashing, Wally Swain, Dennis White Bird, D’Arcy Linklater and Henry Skywater are hosting the following:
DATE: Saturday, November 28, 2015 from 10 am to 4:00 pm
LOCATION: Sagkeeng First Nation
118 kms northeast of Winnipeg at The Turtle Lodge, 47071-F Hwy 11, Fort Alexander, MB, R0E 0P0
No cameras or recordings are permitted during ceremonies. Cameras and recordings are allowed during the Statement by the Elders. A representative of the Elders will be available following the gathering to speak with media.
- 10:00am – pipe and water ceremonies lasting approximately 1.5 to 2 hours
- Ceremony to spiritualize the Statement with water, soil and tree and bless the food
- 12:00pm – feast (chee-bah-quay) at high noon (around 12:16 pm that day) – at least one hour
- 1:30 or 2:00 pm – reading of the Statement by Elder Dave Courchene Jr accompanied by
Elders Florence Paynter and Mary Maytwayashing
- Statement by Assembly of Manitoba Chief Grand Chief Derek Nepinak and others who are in attendance
- Songs by youth and Elders and lowering pipes
The Turtle Lodge “is a place for sharing our universal and ancient knowledge, for reconnecting ourselves to the Earth and Nature, and also, a place for sharing among people of all races and nations.” Founded by Elder Dave Courchene Jr. in 2002, it earned an international reputation as a place of learning, healing and sharing for all people, and used by Federal court judges, international scientists and United Nations delegates and Special Rapporteurs.
Enbridge Pipelines Inc. is planning the largest project in its history, a $7.5 billion dollar replacement and expansion of pipeline (Line 3), which runs from Hardisty, Alberta, across Saskatchewan adjacent to Regina and through Brandon and Gretna in Manitoba. Similarly in the US, there will be a US $6.2 billion replacement program for its Line 3 pipeline running from Neche North Dakota to Superior, Wisconsin.
The current Line 3 will be widened and its use is being changed from light oil to mixed use (capable of carrying both light and heavy oil). The pipeline capacity will almost double from 390,000 barrels a day to 760,000 barrels a day.
On Monday, November 30, 2015 the National Energy Board will begin hearing oral traditional evidence regarding the Enbridge Pipeline 3 expansion at Canad Inns, 826 Regent Avenue West in Winnipeg.
The eight Elders guiding the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs had applied to be part of this process, with assistance from the Public Interest Law Centre.*
On August 28, 2015 the National Energy Board issued a response which severely limited the scope of how the Elders could participate in sharing their knowledge at the hearing, for example:
The Elders would not
be permitted to:
- provide technical or scientific information
- express opinions, views, information or perspectives of others
- ask questions requiring an answer from Enbridge or the National Energy Board
- ask rhetorical questions
- make a recommendation to the Board about the pipeline expansion
It is unclear how the National Energy Board determined what constitutes oral traditional evidence.
Prompted by the NEB hearings, the Elders will host an open day of Sharing the Gift of Knowledge so they may speak with integrity to all the invited guests. The Elders look forward to the opportunity to share from the heart about their love and respect for the land.
Allison Fenske, Attorney, Public Interest Law Centre
Joelle Pastora Sala (bilingual – English/French)
Attorney, Public Interest Law Centre
*The Public Interest Law Centre is a branch of Legal Aid Manitoba that takes on test cases for public interest groups and low-income individuals.