Alberta First Nations To Deliver Message about Tar Sands Abuses at UN Forum on Indigenous IssuesPosted: April 23, 2010
April 23, New York City –George Poitras, former chief of the Mikisew Cree of Alberta, and Clayton Thomas-Muller of the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) will be attending the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York City tomorrow to deliver a scathing message about Canada’s record on Aboriginal rights, citing the woeful example of First Nations rights in Alberta’s Tar Sands, where three First Nation legal cases are active.
The Forum, which brings together indigenous people together from around the world, includes a discussion on human rights and the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
“Canada remains one of only two UN members to vote in opposition of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People and nowhere is this opposition clearer than in our daily lives in Alberta’s toxic Tar Sands, ” said George Poitras, who was born and raised in Fort Chipewyan, an impacted downstream community from the Tar Sands.
He added that the Government of Canada has publicly stated that the Declaration, which was recently signed on by Australia and New Zealand “…does not recognize Canada's need to balance indigenous rights to lands and resources with the rights of others.”
The two First Nation leaders are taking part in a panel discussion that includes film director James Cameron, who has arranged a private screening of Avatar for the Indigenous groups in attendance.
“We will be giving James Cameron detailed information about the on the ground realities of the Tar Sands,” said Clayton Thomas- Muller of IEN.
The UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues is an advisory body to the Economic and Social Council, with a mandate to discuss indigenous issues related to economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health and human rights.