In respects of a decision of the National Energy Board on Enbridge’s Edmonton to Hardisty Pipeline due to impacts on the Ancient Bison Pound Site. Maskwacis, Alberta (April 20, 2015) Samson Cree Nation announced the commencement of proceedings in the Federal Court of Appeal seeking the immediate suspension of the National Energy Board’s decision to permit development
of the Edmonton to Hardisty Pipeline of Enbridge that is proposed for operation in the Hardisty Corridor. Although Samson preferred to engage Enbridge and the Board directly during the post-approval stage of consultation for the Project, it was left with no other option but to challenge a decision of the Board to keep material information and correspondence exchange between Enbridge
and Alberta Culture confidential. Samson was seeking disclosure of such information in order to ensure that important distinct archaeological property and sites located within Alberta are protected and preserved for future generations the with the opportunity to explore and learn from. Enbridge’s Project is located in Central Alberta and commonly referred to as the Hardisty Corridor and Terminal. Alberta has describe the Hardisty Corridor and Terminal as a critical area for economic growth and increased midstream resource activities and developments in Alberta. In addition to Enbridge’s E2H pipeline project, there are currently at least four other projects being proposed in the Hardisty Corridor and Terminal area, including the Line 2 Replacement Program, Energy East, Heart-land Pipeline and Keystone XL Project. In the words of Alberta Culture Director, Darryl Bereziuk: the Bison Pound…..”is located in the nexus ….of Alberta economic corridor….(December 18, 2014); this statement must be understood in the context of existing rights, uses, interests and occupancy from historic to current context of the Samson Cree Nation and its People’s, this is the position, advocacy and mandate of the Samson Consultation & Accommodation Team. The Hardisty Corridor and Terminal directly overlaps with the sacred Bison Pound which is of critical cultural and spiritual importance to the Samson Cree Nation and other neighboring First Nations in Alberta. The Bison Pound has been identified by the same Office of Alberta Culture’s Eric Damkjar, Head of Archaeology, as being archeological significant and linking back to the prehistoric time period in North America know as the Avonlea Phase Period. The Bison Pound has archaeological remains and artifacts that have been carbon dated back at least 8000 years. Despite being identified as an area with an abundance of archaeological resources and a high priority site requiring protection, Samson’s concerns in respect of the Bison Pound have gone unaddressed by the Crown and its regulatory agencies. “This continued trampling of our sacred sites without talking to us or considering our concerns can’t continue. They [Alberta] believe that our resources and historic sites are not real or not that important. How is it possible to meaningfully consult with us about the pipeline and related avoidance and mitigation measures to the Bison Pound if government and industry decide that it is their burden to decide what is best for us and our sites without providing us any information or including us in its discussions? The Maskwacis Cree people are a strong people and will no longer allow colonial attitudes to prevail unopposed,” said Councilor Holly Johnson/Rattlesnake. “Further activity in the Bison Pound area without meaningful consultation is unacceptable. As stewards of the lands, waters, and resources, it is our obligation and right to be meaningfully engaged about impacts to our rights, cultural resources and heritage property. Samson will not stand for Alberta delegating to third parties its substantive consultation obligations in respect of the Bison Pound to companies continuing to advance projects in the Bison Pound area. We are not opposed to carefully planned development that avoids impacts to the Bison Pound, but Alberta needs to consult with us directly and not try to pass-the-buck to the companies.” Said Councilor Holly Johnson/Rattlesnake in closing. In its Notice of Application Samson has argued that the National Energy Board failed to uphold the honor of the Crown, breached their constitutional duties to Samson by denying Samson meaningful or any consultation in relation to Enbridge’s modified pipeline right-of-way post-approval application and is in breach of the trust-like or fiduciary duty owed by the Crown to Samson. Despite these concerns, Chief Kurt Buffalo remains committed to addressing Samson’s concerns directly with Enbridge and has stated, “while the [NEB] process failed us on E2H, we still need to discuss avoidance and mitigation measures with the Crown and the Proponent for the various proposed Hardisty Corridor and Terminal activities and development in the Bison Pound area. In the absence of our concerns being addressed in a fair process, we will have no option but to defend and get involved in the regulatory and other processes for that Project as well to argue for a fair process and the preservation of our rights and sacred sites. ”Samson Cree Nation, of the Nipisikopahk Maskwacis Cree Peoples, is another member of the Nehiyawak Confederacy and a signatory of Treaty No. 6, underlying the central portions of Alberta. Prior to and at time of assertion of Crown Sovereignty, Samson’s ancestors exclusively occupied their territory including Treat No. 6 territory, upon which its social organization, military, spirituality, laws, customs, traditions, identity, economy, culture, heritage, lanuage and traditions arose. Samson’s unextinguished Aboriginal rights and title and existing rights under Treaty No. 6 are constitutional rights, recognized, affirmed and protected by s. 35(1) of the Constitution Act, 1982.
A Sacred Ceremonial Site, believed to be an ancient site, deemed sacred sites by Samson Elders who have hosted an annual pipe ceremony to honor the kinship and Traditional Lands within the Hardisty Industrial Corridor – always advocating for our rights, uses, & interests; this is our Samson Cree Nation Consultation Office Mandate