Lubicon Lake Indian Nation
Little Buffalo Lake, AB
3536 - 106 Street
Edmonton, AB T6J 1A4
March 5, 1991
Enclosed for your information is a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney regarding the continuing Lubicon tragedy.
PROJECT NORTH B.C.
(Aboriginal Rights Coalition)
an ecumenical coalition for aboriginal justice
4217 Granville Avenue, R.R. #3, Victoria, B.C. V8X 3X1
Telephone: (604) 479-6866
February 23, 1991
Right Honourable Brian Mulroney
Prime Minister of Canada
House of Commons
Members of this organization are outraged and heartsick that the Government of Canada continues to ignore what is now known as "the Lubicon Tragedy".
In the autumn of 1983, the World Council of Churches declared, in a letter to then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, that "genocidal consequences" threatened the Lubicon Lake Band at Little Buffalo in northern Alberta. The following spring, leaders of several national mainline churches visited the Lubicon, confirmed the WCC statement, and called on the government to take immediate action. Now, eight years later, the genocide is well underway. The Government of Canada chooses to ignore it or blame it on the Lubicon.
Before it was realized that there was a massive amount of oil under Lubicon land, or that trees growing there were worth money when converted to pulp, the Lubicon and their request for a reserve were ignored for 48 years. Further, they were not part of Treaty 8 negotiations, so that title to their land remains with them.
Now, ignoring that title, oil companies have invaded the lands and operate 400 wells within a 15-mile radius of Little Buffalo. As well, the forest is being clear-cut at an alarming rate. The once viable economy of the Lubicon is in ruin, and they are in a desperate situation.
IT IS IMMORAL OF THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA TO ALLOW THIS SITUATION TO CONTINUE TO DETERIORATE. THE END RESULT WILL BE THE DESTRUCTION OF A PEOPLE.
Our organization, along with others through Canada and the world, has followed closely the chronology of events since the World Council of Churches sent their letter in 1983. We know that the Government of Canada refuses to negotiate further a settlement which the Lubicon feel is fair to them. We are aware of the millions of dollars that are extracted from their lands every day of the year in terms of oil and timber. We are aware of the $10 million grant given to Daishowa by the Government of Canada and the $65 million grant from Alberta. We are aware that the Gulf War is costing Canadians somewhere in the neighborhood of $90 million per month.
In the fact of all this, while the government refuses to negotiate a just settlement, it allows the situation of the Lubicon to worsen into tragedy. It is somehow ironic that, at the same time, you ask us as Canadians to tell Keith Spicer's Commission what kind of country we want to see in the future. How can we take that seriously?
Prime Minister, we call upon you to give this matter your immediate attention. No one can give credibility to your lectures about racism in South Africa, your anxiety over the Baltic States and Russia, or your concerns about the invasion and takeover of Kuwait's land and resources by Iraq, while the land of defenceless First Canadians is invaded and plundered by foreign interests with assistance of our own government.
We ask that you respond to this letter rather than passing it along to your Minister of Indian Affairs. That department does not act on behalf of aboriginal people, as one would suppose, but in the opposite role. In the final analysis, you are responsible, and this matter is too grave and too urgent for the usual rhetorical reply. Thank you.
Yours very truly,
for PROJECT NORTH (B.C.)
cc: Lubicon Lake Nation
Premier Don Getty
Project North Victoria & Vancouver
Aboriginal Rights Coalition, Ottawa
Edmonton Interchurch Committee on the North
Jean Chretien, House of Commons
Audrey McLaughlin, House of Commons
Bob Skelly, House of Commons