Lubicon Lake Indian Nation
Little Buffalo Lake, AB
3536 - 106 Street
Edmonton, AB T6J 1A4
February 10, 1993
Enclosed for your information is a copy of a good letter to Canadian Federal Indian Affairs Minister Tom Siddon on the Lubicon situation.
February 05, 1993, letter to Federal Indian Affairs Minister Tom Siddon from William F. Phipps, Executive Secretary, Alberta and Northwest Conference, United Church of Canada
Dear Mr. Siddon:
Re: Lubicon Lake Nation
I was interested in your comments on CBC Prime Time News on Wednesday, February 3, with respect to the Native communities in Northern Alberta and Newfoundland/Labrador. You expanded your comments about those communities in talking about such settlements across Canada in general.
You said that what really is needed is viable economic development which looks to the future and is not based on old ways. The United Church of Canada and many groups throughout Canada are in full agreement with this and have been promoting the necessity for viable local economic development in Native communities for years.
It was enlightening to hear you say this yourself. If this is what you believe, why do you continue to reject the proposal of the Lubicon Lake Nation? Their proposal is based upon this analysis. They propose a variety of small scale local economic development projects which would provide employment for the local community with strong possibilities of developing small businesses which would provide an economic base into the future. The proposals of the federal government fall far short of this and are not based upon such an analysis.
When one considers the amount of money both private business and the government of Alberta have taken out of traditional lands (over one billion dollars in royalties alone) the amount of money claimed in compensation for the destruction of their community is extremely small indeed. In fact, according to your own analysis of the necessity for economic development, the amount claimed by the Lubicon people is a small investment in such a future.
I am interested to know why you are not following your own analysis and advice in the case of the Lubicon settlement. I might add that the Moderator of the United Church of Canada, The Right Rev. Stan McKay, and myself just returned from another visit to Little Buffalo. We are convinced that it is even more necessary than before that the settlement of that land claim happen as soon as possible. The proposals they have made are exactly the kinds of things you seemed to endorse on the CBC television program, and are exactly the kinds of things which will help that community come back from the brink of total disaster.
I look forward to your specific response to these comments. I do not need your `standard mail out' with respect to the Lubicon situation, but I would like a direct response to these particular concerns.
William F. Phipps