Can Six Nations extend a righteous hand to stop oil pipelines?

An Editorial by Jonathan and Nahnda Garlow

In Kahonwe worldview we say the human race has been put in place to protect the earth and all of creation. To the Ongwehonwe there is nothing that justifies the risk oil damage could potentially do to the precious waterways and protected wetlands.

We, the Haudenosaunee, recognize our interconnected relationship to the interconnected waterways of Turtle Island — and we cannot allow the life of our rivers and lakes to be put at risk without putting ourselves at risk.

Did you know a 25-year-old Enbridge pipeline crosses underneath our Grand River multiple times? And did you know an oil pipeline runs just east of Six Nations near Plank Road? Not many people do it seems. And that is frightening.

Who permitted it to go through our territories in days past? And what or how were the Six Nations compensated for that?

This should be common knowledge among all families at Six Nations, no matter what faction or political group you align your mind with. Granted the decision would have been made before to the new “free, prior and informed consent” age of Trudeau and the UNDRIP — but the point is, Enbridge is here.

Segments of Enbridge’s pipeline systems that cross our territory, also known as Lines 9,10 and 11, are interconnected to a greater pipeline system that now includes the Dakota Access Pipeline. And will include the proposed Energy East pipeline our cousins in Kahnawake and Kahnesatake are standing up against as well.

It now appears we’ve been asleep at the wheel over here in the “Big Six” when it comes to pipelines.

It’s bad enough that the previous political landscape didn’t require corporations to inform or consult with First Nations about where they were going to put these things.

But did you know that our very own local political representatives have been presently engaged in discussions with Enbridge?

Although both the SNEC and HDI sent official statements denouncing the Dakota Access Pipeline, documents posted publicly via the National Energy Board indicate both have been signing agreements on behalf of the people of Six Nations and, we assume, are receiving some form of compensation for issuing “consent” of some form.

Enbridge told the NEB, “HDI emailed Enbridge a signed archaeology agreement indicating interest in continued dialogue regarding environmental participation on the project,” on February 8th, 2016.

Even worse is a note regarding Enbridge proceedings with our Six Nations Elected Council, April 8, 2016 ”In person meeting scheduled to discuss draft Line 10 capacity funding agreement and long-term relationship.”

Gigantic corporations like Energy Transfer Partners, Enbridge, Kinder Morgan and TransCanada pipelines are all intertwined like snakes and supporting one, for any reason at all,  is like supporting them all.

When we stand hand in hand with our cousins in Standing Rock, Kanesatake, Sarnia, or anywhere else along the path of these “black snakes” it would be nice to be able offer that hand in spirit and truth, knowing our community has not compromised and taken money from Enbridge for anything. Not one red cent.

It would be nice if our hands were clean. But when we extend our hand of support to our cousins in Standing Rock, Kahnesatake and Sarnia — are we armed with weaponry in the form of consent? Signed engagement agreements that have whittled away sovereignty letter by letter until corporate bullying and dangling carrots lure us from our Creator given responsibility?

It would seem we are committing national acts of lateral violence against other indigenous communities if we commit one signature to pipelines.

Because although US President Barak Obama made the call to halt DAPL construction on federal lands until the process can be given a full review, as of Tuesday a helicopter and 100 state officers were sent into Standing Rock armed with loaded assault rifles, aimed them at land defenders and arrested journalists who were documenting the incident.

Journalists for Unicorn Riot were told by land defenders during those arrests officers were pointing those loaded guns straight at them.

Unicorn Riot journalists also stated local police posted pro-pipeline memes to their official social media accounts.

Why is there increasing security surrounding construction of the DAPL? To that effect, why hasn’t the construction stopped?

And we have to ask ourselves — what part has our “free, prior and informed consent” played in building this interconnected system of waterways, corporations and pipelines?

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