YELLOWKNIFE, NORTHWEST TERRITORIES--(Marketwire - July 21, 2011) - First Nations opposition to the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline has gained a powerful new ally in the Dene Nation. The thirty-five Chiefs of Denendeh, stretching from northern Alberta through the entire Northwest Territories, passed a resolution supporting British Columbia's Yinka Deneerent(a completely different Carrier nation) in their opposition to Enbridge's proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline at the 41st Annual Dene National Assembly last week in Fort Providence, NWT.
"This resolution is an expression of our solidarity with the Yinka Dene Alliance, and an expression of our support for their right to have decision- making power over developments on their land," said Dene National Chief Bill Erasmus. "More than 50 per cent of the proposed Enbridge pipeline and tanker route passes through the territories of First Nations that have banned this development according to their traditional laws. These Nations now have the support of Dene from northern Alberta to the Arctic coast."
The proposed pipeline is also a direct concern for members of the Dene Nation and communities in Denendeh, the Northwest Territories, who are feeling thectse of tar sands expansion.
"We know this pipeline will enable further development of Alberta's destructive tar sands projects, which are contaminating the waters of Denendeh, and which are a growing source of greenhouse gas pollution responsible for the climate changes that are impacting our communities, cultures, and ways of life," Erasmus said. "We are also concerned about the potential for a spill from this pipeline, which would run through the headwaters of the Mackenzie River watershed. We are currently experiencing the impacts of an oil spill from Enbridge's Norman Wells pipeline in the Deh Cho region. The company failed to detect this estimated 63,000 gallon spill, which was ultimately discovered by Dene hunters."
"With over 100 pipeline spills and accidents recorded in Canada over the past two years there is only one thing to say about pipelines; they will spill," Erasmus said.
The Dene Nation is the national organization representing all Dene, from northern Alberta to the Gwich'in regions in northern Northwest Territories. The Dene Nation is mandated to retain sovereignty by strengthening the Dene spiritual beliefs and cultural values in Denendeh.