Who are ‘The Enbridge 18?’ A call to crowdsource Northern Gateway’s Aboriginal partners

This week, the Canadian oil and gas company Enbridge — operator of “the world’s longest, most sophisticated crude oil and liquids transportation system” — released a statement claiming that, with regard to Aboriginal support of the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline project, it has confirmed that

Almost 60 percent of eligible Aboriginal communities along the [desired route], representing 60 per cent of the First Nations’ population (and 80 per cent of the combined First Nations’ and Metis’ population), have agreed to be part owners of the proposed Northern Gateway pipelines … Half of the equity units taken up went to groups in British Columbia, and the other half to groups in Alberta.

According to a CBC.ca report, an estimated 18 communities may have accepted the deal thus far. However, when it came to naming those agreeable communities, Enbridge was tight-lipped, stating it is “contractually prohibited from disclosing the identities of our Aboriginal partners at this time. Public disclosure is a matter for individual communities.”

On one level, it seems that figuring out who constitutes ‘the Enbridge 18’ would be a more or less simple process of elimination. For example, the Coastal First Nations alliance issued a press release just hours after Enbridge did, counter-claiming that

“[Of] all the First Nations on the pipeline route west of Prince George [that we have checked with], only two First Nations have signed equity agreements,” says [CFN executive director Art] Sterritt … Sterritt says the numbers being bandied about by Enbridge are flawed. “Enbridge expanded its pipeline corridor by 80 kilometres to increase its numbers. Many of these communities that have signed on are located outside of the areas that will be most impacted by a spill.”

Meanwhile, according to an April 3, 2012 Vancouver Sun article, dozens of BC First Nations “along the pipeline route, Fraser River and coast … [have] signed their names to [the ‘Save the Fraser‘] declaration calling for an ‘unbroken wall of opposition’ to pipelines and oil tankers along B.C.’s coast.” The map shown above (produced by the affiliated Yinka Dene Alliance) depicts the boundaries of that wall.

That same Sun piece indicated it’s a different story in Alberta, in that most First Nations there “have not said whether they support or reject the 1,172-kilometre pipeline.” The only one prepared to go on the record — the 2,000-member Cree community of Driftpile First Nation — did so to register their opposition to Northern Gateway.

On the Métis side of things, opinion appears split, at least in British Columbia: the BC Métis Federation shared its “extreme disappointment” back in April and more recently over the decision by Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC) to sign an equity deal with Enbridge.

But beyond this, the picture remains incomplete. Which, to me, seems like a prime opportunity for some investigation of the crowdsourcing variety.  That’s where the widely-distributed individual efforts of the many are pooled together toward one goal.

In this case, my open call for assistance asks that anyone who should happen to live in/near an Alberta/BC First Nation falling within 80 km of the proposed pipeline route (or know of someone else who does) is asked to please confirm/deny whether said First Nation is one of the 18 to have supposedly signed an Enbridge agreement.

If/when you do, I’d ask that you tell me so in the comments section below; I will draw on them here, amending the master list as I go.

5 thoughts on “Who are ‘The Enbridge 18?’ A call to crowdsource Northern Gateway’s Aboriginal partners

  1.   I
    have been doing a bit of research on which communities Enbridge has
    included and found this. The Prince George Metis Community Association
    along with the New Caledonia Metis Association are chartered members of
    the Metis Nation British Columbia (MNBC). Both are listed separately in
    Enbridge’s Aboriginal engagement report and so is the Metis Nation
    British Columbia. In the report Enbridge states:”The Métis Nation
    British Columbia represents 37 Métis chartered communities in BC.
    Geo-referenced mapping for the Métis Nation British Columbia regions was
    unavailable at the time of this Update, so these regions’ maps in
    relation to the pipeline RoW have not been included.” Not once did they
    mention where the 37 communities are yet they do tell where the Prince
    George and New Caledonia communities are.

    Since Prince George and New Caledonia are registered memberships it
    appears that Enbridge has decided that this can also include the MNBC.
    This really doesn’t make sense, why include MNBC when they are dealing
    with the two communities that are registered with them already. MNBC is one that has agreed to the equity package.
    I am including the web sites where I have found this information
    Enbridge Northern Gateway Project Update to Section 52 Application
    Volume 5A Aboriginal Engagement Volume 5B Aboriginal Traditional
    Knowledge June 2011 Pages 5-279 – 5 -288 http://www.northerngateway.ca/assets/pdf/application/Volume%205A%20-%20Aboriginal%20Engagement%20Update%20-%20June%202011.pdf Metis communities within the Metis Nation British Columbia http://mnbc.ca/contact/communities.asp http://www.northerngateway.ca/assets/pdf/application/Volume%205A%20-%20Aboriginal%20Engagement%20Upd http://www.northerngateway.ca

  2.  http://www.princegeorgecitizen.com/article/20120616/PRINCEGEORGE0101/306169991/-1/princegeorge/band-faces-angry-members

    RE: ‘Enbridge 18’ – this article gives some details as to grievances of some members of the Mcleod Lake Indian Band (BC) against their Chief and Council for apparently signing an agreement with Enbridge…

  3. I am happy to read that some Indigenous people have taken a stand-against- their chief and council. Because signing with Enbridge, I could only say it is like signing away deeds, only to give back to the devil. Both actions are not needed on these coastal (BC) and mountain lands. Enbridge must pack up, and leave these peaceful lands into more capable hands. Poisoning, or taking the rivers, lands, and animals, from Indigenous peoples’ care, are not an answer to stimulate their Canadian economy, ever.

  4. The Nisga’a and the Gitxsan have each issued statements declaring their opposition to the proposal by Enbridge.  This is an area not included in your map.

    And this excerpt from the Gitxsan found here http://www.gitxsan.com/news.html?start=15;


    January 19, 2012


    Gitsegukla BC – On January 17th, 2012 in the Community of
    Gitsegukla, the Simgiigyet (Hereditary Chiefs) of the Gitxsan Huwilp
    (Houses) met to resolve issues related to recent court proceedings and
    the Enbridge agreement that have been causing difficulty within our
    community recently. The Gimlitxwit (meeting of the Chiefs) is the true
    Gitxsan form of decision making. The Gimlitxwit involves consensus
    building face to face dialogue and a careful review of the facts and
    relevant information. A strong turnout of 51 Gitxsan Huwilp met and
    reached the following decisions. […]the Simgiigyet reviewed the the Enbridge Aboriginal Ownership Agreement
    signed on December 2nd, 2011 to decide whether to ratify it or withdraw
    from it. The potential benefits and risks of the agreement and the
    Enbridge Northern Gateway Project were discussed and weighed carefully.
    After the review, the Simgiigyet decided by a way of decision 78% to
    withdraw from the agreement.

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