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Lubicon Cree Member Details Alberta Oil Sands Pollution

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The Lubicon Cree have been caught in the oilsands crossfire for decades. Now burst pipelines and encroaching wildfires are further compromising their environment.

Here, Melina Laboucan-Massimo, a member of the Lubicon Cree First Nation and a climate and energy campaigner with Greenpeace, gives a poignant description of the impact that oil and gas development has had on her people and their lands in northern Alberta.

“My community has dealt with three decades of massive oil and gas development,” she says in a gentle voice. “And this has been without the consent of the people or without the recognition of protection of the human rights which should be protected under section 35 of the Canadian constitution, which protects aboriginal and treaty rights.”

Her voice cracks as she describes her motivation to do environmental work, stemming as it does from seeing what is happening in her own community.

“How many more communities have to be threatened?” she asks. “And how many more communities have to have their lives put at risk for this type of development? And who is it really benefitting? It’s not going to benefit any of us in the end.”

A calm, cool voice in the wilderness speaks.

OIL ON LUBICON LAND: A PHOTO ESSAY