Honor the Treaties Tour

by christinafoster on February 28, 2014 - 1:41pm

Christina Foster

Feburary 27th,2014


Laura Shillington

Section 0005


Honor the Treaties Tour



In 2014 a change was made. Neil Young along with other musical talents have raised awareness to the mistreatment of the land and the treaties of the Native people all cross North America. Neil Young’s main focus was to bring awareness to the issues going on in Alberta where tar sand extraction methods are causing very great problems to the health, land, water, climate and wildlife of all those living on the land that is being mistreated. I am for the tour for many reasons which include the fact that treaties are being broken and people are physically being harmed as their land is destroyed for profit of the government and not for them.


The project of the Athabasca Oil Sands is a great way for the government to make money but at what cost? The way the government is extracting the oil from the earth is causing harm to everything around it. People who live on the front lines of the project are developing health issues, they can not leave their homes to get a breath f fresh air because it is polluted by emissions of gases like sulphur dioxide and hydrogen sulphide which causes respiratory problems in all those living there, as well as the animals that are surrounding the land. Since the project to extract the sand oils has been going on there has been a higher amount of cancer in those living in Fort Chipewyan.  It has also been found (in 2006 study) that moose were found in to have as high as 453 times the acceptable levels of arsenic in their systems.

Over the years many environmental protection laws have been broken as well as the treaties that were formed in 1899. First Nations in Alberta signed a treaty with Queen Victoria that gave them the right to practice their traditions. This treaty is the basis for a legal challenge with Shell’s oil mining. First nations are trying to fight the expansion of its Jackpine tar sand mine by using this treaty as proof that they are assaulting their fights as first Nations people, and those rights are protected under Treaty 8. Expanding the Jackpine would destroy over fifty square miles of land and begin mining portions of Canada’s most important watershed, Muskeg River. Because of the expansions the people who live right downstream of the project would be even more affected by the pollution it would cause. According to the treaty, it will remain valid “as long as the sun shines, the grass grows, and the rivers flow” so basically the treaty is valid forever. Honoring the treaties meaning honoring basic agreements: to protect a way of life. Since the treaty was signed in 1899, every attempt to assimilate and erase the culture of the First Nations has been made, completely defying the treaty. Destruction of land, children being relocated to residential school and many more things have been done in an attempt to get rid of their culture.

Because of all the things that have just been listed I am for the Honor the Treaties Tour. There is controversy because Neil Young hasn’t lived in Canada for over 30 years and because the expansion would cause a great amount of money for the government but all those go out the window when you look at all the damage it is causing. Neil Young may not of been in Canada for a great deal of time but he is putting his efforts towards helping these people get enough money for another court case to be opened. Neil is using his fame to bring awareness and help to the people in need, and he is bringing awareness to all the treaties that have been violated in all of north America, so the fact that people are against it because he not a “canandian” don’t fully know all the details about the horrifying subject. Neil went to go and visit the Athabasca Sand Oils to see firsthand the harm it is bringing to the people living around there.


If it wasn’t for the tour, thousands of people would never have about what was happening, and the First Nation people never would’ve had enough money to go against the court again. Going against the court again may not be able to totally get rid of the problems going on but it can help stop the problems from getting any bigger. From the awareness that was caused by the tour maybe it can even stop problems from happening in the future. Honor the Treaties Tour may be going against the government but it is for the people.