Indigenous rights and the climate wins over largest open pit mine in Canada

Teck withdrawing its application for the Frontier tar sands project, the largest ever proposed open pit mine, is a win for Indigenous rights, sovereignty and the climate. The withdrawal is a signal that the antiquated fossil fuel economy is no longer viable even despite the political backing and support. 

Our communities need a just transition, not more fossil fuel resource extraction. We need to be in charge of our own futures, lands, and job opportunities that work to solve the climate crisis, address inequality, and respect our rights and sovereignty as Indigenous Peoples. 

The climate emergency is a real emergency. As part of addressing this we must move away from extractive industries and uplift Indigenous-led solutions that value reciprocal relationship with the ecosystems and each other. The Canadian government has promised Truth and Reconciliation and a Just Transition Act but still continues to back and support projects that take us future from achieving these goals and undermines our communities’ rights and title. 

Chief Gerry Cheezie of Smith’s Landing First Nation, a downstream community who did not sign an Impact Benefit Agreement (IBA) related to Frontier and opposed the project, emphasized, 

Despite the 14 Indigenous communities that signed IBA’s and provincial enthusiasm, this project remains economically unviable. These systems of private agreements and corporate collusion are no longer working.

Understandably we all want prosperity for our communities, but it is clear this will no longer be found in more oil and gas and extractive projects. 

As the only Indigenous-led climate justice organization in so-called Canada, we want to thank all those that stood with us in the Reject TECK campaign, including UBCIC, Tiny House Warriors, and countless frontline voices that joined us in standing up for our peoples, lands and the climate. For years, Indigenous Peoples in so-called Canada have been working tirelessly through direct action, regulatory participation, legal challenges, and direct negotiations with the government, and yet we are consistently forced to fight for the protection of our inherent rights, sovereignty, and survival of our communities. 

Though our Reject Teck campaign has been a success, our work does not end here. We must all stand united for our future generations and in solidarity with communities like the Wet’suwet’en stopping the Coastal GasLink pipeline; Coast Salish & Secwepemc opposing the TMX pipeline; Sipeken’katik - Mi’kmaq who are holding strong against Alton Gas; Grassy Narrows continuing to fight forestry and hydro, and countless other Indigenous communities threatened by extractive projects that undermine our rights and survival.

Visit Indigenous Climate Action to learn more.