March 20, 2019

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First Nations elders to get full hearing at NEB

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/11/2015 (1208 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

MANITOBA indigenous elders who were warned to limit their evidence at National Energy Board hearings are instead hosting the board at a traditional ceremony, where they can talk freely about a massive proposed Enbridge oil pipeline.

The turnabout is the First Nations' way to honour the elders and give the NEB an opportunity to hear their story in a peaceful setting.

"It's going to be primarily listening for them," said Sagkeeng elder Dave Courchene Jr., who is the spokesman for the elders' council at the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, which is hosting the event.

Today, the public is invited to the Turtle Lodge on Sagkeeng First Nation, 145 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/11/2015 (1208 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

MANITOBA indigenous elders who were warned to limit their evidence at National Energy Board hearings are instead hosting the board at a traditional ceremony, where they can talk freely about a massive proposed Enbridge oil pipeline.

The turnabout is the First Nations' way to honour the elders and give the NEB an opportunity to hear their story in a peaceful setting.

"It's going to be primarily listening for them," said Sagkeeng elder Dave Courchene Jr., who is the spokesman for the elders' council at the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, which is hosting the event.

Today, the public is invited to the Turtle Lodge on Sagkeeng First Nation, 145 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg.

There, at a building off Highway 11, elders will open the ceremony by smoking pipes in prayer at 10 a.m. That's followed with a water ceremony where participants are each given a sip of spring water to honour the circle of life. A feast at noon opens the afternoon for speeches.

"We want to share with everyone the reality of our world, to strengthen our voice through the ceremonies of our people... Ceremonies that reinforce the connection to the land," Courchene said.

He will deliver the statement that would have been made to formal NEB hearing, if the board had allowed it. The board's protocol at hearings in Winnipeg — Nov. 30, Dec. 8 and Dec. 9 — would limit elders to recalling oral stories, with no scientific or technical context.

That proved impossible for the province's indigenous cultures, Courchene said.

Two senior female elders, Florence Paynter from Sandy Bay First Nation and Mary Maytwayashing from Lake Manitoba First Nation, will give the women's perspective. AMC Grand Chief Derek Nepinak will wrap up at 4 p.m.

Enbridge's pipeline would run from Hardisty in northern Alberta across the Canadian Prairies to Gretna, Man. It continues into the United States between Neche, N.D. and Superior Wis. With it, the oil giant would double its capacity, carrying 760,000 barrels of oil a day.

alexandra.paul@freepress.mb.ca

Alexandra Paul

Alexandra Paul
Reporter

Alexandra is a veteran news reporter who has covered stories for the Winnipeg Free Press since 1987. She held the medical beat for nearly 17 years, and today specializes in coverage of Indigenous-related issues. She is among the most versatile journalists on the paper’s staff.

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