June 23, 2006
My Friends, Allies and Supporters,
I am writing you to ask for support on a very important issue that will affect us all. As you may or may not know, I am the co-founder and current director of the Arctic Indigenous Alliance. For the past few years a group of us have been trying to organize and gather voices for opposition to the proposed Mackenzie Gas Pipeline in the Canadian Western Arctic.
To give some brief history on the issue, this proposed development will spread across 2200 miles of pristine arctic land untouched yet in North America, to deliver 37 trillion cubic feet within 2 natural gas pipelines to fuel the Athabasca Tar Sands Oil Development in Northern Alberta. For most people, there is no knowledge out there that the tar sands development is and will be the dirtiest and most destructive oil development known and it will contribute devastatingly to more global climate change and impact the face of the Arctic. Also the reason for all this is that Canada needs to maintain its duties under the North American Free Trade Agreement for being the #1 importer of Oil and Gas to the US, and not everyone knows that it’s not the Middle East that supplies the USA but Canada.
In the next few weeks there will be a sponsored event at the Smithsonian Folk Life Festival will be held on the Mall in Washington, DC. One of the main exhibits will highlight the "productiveness" of the oil and gas industry in Alberta. They will be showcasing how the Tar Sands will be a good thing for the economy, for the international relation between the United States and Canada, and of course to benefit more to the oil corporations. This exhibit will be a sponsored event by governments and big oil groups, and will take place between the dates of June 30th to July 11th, 2006. You can be assured they will NOT mention the Environmental impact and human impact this will entail to the arctic and importantly, to the world. At the same time, leadership bodies within the Canadian governments and pro-developers will be lobbying congress for support and will be conducting sponsored events at the Canadian Embassy. We are in a position where we can make a strong stand and raise the issue of climate change to the next level. By looking at dates and availabilities of some key action members, the dates that we are looking at for demonstrations will be July 5-7th.
Now, there has been a call out by several organizations willing to counteract this by going to DC to protest and build a stronger message about this devastating action. Our organization has recently been given support by Oil Change International, Rainforest Action Network, and The Ruckus Society to send in an action team to work in DC and I am definitely going to represent our organization and prepare for our actions. There will be others from Alberta and the Arctic that will be going down to participate at a later date.
I am asking you to please, please support us by either participating with us or sending this message out to folks who can join us. I realize that this is very last minute but we are in need of strong allies willing to join us in our stand. We are working in collaboration with the Natural Resources Defense Council to organize things on the ground and many, many groups are coming out to support. Please get in touch with me if you are interested in helping in any way that is possible. If you are in the bay area, there will be some folks volunteering to make banners within the next few days to send out to DC for us. Let me know if you are interested.
Mussi Cho/Haih K’eh- Thank You
Founder and Director
Arctic Indigenous Alliance