Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

"We have a responsibility to future generations to assert our sovereignty," said Amanda Lickers, who hails from the Seneca-Haudenosaunee community. (Photo courtesy of submedia)

"We have a responsibility to future generations to assert our sovereignty," said Amanda Lickers, who hails from the Seneca-Haudenosaunee community. (Photo courtesy of submedia)

'No Consent': First Nations Women Shut Down Tar Sands Pipeline Hearing

'This is Kanien’ke, this is Mohawk Land, and we are tired of occupation'

Sarah Lazare

Chanting "No tar sands on stolen native lands," First Nations women disrupted and shut down a Montreal public hearing on the controversial Energy East pipeline on Wednesday night, the latest in a resistance campaign against the massive project proposed by the Alberta-based TransCanada Corporation.

"What we want TransCanada to understand is that no means no. This is Kanien’ke, this is Mohawk Land, and we are tired of occupation, we are tired of environmental disaster," declared Amanda Lickers, who hails from the Seneca-Haudenosaunee community, at Wednesday's hearing. "This is our land and we are going to protect it."

Four Indigenous women took the stage and hoisted a banner reading, "No consent, no pipelines" as dozens of protesters cheered them on. The action successfully shut down the hearing, and while police were called, no arrests were made.

If approved, Energy East would transport over one million barrels of crude every day from Alberta to Quebec and New Brunswick. Indigenous communities, students, workers, and climate campaigners across Canada have waged sustained resistance to Energy East and other pipelines over concerns that any increase to Canada's already booming tar sands extraction and shipping industries will bring further harm to waterways, ecosystems, communities, and the climate.

Energy East has already been delayed by concerns over its environmental impact, and on Thursday, environmental group Équiterre handed a petition bearing nearly 90,000 signatures to five federal election campaign managers calling for the future national government to prevent TransCanada from building Energy East.

The organizers of Wednesday's protest, who describe themselves as unaffiliated grassroots Indigenous campaigners, hope that the pipeline can ultimately be stopped through direct actions. But, they argue, the public input process regarding the proposed conduit is not an avenue for real change.

Wednesday's hearing was organized by the National Energy Board (NEB), which is allegedly tasked with regulating pipelines. The agency has framed a series of hearings as a chance for the public to weigh in on the venture, but many charge the process is deeply flawed, given that at least half of the NEB's board members formerly worked in the energy industry.

What's more, Lickers told Common Dreams, the hearings violate precolonial law encapsulated in the Haudenosaunee constitution. "The NEB doesn't even make the call. All they do is put a recommendation to the federal government," said Lickers. "We wanted to push home that this is a process of futility, and if we are going to stop pipelines, we need to move forward with direct action."

She added, "We have a responsibility to future generations to assert our sovereignty."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Protesting Fuel Poverty, People Tell UK Government to 'Keep Everyone Warm This Winter'

As energy bills—and fossil fuel profits—continue to soar, demonstrators around Britain demanded immediate action from Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and members of Parliament.

Kenny Stancil ·


'Turn Off the Tap on Plastic,' UN Chief Declares Amid Debate Over New Global Treaty

"Plastics are fossil fuels in another form," said U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, "and pose a serious threat to human rights, the climate, and biodiversity."

Kenny Stancil ·


EPA Urged to 'Finish the Job' After Latest Move to Protect Bristol Bay From Pebble Mine

"Local residents, scientists, and the broader public all agree that this is quite simply a bad place for a mine, and it is past time for the EPA to take Pebble off the table permanently," said one activist in Alaska.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Zero Tolerance for Corruption': Grijalva, Porter Demand Answers on Alleged Trump Pardon Bribery Scheme

The Democrats believe a real estate developer donated to a Trump-aligned super PAC in exchange for the pardons of two other men.

Julia Conley ·


Millions of Americans Lack Adequate Health Coverage, But the Pentagon Has a New Nuclear Bomber to Flaunt

"This ominous death machine, with its price tag of $750 million a pop, brings huge profits to Northrop Grumman but takes our society one more step down the road of spiritual death," peace activist Medea Benjamin said of the new B-21 Raider.

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo