Press Release By
Mike Bruised Head: Member – Kainai Lethbridge Environmental Watch (KLEW)
Sunday September 11, 2011
It is a sad day when women are jailed then charged for protecting “Mother Earth”. On Friday September 9, 2011 three Blood Indian Women who are all members of the Blood Tribe were arrested and handcuffed for peacefully protesting at a hydraulic fracturing (fracking) exploration site on the Blood Reserve in southern Alberta.
The three women are Lois Frank, Jill Crop Eared Wolf and Elle- Mia Tail Feathers and the supporters were not informed of what the chargers were on until the early morning of Saturday September 10, 2011 at 7 a.m. Blood Tribe Chief Charles Weasel Head directed the charges levied on the women. They were charged with Intimidation under the Canadian Criminal Code Section 423, subsection 1. (g). The intimidation stems from the women protesting in a peaceful manner standing on tribal land protesting against Murphy Oil Company vehicles. The three women supposedly were confronting a huge semi truck with a driver twice the size of them. The other aspect of the charge directs that the women are not to be close to the drill site.
In a Canadian Press Release on Sunday September 11, 2011 it quoted “Blood Tribe Police Chief Lee Boyd says negotiations are underway between the band council and Murphy Oil so that protests at the site can occur legally”.
This statement is puzzling after tribal sources indicate that Chief Charles Weasel Head may acted independently with out full consultation with other members of council to lay the charges. The other aspect to the above news quote is why would any First Nations Chief and Council in Canada need to negotiate with oil companies regarding peaceful protests as it related to laying charges, aren’t chief and councils the ultimate tribal governments. One can interpret the quote as the chief asking for permission from the oil companies to withdraw the chares against the three women from the Blood Reserve. This is setting precedent on Indian Reserves in Canada, where outside corporations and in this case Murphy Oil to be allowed to start dictating and forcing First Nation Chief and Councils to lay chares against their band members. Are we turning into a “Corporate Reserve”?
Many tribal members have used the term “dictatorship” on the chief and some members of council. It has been reported by Band Members in the past year that they have been warned not to get involved or speak out against the two companies, Murphy Oil and Bowood who have been granted 300 hundred sections of tribal land for drilling purposes without any referendum or consultation with the tribal members prior to entering the massive land agreements. They have been further threatened if they do speak out they will be relieved of the jobs.
This is a sad time in Blood Tribe or “Kainai” history. The chief has awoken a sleeping giant that will not go back to sleep. The three courages and honorable women will be tried at the Cardston, Alberta courthouse on Monday September 19, 2011.