A December 7th, 2016 CBC article by John Paul Tasker caught my attention this morning on Twitter (H/T @PipelineAction). It had the title “Environmentalists have impoverished First Nations.”

Yet, when I read the article, I found that where First Nations embraced the development of such natural resources as oil and gas (never mind forestry, fishing and mining), the reverse was actually the case — which has not always been so.

  • First, there were the anti-fur campaigns in the 1970s which eventually destroyed the Native way of life, not only for those who were hunters and trappers, but furriers and retailers as well.
  • Then, there was the anti-seal campaigns both off the coast of Newfoundland and throughout Europe.
  • Now, there is the 2014 pro-whaling fiasco by the anti-whaling Greenpeace. Known for stopping the whale hunt world-wide, Greenpeace recently supported the killing of a whale by the Clyde River Inuit in Nunavut even though whales are endangered in the Arctic. Given the destruction of the fur and seal trades of the past, I believe this latest turn of face is pure political theatre to try to turn public opinion in Greenpeace’s favour. The problem is that if whales are endangered in the Arctic, pretty soon there won’t be any left to hunt, traditional native values and way of life notwithstanding.

Anyway, the good news is that times are changing because there are forward-looking First Nations Chiefs who know that there can be a balance between care of the environment and providing jobs and wealth.

Interesting Read…