Native News Network Staff in Native Challenges. Discussion »
JASPER, ALBERTA The 'Freedom Train' has left the station and it is making its way from Canada's Pacific Coast and end up in Toronto.
The Yinka Dene Alliance and other First
Nations want to see the Canadian Parliament ban
tar sands pipelines and tankers on their lands and waters.
The Freedom Train is a cross-country journey of the Yinka Dene Alliance, a coalition of First Nations from northern British Columbia, which will host rallies to voice its opposition to the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and tanker project.
All across Canada, various local First Nations and community groups will join the Yinka Dene Alliance at these events, with dancing and the Wild Spirit drummers. Joe Abraham from Big Horn will lead the water ceremony, where water from different regions of Canada will be mixed to symbolize that water connects all people.
The Yinka Dene Alliance delegation will end the Freedom Train on May 9, as it takes its message directly to Enbridge's corporate leadership at the company's annual shareholders' meeting in Toronto on May 9.
The Yinka Dene Alliance is sending 30 people on the Freedom Train ranging in age from youths of 16 to elders up to age 67. The Yinka Dene delegation will be joined on the train by representatives of other First Nations who are also deeply involved in the fight to keep their territories and waters free from Enbridge's proposed tar sands oil pipelines and supertankers.
Here are two of the representatives on the Freedom Train:
Chief Jackie Thomas - Saik'uz
Chief Jackie Thomas, Saik'uz
Jackie Thomas is of the frog clan at Saik'uz. She is a mother of four and proud grandmother of one. Jackie has been working for her community for over 25 years in various capacities. Currently she completing her 6th year as the elected chief and still hunts, fishes, collects berries, and medicines in the territory.
Jasmine Thomas, Yinka Dene youth representative, Saik'uz
Jasmine Thomas is of Carrier/Cree descent raised in her mother Geraldine Thomas-Flurer's traditional territory of Saik'uz and is a member of the frog clan (steward of the water). Taught by her late maternal great grandmother, Sophie Thomas, traditional healer for the Yinka Dene, or People of the Land, she continues the ancient practice of traditional medicines with her grandmother Minnie Thomas within her community. She has studied Environmental Planning at the University of Northern BC and has also attended the Greenland-based International Training Centre of Indigenous Peoples. She is also a youth advocate and organizer for the Yinka Dene Alliance on a broad range of social, environmental and climate justice issues. Jasmine has also been involved in the Canadian Indigenous Tar Sands Campaign with the Indigenous Environmental Network.
Tuesday, May 1
5:00 pm - Feast/Gathering. Westmount Community Center 10970 127 Street, Edmonton, Alberta
Wednesday, May 2
9:00 am - Check out of hotel. Ramada Conference Centre, 11834 Kingsway Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta
10:00 am - Press Conference and water ceremony. Ramada Conference Centre, 11834 Kingsway Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta
12:00 Noon - Rally Alberta Legislature building, 10800 97 Avenue NW Edmonton AB
1:00 pm - March to Enbridge office, Jasper Ave NW, Edmonton, Alberta
11:45 pm - Train leaves Edmonton. VIA Rail station, 12360 121 Street Northwest, Edmonton, Alberta
Thursday, May 3
7:45 am - Train stops in Saskatoon via rail station, Unit 38, 1701 Chappell Drive, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
7:45 am - Water ceremony. VIA Rail station, Unit 38, 1701 Chappell Drive, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
8:10 am - Train leaves Saskatoon. VIA Rail station, Unit 38, 1701 Chappell Drive, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
8:30 pm -Train arrives in Winnipeg. VIA Rail station, 123 Main Street, #146, Winnipeg, Manitoba
8:30 pm - Check into hostel/hotel. HI Hostel, 330 Kennedy Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Other hotel to be determined.
Friday, May 4
6:00 pm - Feast/Gathering. Thunderbird House, 715 Main Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba
8:00 pm - Panel discussion. Thunderbird House, 715 Main Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Saturday, May 5
1:00 pm - Welcome/water ceremony. The Forks, 1 Forks Market Road, Winnipeg, Manitoba
1:00-11:00 pm - Powwow (independent event). The University of Manitoba, Investors Group Athletic Centre, 75 Sidney Smith Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba
5:00 pm - Mingle/dinner for purchase/film screening. HI Hostel, 330 Kennedy Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba
10:00 am - Check out of Hostel/hotel. HI Hostel, 330 Kennedy Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba Other hotel to be determined.
10:30 pm - Train leaves Winnipeg. VIA Rail station, 123 Main Street, #146, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Monday, May 7 - On Train All Day
Tuesday, May 8
9:30 am - Train arrives in Toronto. VIA Rail station, Union Station, 65 Front Street West, Toronto, Ontario
9:30 am - Check into hotel. Strathcona Hotel, 60 York Street, Toronto, Ontario
5:00 pm - Small reception for lead YDA people and local government. Planet Traveller, 357 College St, Toronto, Ontario
8:00 pm - Freedom Train Solidarity Concert. The Great Hall, 1087 Queen St W, Toronto, Toronto Division, Ontario
Wednesday, May 9
11:00 am - Press Conference and water ceremony. Metro Hall Rotunda, 55 John Street, Toronto, Ontario
11:45 am - Freedom Rally - No Tar Sands Pipelines in Our Lands. Lawn of the Metro Hall, 55 John Street, Toronto, Ontario
1:00 pm - March to Enbridge AGM. Le Meridien King Edward, 37 King St E, Toronto, Ontario
1:30 pm - Enbridge AGM. Le Meridien King Edward, 37 King St E, Toronto, Ontario
Friday, May 11
11:00am - Check out of hotel. Strathcona Hotel, 60 York Street, Toronto, Ontario
3:15pm - YDA flight leaves from Toronto. Toronto Pearson Airport, 6301 Silver Dart Drive, Mississauga, Ontario
8:39pm - YDA flight arrives in Prince George. Prince George Airport
posted May 1, 2012 7:57 am edt