Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Challenges. Discussion »
STANDOFF, ALBERTA - There was a real standoff Friday night in Standoff, Alberta, on the Blood Indian Reserve. Subsequently, three Blood Indian women were arrested for protesting at a hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, exploration site.
Protester at Blood Indian Reserve in Standoff, Alberta
Fracking involves injecting a mixture of chemicals, water and sand into the ground to help release natural gas and oil. The company says it may undertake fracking if the drilling proves successful.
The Blood Tribe Council entered into an agreement with the Murphy Oil Company in September 2010 that allows for the oil company to begin exploration.
The three women spent the night in jail before being charged on Saturday morning with intimidation under the Canadian Criminal Code Section 423, subsection 1. (g). The three women are tribal members of the Blood Tribe.
The three who were charged are Lois Frank, Jill Crop Eared Wolf and Elle-Mia Tail Feathers. There were other protesters on site, but these three were the only ones arrested.
The women are part of the Kainai Earth Watch, a group that has been advocating stopping fracking due to the major threat to human health, wildlife, and livestock. Further, the Kainai Earth Watch believes there will be irreversible damage to the land and water supply on the Blood Indian Reserve and surrounding areas.
“We were peacefully protesting behind the rope when we were arrested,”
said Lois Frank, a former professor at the University of Lethbridge where she taught criminal justice. Frank also previously served as the chair of the police commission for the Blood Tribe.
The protesters concerns are two-fold according to Frank. "We are concerned about the environment and health of our people," she commented to Native News Network on Sunday afternoon.
“I feel the tribal officials sold out to the oil company,”
Frank told Native News Network on Sunday afternoon. "There was no vote; there was no referendum. Tribal officials signed an agreement with Murphy Oil without getting a vote from the people."
"Negotiations are underway between the band council and Murphy Oil so that protests at the site can occur legally," said Blood Tribe Police Chief Lee Boyd.
The three women who were arrested will be tried at the Cardston, Alberta courthouse on Monday, September 19, 2011. One condition of their release on Saturday was that they agree to stay away from the protest site or face a fine of $1,500 and up to one-year in jail.
revised 10:26 am edt; posted September 12, 2011 6:00 am edt
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