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This weekend the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) and OKT hosted As Long As the Rivers Flow: Coming Back to the Treaty Relationship in our Time, a conference intended to spark a meaningful conversation about how we balance economic development, Aboriginal rights and care for the earth.
OKT and ACFN proudly welcomed human rights luminary Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa as the keynote speaker. Other speakers included Chief Allan Adam and Eriel Deranger of ACFN, and John Olthuis and Bob Rae of OKT.
Their speeches addressed the very real impacts of oil sands development on ACFN and other First Nations and the challenge in balancing economic development with the protection of treaty rights and the environment.
At OKT, we believe that all Canadians are treaty partners. Archbishop Tutu spoke eloquently (and humorously) about the need for us to remember we are all connected and we must move forward on the path to Treaty renewal together. Treaties are not just our past, they are also our future.
We hope this conference begins a discussion about how to honour the treaties to ensure the best and most just economic and environmental outcomes for all.
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