There are always contradictions in human relationships. What you look forward to sometimes brings unexpected results. In this particular case, I am referring to a First Nation reserve in the middle of Alberta`s oil sands region. The area is called “Beverley Hills”, a take-off  I am sure of Hollywood in California, and in Alberta is a street of new homes and all that goes with them. In addition a group of First Nation-owned businesses work with  local energy companies and produce 100 million dollars of annual revenue for the 700 person community 65 Km north of Fort McMurray. There is little or no unemployment.

But there is a problem with the environment. The neighbouring Athabasca River near the community is too polluted to drink, you cannot eat the fish, and there are too many mines, roads and gates to hunt freely. The Fort McKay chief, Jim Boucher, and his F.N. has decided to block development of the proposed Dover Oil sands project adjacent to an expanse of reserve land called Moose Lake used for hunting and trapping . This land is not enclosed by the oil sands development. The Fort McKay F.N. wants to create a 20Km buffer zone on property leased by the Dover Oil sands and controlled by Petro China Co. Ltd. The contradictions are obvious. The land, now Canada was essentially occupied by the local F.N. group and conquered over a period of time by Europeans. Treaties were signed and the land assigned to the resident F.N. nation were deemed good for them because of the hunting and fishing and essentially useless to the European immigrants. As it turned out, the land is rich in resources to produce energy for Canada, but incompatible with the hunting and fishing rights assigned to the locals. If the government signing authorities had realized the riches that lay underground the deal would never had been made, but the present agreement must be followed. If the F.N.s want to hunt and fish they have to pay the price and take back the land for the original use.
When the Germans,Dutch,Italians and others came to Canada they came as immigrants and while they maintained cultural ties to their mother countries, the idea was to live amoung Canadians and not form conclaves of their old nationalities. All the F.N.s were here when the Europeans came and opted to live, or coerced to live,in reserves in order to maintain their culture. The provision of health and education benefits suffered but now with oil and gas money, a remedy became available..

Contradictions contradictions and more contradictions

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Name: Murray Rubin

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