Brief, Modern History of
1979 - 1995
Until the winter of 1979-80 the Lubicons lived in an isolated, inaccessible area relatively untouched by the ravages of industrialization.† They had no phones, TV, radios, electricity, running water or newspapers.† They lived by hunting, trapping and food gathering - pretty much as their people had lived for countless generations.† They lived in log houses.† They collected rain and melted snow for water.† They used horse drawn wagons and dog sleds for transportation.† They tread softly on the earth believing it would support future generations only if they cared for it properly.†††††††††††††††††††
Starting with the completion of an all-weather road into their traditional area in 1978-79, the Lubicons have been under constant siege by the Alberta Provincial government and dozens of transnational resource companies seeking to exploit the valuable natural resources that their unceded traditional territory contains - first oil, then trees and most recently natural gas.† This massive resource exploitation activity has devastated Lubicon lands and the Lubicon people.† It has chased away the animals upon which the Lubicon people depend for food.† It has damaged the vegetation upon which they depend for food and medicine.† It has polluted the water they drink and the air they breathe.† It threatens to clear-cut the forest.† And it had caused Lubicon people themselves to become sick and die.
Whatís been happening to the Lubicon people is something which they find very hard to understand.† They donít understand how white people can destroy everything and still have anything left.† The question posed by the Lubicon people and their struggle is a profound one.
At the heart of the Lubicon struggle is a jurisdictional dispute - a question of who rightfully owns Lubicon lands and resources.† Itís also a struggle between powerful self-interested transnational companies and people everywhere concerned with abuse of human rights and environmental degradation.
Occupying an isolated and inaccessible area, the Lubicons were missed when representatives of the government of Canada negotiated treaties of 1899 with the indigenous peoples in the surrounding area.† Under Canadian law, negotiation of a treaty is the method for the taking of aboriginal land.† To date, no treaty has been negotiated with the Lubicon people.† Consequently, even under obviously self-serving and ethnocentric Canadian law, the Lubicons have never ceded their ownership of their traditional lands in any legally or historically recognized way.