March Announcer: We have here Chief Rueben George. He’s shaking his head, but this man has been around the world protecting Mother Earth. His mother is Amy Marie George, and she is the one that said- we call her “Tah”- she is the one that said, “Warrior up! It’s time to warrior up!” So we’re gonna ask him to warrior up and share a few words with us. (Native language spoken, good-hearted laughs in the background)
Chief Rueben George comes from the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, (Eastern Burrard Inlet, BC) and he’s fighting against Kinder Morgan and the pipelines. As a matter of fact, he just came back from Texas a few days ago. He went to the main office of Kinder Morgan in Texas, and he had a strong message to Kinder Morgan. And I’ll let you share that message, Chief Rueben George. (Native spoken) Please welcome, Chief Rueben George from the Tsleil-Waututh Nation!
Chief Rueben George: (Native spoken) In Houston, Texas, you see some of these refineries right here, and you know, we’re only walking a distance of three miles. In Houston, Texas, right along the residential area, they have 51 miles of refineries. If you take a look on Google maps and look down here in Washington State, even, I bet there’s not even over 500 refineries that give out emissions. In Houston, Texas, in a 51-mile stretch, they have 21,000 emission plants. This is where these owners of these companies live. This is where they set up their camp.
So we went down to Kinder Morgan, (to) their AGM, their Annual General Meeting, after we went to New York and spoke at Wall Street. We ended up talking to 10 billion dollars of the 140 billion dollar company of Kinder Morgan. We talked to some of these shareholders, we told them that the tar sands are killing people. We told them that the size of earth they want to move is the size of Texas. We told them that destroying out all the water, that the water right there that they use, for the 200 barrels of water they get a day, is drying everything out. And now, we look at what happened to Fort McMurray. 80,000 people were evacuated. 16,000 homes were burnt down, and we knew this was gonna happen. That’s a tragedy for people to live through and to go through, to lose their home and everything that they have. But just like in Houston, 1 out of 2 people have respiratory problems, 1 out of 4 have cancer, and that’s the same with the residents that live around the Alberta Tar Sands. People are dying!
So we went down and we shared some of this. But we also shared that the Canadian Constitution protects our indigenous rights. The First Nations won 170 legal battles in the last two years around resource extraction. We shared that. That’s 97% victories against industry that First Nations are winning. We told them that, and we reminded them of our trip there last year. After we spoke there, their stock fell by 60%. Their dividends to their shareholders were cut by 75% so they didn’t fall to junk bond status. And we reminded them, we said, you guys are business people, and this pipeline’s not gonna happen. That we’re gonna do whatever it takes legally to stop you, but we’ll do whatever it takes -period- to stop you.
I got to talk to Richard Kinder himself, and he said, “We’re trying to consult you, Tsleil-Waututh Nation”. And I sat up and I said, “It’s not our duty to consult to you. You’re a business. We are a nation. We consult Canada, nation to nation. And that’s why we’re suing Canada.” I said, “That’s how we’re gonna win, and that’s how we’re gonna stop you.” He threw his hands in the air and said, “Go ahead! Go talk to Canada.” And right then and there, I knew we had him. Right then and there I knew we had him, and I gave him a big smile and I walked up and I shook his hand and said, “It’s over.” It is.
The foundation of the work that we do, just like I heard some of the legends, the stories of this area, that’s the foundation of our indigenous laws. What spurs out of that is the foundation of the fundamentals of any religious and any spiritual belief- of love, and honor, respect, and dignity, and pride, compassion, and understanding, and truth, and knowledge, and wisdom. Those are our indigenous laws, and that’s how we are winning in court. Those are the messages that we are sending.
But it was a good trip. It was a successful trip. It’s one of many that we’re gonna do. We’re gonna go to Norway where some of these ships that bring oil and coal to their destinations are run by the country (The Norwegian government runs a fossil fuel shipping program. Ships flying the Norwegian flag and operating according to Norwegian shipping regulations are transporting huge amounts of fossil fuels among various ports around the world). If they want to stay steadfast to their decision to be one of the greenest countries in the world, then they have to stop allowing the destruction of our lands and our waters.
And also, our relation to China. That are again, one of the leaders in green energy, one of the leaders in changing, to make better decisions for our future generations. We’re gonna go there, and we’re gonna explain to them that this process of getting that coal, that gas, and that oil out of the water is killing our people!
And what we’re doing is we’re spreading this message all over the world, because, it’s not an environmental person problem. It’s not a first nation or tribal problem. What we’re dealing with is everybody’s problem. What we continue to see is more and more destruction happening. More and more lives lost, more and more fires, more and more droughts. And that’s what we can’t stand for. In the last message that I sent to the shareholders at Kinder Morgan, I said, “Because you’re too blinded by your greed, you can’t see a future for your generations to come.” I said, “You’re part of the human race, and if I abide by my teachings, if I abide by and walk by what I share, it’s also my duty and responsibility to take care of your future generations because you can’t. And we stop it for you, we stop it for humanity, we stop it for our lands and our waters and our fish and our wildlife. They’re incapable.” I said, “We will do it for you.”
So I thank you for standing together. I raise my hands to each and every one of you, and give thanks for the courage that you have to stand up and to make a difference. The courage to stand up and to make a difference for all of the world. And that’s what we need, is (for) everybody to come together like we are right here. So I raise my hands to you. (Speaks a sentence in Native tongue) Thank you.