NEWS

Arrests made in Blood Tribe fracking blockade

09/11/2011 10:07 EDT | Updated 11/11/2011 05:12 EST

Three women from the Kainai Blood Tribe have been arrested in connection with a protest at a fracking operation in southern Alberta.

Elle-Maija Tailfeathers, Jill Crop Eared Wolf and Lois Frank were arrested Saturday and charged with trespassing and intimidation after a convoy of Murphy Oil trucks was blocked overnight Friday. About a dozen Blood Tribe members reportedly participated in the blockade.

Tailfeathers said members of the band feel betrayed by their chief and council who, without consulting tribal members, leased half of the Blood Tribe land in southern Alberta, which lies between the Old Man, St. Mary and Belly rivers.

"Indigenous peoples have the right to protect our land, our water, our air, and we just felt like chief and council were not doing their part to respect that integral right," she told CBC News.

Plans call for 200 wells to be drilled using the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which has already started.

The group said they felt they had exhausted all options. They had gone to Indian and Northern Affairs, the Energy Resources Conservation Board and Murphy Oil. Each told them to go back to their chief and council.

"It's really difficult, we really feel like we have nowhere to turn," Tailfeathers said.

A meeting between Blood Tribe members and the chief and council was scheduled for Saturday, but no one from the council turned up, Tailfeathers said.

Blood Tribe police refused to comment or confirm the charges.

Tailfeathers said the women's first court date is Sept. 19.

The Kainai Blood Tribe is part of the Blackfoot Confederacy.

Its administrative headquarters are in Stand Off, Alta., approximately 200 kilometres south of Calgary.

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