Incident at Prayer Gathering by Friends of Blood Lands
Press statement from Drumming for Earth Gathering
Image: Painting by George Catlin of Buffalo Bull's Back Fat, head chief, Blood Tribe, 1832
BLOOD RESERVE -- “Drumming for the Earth Gathering” scheduled for Saturday October 1, 2011 at the North End of the Blood Reserve in Southern Alberta was short lived when the manager of the Blood Band Ranch informed elders, drummers and children to take down their tent and leave the tribal lands, early Saturday morning. The Ranch Manager threatened that Blood Tribe Police will be called in to take action against a large group of people who set this day aside for prayers and traditional drumming. The prayer day was planned to have people pray for the protection of Mother Earth due to all the oil and gas exploration happening on the Blood Reserve. The organizers followed elder’s guidance and protocol and received prior approval from the Blood Tribe Chief to have this peaceful gathering.
Supposed, the Ranch Manager was given instructions from his supervisor who in turn received orders from the committee who over sees the ranch and farm operations of the reserve to remove the peaceful gathering. There was no protest or directed action against the drill sites. The elders and people present did however offer prayers, tobacco and sang sacred Blackfoot songs before leaving the designated sight.
The gathering was to allow people from the reserve to share spiritual dreams, which were about the oil and gas drillings happening on the reserve. Many of the elders questioned why as tribal members they could not pray on Blood Reserve tribal lands. People in attendance made reference to the Elders Declaration from many years ago that gave people the right and the freedom to pray. As one elder commented, “Now tribal leaders and employees are taking away the right to pray on mother earth”. Another comment over heard was, “ who is running this reserve”? One of the organizers, Mike Bruised Head stated that this is another sad day in the history of the Blood Reserve that he will never forget, when he was threatened that police will be called to arrest him for praying and drumming on tribal land. All of the people who attended were very disappointed on the outcome. Mr. Bruised Head will be seeking legal advise on the following UN Declaration articles..
The Universal Declarations For Human Rights
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.