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American Oil Company, Obsidian Energy Petitions to have an entire Canadian Indigenous Government Imprisoned for Peacefully Practicing Their Treaty Rights

May 15, 2024

NationTalk: PEACE RIVER, AB – In an unprecedented move, an American oil company is attempting to have the entire elected government of a Canadian First Nation imprisoned for practicing their constitutionally guaranteed Treaty Rights.

On May 14, Obsidian filed materials with the court asking it to incarcerate the Chief and Council of WCFN for purportedly violating an injunction. Obsidian made this extraordinary move even as WCFN and Obsidian were sitting down for RCMP facilitated mediation.

“CEO Stephen Loukas petitioning the court to try and have an entire Indigenous government incarcerated speaks to how desperate he has become. Indigenous people have been on this land since time immemorial, and we will be here long after Obsidian Energy leaves. There is no getting rid of us.” said WCFN Chief Isaac Laboucan-Avirom.

“I won’t be intimidated. This foolish action will only serve to attract global attention to an otherwise easy-to-resolve conflict. It is simply shocking that members of a First Nation can be threatened with prison for protecting their constitutional rights.”

WCFN enthusiastically supports responsible resource development and remains committed to working with companies who want to come to region and do business. WCFN remains ready and willing to sit down with Obsidian to resolve their ongoing dispute. “Unfortunately, Obsidian has not been prepared to come to the table in good faith,” said Chief Laboucan-Avirom, with the full support of his Council.

For further information: Chief Laboucan-Avirom is available for comment. To arrange an interview, please contact: