Neil Young to Play Benefit Concerts for Alberta First Nation Fighting Oilsands

By Weber, Bob | The Canadian Press, December 9, 2013 | Go to article overview

Neil Young to Play Benefit Concerts for Alberta First Nation Fighting Oilsands


Weber, Bob, The Canadian Press


Neil Young benefit concerts for oilsands fight

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EDMONTON - Music legend Neil Young is playing four concerts in his native Canada to benefit a northern Alberta aboriginal band fighting oilsands development in its territory.

Canadian jazz singer and pianist Diana Krall is to appear as a special guest.

Tickets for the January shows scheduled for Toronto, Winnipeg, Regina and Calgary go on sale Tuesday.

"The theme of the concerts is honour the treaties," said Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation spokeswoman Eriel Deranger. "All the ticket sales, all the proceeds from the concerts, not a single cent goes to anyone other than (the First Nation)."

Young made his opinion of oilsands development clear when he visited the band and the region last fall. He compared the sight of massive open-pit mines to Hiroshima after the nuclear bomb blast.

Young is one of a number of global entertainment celebrities who have visited the oilsands. The list includes actresses Darryl Hannah and Neve Campbell and film director James Cameron.

All have offered to help local aboriginals in their protest over what they say is exploding development occurring on their traditional lands without adequate consultation.

Young's gesture is by far the largest, said Deranger. The band hadn't even asked for support during his brief visit in early September.

"When he left, we didn't ask him. We were kind of surprised by his, 'I'm going to do something for you.' We've heard that before.

"It's fantastic to have someone follow through and giving directly to a community, the grassroots people."

The Athabasca Chipewyan band is gearing up for a major legal fight against the latest oilsands development to be approved.

The federal government announced on Friday that Shell Canada's Jackpine mine expansion could go ahead. The approval came before a 35-day delay to give the band a chance to make its concerns known to Ottawa had expired. …

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