Indigenous-led energy rally revs up in northern Alberta

A convoy of more than 100 trucks will assemble Sunday in northern Alberta, in what's being billed as the first Indigenous-led rally for energy resources.

The event organized by the Region One Aboriginal Business Association wants to highlight that Alberta's northern Indigenous communities support for pipelines and oppose Bill C-69, federal legislation that will overhaul the way energy projects are approved.

ROABA promotes Indigenous-owned businesses in northern Alberta and facilitates networking opportunities between businesses and industry.

"We can't get anything to market. We are limited to one client which is the Americans," ROABA president Shawn McDonald said. "We need more. We are gridlock."

The rally will  begin with an elder's prayer and blessing and then a bannock and soup lunch before the convoy travels 80 kilometres around the Lac La Biche's namesake lake, passing communities in Owl River and Plamondon.

The rally will feature a range of speakers including four First Nation and Métis leaders, the MP for the area, David Yurdiga and MLAs and other municipal leaders.

Black Scorpion Contracting Ltd./ Submitted

Canada Action, a non-partisan pro-oil and gas activist group, has partnered with ROABA to organize the rally.

"It is powerful. I think it is representative that most First Nations support the pipeline," said Cody Battershill, the founder and CEO of Canada Action. "This is an important conversation."

The rally starts Sunday at noon at the Bold Center in Lac La Biche, Alta. 

Connect with David Thurton, CBC's Fort McMurray correspondent, on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn or email him at david.thurton@cbc.ca