FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 17th, 2013
Winnipeg, Manitoba – The sovereign Nation of Missinippi Nehethowak as represented by Mathias Colomb Cree Nation (MCCN) has extensive Ancestral and Traditional Territory. Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting Co., Ltd (Hudbay) has proposed Lalor Lake mine project which is on unceded Missinippi Nehethowak Territory and has failed to obtain MCCN consent to operate on their territory and extract their resources.
Chief Dumas attended with his community members and Idle No More supporters to the Lalor site on January 28 and March 5, 2013 and served two Stop Work Orders to the Hudbay and the Province of Manitoba. Both site visits were peaceful gatherings where community members engaged in drumming, singing and cooking traditional foods. The RCMP attended at MCCN’s request to help enforce Cree law.
Chief Arlen Dumas said, “We are sovereign and asserting our laws and jurisdiction over our unceded ancestral traditional territory. We have never gave up our lands, waters and natural resources. We have a responsibility to manage their use and protection. MCCN expected the province of Manitoba to uphold the rule of law and assist in enforcing the orders.”
Hudbay never contacted Chief Dumas to address his concerns, nor did the province fulfill its legal obligations to enforce the Stop Work Orders. Instead, both Hudbay and the province of Manitoba issued very similar letters to Chief Dumas telling him that Manitoba fully supports Hudbay’s activities on MCCN territory.
Hudbay then served Chief Dumas with a Notice of Motion to evict him and his community members from using their traditional territory. Despite the outstanding Aboriginal, inherent and treaty rights at issue, Hudbay is suing MCCN for millions of dollars in general, special and punitive damages.
Chief Dumas explained: “MCCN get less than $17 million dollars a year in federal funding to manage extreme poverty on our reserve. Some of our families live 25 people to a home, yet we live on some of the richest territories in Manitoba. Instead of the province and Hudbay engaging MCCN in a meaningful process, they have partnered to blockade MCCN from accessing our own lands. This will be socially devastating to our community.”
Preliminary research also indicates MCCN could be left with irrevocable environmental damage to their lands and waters by Hudbay activities, which impacts all Manitobans. MCCN hopes that Manitobans will stand beside them as they defend traditional, treaty and public park lands for future generations.
The court will hear the application in Winnipeg on Wednesday, March 20, 2013.
For more information please contact:
Chief Arlen Dumas
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