The Takla Lake First Nation set up a roadblock yesterday, formally suspending the use of Driftwood Forest Service Road for industrial activities.
In a statement (see below) the Takla say their land is being threatened to such an extent now that they had to take action. Otherwise,”the government will hand over our whole territory to mining and forestry companies and there will be nothing left for our children.”
Private property owners will be allowed to pass through the roadblock – but industry will just have to wait. Hours, days, weeks… It all depends on the government’s capacity to stand up and do it’s job by respecting Takla Lake FN’s Territory, culture, and rights.
For Immediate Release
June 18, 2008
Takla Lake First Nation Roadblock to Protect Territory
Takla Lake First Nation Territory: The Takla Lake First Nation hereby announce that we will not permit the use of Driftwood Forest Service Road past Kilometer 71 for industrial activities until further notice. “Our Territory has been flooded with tenures awarded to industry with no proper consultation and no accommodation” states Chief Dolly Abraham. “The whole top of our watershed is blanketed with tenures. The provincial on-line staking system has turned into the new gold rush”. Takla has set up a checkpoint at km 71 out of a particular concern about mining exploration activity in a sacred area of Bear Mountain.
Takla has repeatedly requested provincial Ministers to negotiate a land use plan and revenue sharing agreement. “We keep trying to negotiate with government in good faith and they keep putting us off”, states Chief Abraham. “If we don’t take action now, the government will hand over our whole territory to mining and forestry companies and there will be nothing left for our children”. Takla are quick to point out their willingness to negotiate. “We are willing to work with individual companies that come to us in a respectful way. We are also willing to allow mining and forestry in some parts of our Territory if government would ever come and negotiate a land use plan with us”. Takla is also allowing the few private citizens with land holdings in the area to pass through the checkpoint.
Takla representatives are angered that their rights and Territory have been seriously damaged by mining and forestry in the past and nothing has been done. “The government still hasn’t cleaned up the contaminated mercury mine at the Bralorne site”, stated Councillor Kathaleigh George. “It’s on their top 10 list of contaminated sites, and they won’t clean it up. This is in an important camping and hunting area and our Nation has a hard time accepting new mining when there is this old unfinished business”.
In the words of Chief Abraham: “We’ve had enough. If the government and industry want to come and work with us to clean up contaminated mines and develop sustainable land use plans, we’ll talk. If not, we will stand up, be stewards of our land, and do what we have to do to protect our Territory for future generations.
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Chief Dolly Abraham: ph (250) 996-7877, fax (250) 996-7874
Takla Mining coordinator (250) 564-9321 ext.27, fax (250) 564-9
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