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Stk’emlúpsemc te Secwépemc Nation (SSN) Building Allies Across B.C. and Canada to Oppose KGHM’s Ajax Mine in Kamloops

Stk’emlúpsemc te Secwépemc Nation (SSN)
PO Box 188, 1030 Trans Canada Hwy. Savona, BC V0K 2J0

Represented by the Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc and the Skeetchestn Bands
We do not have a mandate, we have a responsibility. We are yecminme7

MEDIA RELEASE

(Kamloops, April 1st, 2017) Today, over 30 organizations representing hundreds of thousands of members across British Columbia and Canada announced their support to the Stk’emlúpsemc te Secwépemc Nation’s (SSN) decision to withhold its free, prior and informed consent to the development of the lands and resources at Pípsell (Jacko Lake and area) for the purposes of KHGM’s Ajax copper-gold mine.

The announcement was made this morning during an Allies Meeting and a Solidarity Ceremony held at the Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, British Columbia. Supporting organizations signed a “Declaration of Support” to the SSN Pípsell Decision, announced on March 4th of this year (see list and quotes of supporting organizations enclosed).

The Ajax Mine Project in its proposed location at Pípsell is in opposition to the SSN land use objective for this profoundly sacred, culturally important, and historically significant keystone site, which significance is fundamental and undiminished. If approved, the mine would destroy part of Jacko Lake and irreversibly affect Pípsell.

“The SSN has taken a historic step in self-determination through conducting its own independent assessment of the Ajax open pit project in accordance with SSN laws, traditions, customs and governance system. The SSN wants to preserve the use of Pípsell area for all British Columbians and Canadians in accordance with Secwepemc law,” states Dr. Ron Ignace, Chief of Skeetchestn.

The SSN, which represents the communities of Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc and Skeetchestn Indian Band, has an irreplaceable historical, cultural and spiritual connection to Pípsell. Councillor Viola Thomas, Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc, says: “This connection is deeply rooted in one their oral histories: the Trout Children Stseptékwll. The Trout Children Oral History is inseparably connected to the place of the proposed Ajax mine site. It encapsulates and expresses the human connection of Stk’emlúpsemc te Secwépemc, to Pípsell. It sustains Secwépemc law about Secwépemc conduct on the land and the reciprocal accountability to living beings on the land, social conduct across generations and within generations.”

See new video release here, and 12-page SSN Decision here.

SSN Spokespeople

  • Dr. Ron Ignace, Chief of Skeetchestn
  • Councillor Viola Thomas, Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc
  • Media contact: Sunny LeBourdais, 250-320-0712, sunny(at)stkemlupsemc.ca

Declaration of Support for the Stk’emlúpsemc te Secwepemc Nation Pípsell (Jacko Lake & area) Decision

WHEREAS on March 4, 2017 the Joint Council of the Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc (“SSN”) released its Decision on the copper and gold mine proposed by KGHM Ajax Mining Inc. for the area within the traditional territory of the Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc known as Pípsell;

AND WHEREAS the decision of the Joint Council of the Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc was made in accordance with Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation’s laws, traditions, customs and land tenure systems supported by the evidence and assessments as presented in the Pípsell Report and SSN Panel Recommendations Report, and in recognition that Pípsell is a cultural keystone area with significant spiritual and historical importance to the Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation, which significance is fundamental and undiminished;

AND WHEREAS the Joint Council of the Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc decided that: The SSN does not give its free, prior and informed consent to the development of the lands and resources at Pípsell for the purposes of the Ajax Mine Project. The Ajax Mine Project in its proposed location at Pípsell is fundamentally in opposition to the SSN land use objective for this sacred site.

Pípsell is a cultural keystone area which must be preserved in a state consistent with the traditional importance of the site to the Secwepemc people. Pípsell must only be used in ways which preserve and sustain the area, which allow for the culture of the Secwepemc people to be exercised and maintained, and which preserve the use of Pípsell for all Canadians in accordance with Secwepemc law.

NOW THEREFORE we, the undersigned organizations, on this day declare our support for the Decision of the SSN Joint Council, and declare our support for the preservation of Pípsell as a cultural keystone area, to be preserved in a state consistent with the traditional importance of the site to the Secwepemc people, and only used in ways which preserve and sustain the area, allow for the culture of the Secwepemc people to be exercised and maintained, and preserve the use of Pípsell for all Canadians in accordance with Secwepemc law.

— Signed on April 1st, 2017 at Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, B.C. Secwepemcúlecw.

  • Union of BC Indians Chiefs
  • British Columbia Assembly of First Nations
  • Shuswap Nation Tribal Council
  • First Nations Women Advocating for Responsibile Mining
  • Indigenous Environment Network
  • West Coast Environmental Law
  • David Suzuki Foundation
  • Sierra Club BC
  • Leadnow
  • SumOfUs
  • Council of Canadians
  • MiningWatch Canada
  • Rivers Without Borders
  • Wilderness Committee
  • RAVEN Trust
  • Fair Mining Collaborative
  • BC Environmental Network
  • Northern Confluence
  • Clayoquot Action
  • Kamloops Code Blue
  • Kamloops Physicians for a Healthy Environment Society
  • Kamloops Area Preservation Association
  • Kamloops Moms For Clean Air
  • Thompson Institute for Environmental Studies
  • Thompson Rivers University Faculty Association Human Rights Committee
  • Thompson Watershed Coalition
  • Aberdeen Neighborhood Area
  • Sagebrush Neighbourhood Association
  • Coalition East Kamloops
  • Concerned Citizens of Quesnel Lake
  • Forest Protection Allies