Tahltan Elders Declare a Moratorium on Resource Development Within Their Territory

“Dena nenn Sogga neh ’ine”
Tahltan Elders Press Release – February 25, 2005

On the 33rd day of the Tahltan Elders' sit in at the band offices in Telegraph Creek, B.C., Tahltan Elders have come to a consensus using a traditional decision-making process. The statement is named “Dena nenn Sogga neh 'ine” meaning, “Keepers of the Land” in the Tahltan Language. We are putting the Federal, Provincial and Indian Act Governments on notice that “the scam is over”. The elders declare a moratorium on resource development within traditional Tahltan Territory.

Over the past 33 days the elders have reflected upon “the old days” and the way Tahltan governance progressed. Eighty-six year old Roy Quock said that, “the Elders would sit together and talk about a problem, until they all agreed upon a way to deal with it.” This would mean that they had to reach full consensus. The process would be absent of attacks, accusations and aggressive behaviour. When a consensus decision is finally reached, it would be implemented immediately and all would move ahead in unity. The focus is always on what is best for the nation and the generations to come.

The decision to impose a moratorium took 33 days and without a lingering doubt, the Elders are fully prepared to move ahead in unity. Verna Callbreath, a Crow Clan Elder says, “It's not just for us, it's for our children and grandchildren of tomorrow.”

Therefore, it is both our right and our responsibility, as Tahltan Elders, to reclaim our legitimate place within Tahltan law and custom. The actions of chiefs and councils, Tahltan Central Council, and others who purport to represent Tahltan interest, have forced us to occupy the Band offices in Telegraph Creek. These non-representative individuals and bodies have exceeded their authority and no longer have the confidence or trust of the Tahltan People and therefore can no longer represent us.

Kukdookaa Terri Brown, past President of the Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC) and the National Action Committee on the Status of Women (NAC), and Spokesperson and assistant to the Elders states, “The Elders have shown tremendous courage to young people and the nation as a whole.” “This experience has rekindled hope in my heart and I will forever honour and remember my elders.”

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For more information contact Terri Brown at (613) 791-4492 or terribrown(at)sympatico.ca or call Pat Edzerza (250) 235-3151