(Iskut, B.C.) Lillian Moyer, a 67-year-old grandmother, was arrested September 9, 2006, at a First Nations road blockade near the Village of Iskut in northern B.C. For two months, the blockade has been preventing Vancouver mining company bcMetals from conducting exploration for a copper-gold mine in the Todagin Plateau area south of Dease Lake. Community members allege that following the arrest, bcMetals heavy equipment leaked oil into trout-bearing Coyote Creek. They intend to hold the company accountable for the spill under Canada's Fisheries Act.
"Today's oil spill is our worst nightmare coming true," said Rhoda Quock, a spokesperson with the Iskut elders group Klabona Keepers. "It shows what happens to our lands when development is rammed through without proper consultation."
Lillian Moyer, who lives in Telegraph Creek, chose to be arrested on behalf of the Iskut people after RCMP informed blockaders that if arrested, they would be denied access to their fall hunting grounds.
"I am being arrested today for the people of Iskut, for the people of Telegraph Creek, and especially for our grandchildren," Moyer told supporters. This is from my heart. I believe my ancestors are speaking through me."
Over 100 people were present at the blockade, including hereditary leaders of the Gitxsan and Wetsuweten First Nations who traveled to Iskut to show their support.
"We are here to support the Tahltan because the rivers that flow from here connect our people, and what happens in these headwaters affect everyone," said hereditary Wetsuweten leader Alphonse Gagnon.
The Todagin Plateau is a traditional-use area of the Iskut people and home to one of the world's largest populations of stone sheep.
Last fall, nine elders and six others were arrested at the same location for blocking Fortune Minerals access to the Sacred Headwaters the shared birthplace of the Skeena, Nass and Stikine-Iskut Rivers.
For more information contact:
Rhoda Quock, Klabona Keepers: (250) 234-3038
Alphonse Gagnon, Wetsuweten elder: (250) 847-9673
Marie Quock, Iskut Band Council: (250) 234-3331 or (250) 234-3281
Lillian Moyer, Tahltan elder: (250) 771-5604
Brian Hunter, Dease Lake RCMP: (250) 771-4111
for digital photos and B-roll: (250) 847-0737