Takla First Nation Blocks Access to Traditional Territory

Takla First Nation has informed the British Columbia Minister of Mines and the Minister of Lands that as of Wednesday, September 12, 2007, access to parts of its Territory will be blocked.

Takla states it has been left with no other options to address the gold-rush that is taking place throughout the Territory and to protect Takla’s rights and territory.

Chief Dolly Abraham stated, “This is out of control. B.C. allows on-line staking and hands out permits to anyone who asks. Mining companies are given permits to build roads and drill in sensitive areas of our Territory. Until there is joint planning and meaningful consultation and accommodation, we will be forced to take action to protect ourselves.”

Discussions and meetings about the unacceptable infringements on Takla’s Territory have been ongoing for years. At the most recent meeting on July 9, Chief Abraham gave Minister of State Kevin Krueger and Minister Pat Bell a 60-day notice. Abraham stated, “We are willing to work with you but this just drags on and on. We need a response from you on land-use planning and cleaning up contaminated sites or we will have to start protecting our rights and Territory ourselves.”

Takla First Nation, as part of the Tse Keh Nay, is also opposed to the Kemess North mine. Chief Abraham says “This type of action could be a taste of what is to come throughout B.C. if the governments permit Northgate Minerals to destroy Amazay (Duncan) Lake. We are not opposed to mining, but unsustainable development such as Kemess North will not be tolerated. If the company cannot afford to store their acid waste rock in a more environmentally-friendly manner, then they have no right to be there.”

Takla presented the Ministries of Lands and Mines with a letter clearly outlining the issues and has asked for specific proposals to address them. These include a consultation process for proposed exploration, economic compensation for operating mines, joint land-use planning, environmental monitoring and reclamation of contaminated sites, and conducting pre-impact archaeological investigations.

For more information: Chief Dolly Abraham, Takla Landing, (250) 996-7877