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14947Nak'azdli Press Release - Proposed Shus Nadloh (Mt. Milligan) Mine Cannot Proceed without Nak'azdli

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  • Don
    Mar 2, 2009
      Fw: Nak'azdli Press Release

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: anne.sam
      Sent: Mon Mar 02 18:29:11 2009
      Subject: Nak'azdli Press Release

      P.O. Box 1329, Fort St. James, B.C. V0J 1P0
      Telephone (250) 996-7171
      Fax (250) 996-8010

      For Immediate Release

      Proposed Shus Nadloh (Mt. Milligan) Mine Cannot Proceed without Nak'azdli

      Monday March 2, 2009 Nak'azdli Territory (Central BC)

      Nak'azdli First Nation has recently submitted two reports by anthropologist
      John Dewhirst, M.A., RPCA, to the BC government and Canada in support of
      our aboriginal title to the proposed Shus Nadloh (Mt. Milligan) mine site
      (the "project area"). This work also counters the claim of the McLeod Lake
      Indian Band to our land. (At this time our reports will not be presented
      publically due to culturally sensitive materials.)

      Nak'azdli aboriginal rights and title to the project area are undeniable.
      Ethnographic sources support that prior to British assertion of sovereignty
      there was a trail from Nak'azdli to a permanent settlement at Nation Lakes
      that was used to regularly access the project area for hunting, gathering
      and other resource use. Today, Nak'azdli hunting cabins, traplines and
      campsites in the project area demonstrates continued exclusive use and
      occupation of the area. Any presence of the McLeod Lake Sekani people in
      the project area prior to assertion of British sovereignty was short lived
      and was as a result of their nomadic hunting and gathering practices only.
      Any use of the area was insufficient to ground aboriginal title. In any
      event, McLeod Lake has ceded any aboriginal rights and title it may have
      held in the project area in exchange for treaty rights under Treaty 8. By
      contrast, Nak'azdli's aboriginal interests in the project area remain

      Nak'azdli is of the view that the British Columbia Environmental Assessment
      process does not come close to addressing Nak'azdli's aboriginal rights and
      title concerns and it has chosen not to participate in it. The recent BC
      Court of Appeal decision in KwikwetlemFirst Nation v British Columbia
      (Utilities Commission) 2009 BCCA 68 recognized and confirmed the flaws in
      the EA process that Nak'azdli has been trying to address with the BC

      "We have been waiting since January 2007 for meaningful and respectful talks
      to occur between BC, Canada and Nak'azdli but all along we have been told
      that the BC Environmental Assessment process is our opportunity to be heard
      before approval of Mt. Milligan is given" states Chief Fred Sam. "The
      Province has not dealt with our title and the EA process has not dealt with
      our concerns with respect to negative impacts on our way of life. Nak'azdli
      will remain opposed to the mine unless and until title is properly dealt
      with and until there is a proper impact assessment process that includes
      Nak'azdli. It is anticipated that the recent submission to the BC
      Environmental Assessment Office will bring Minister Penner and the BC
      government to the negotiating table with the appropriate mandate to consult
      and accommodate impacts of the proposed Shus Nadloh (Mt. Milligan) mine on
      our people. If not, we will be considering all of our legal options."

      We have high hopes for application of the newly proposed Recognition and
      Reconciliation Act. It's not enough for a mining company to go to
      government for a permit," said Mr. [Edward] John, one of the six key people
      involved in developing the proposed law that is to recognize aboriginal
      rights and title in the Province. "It's not going to happen anymore. ... The
      reality of conducting business will change."

      Contact: Anne Marie Sam (250) 649-8284 or (250) 996-7171

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]