First Nations Call on Northgate to Withdraw Bumper Stickers: Northgate Not Telling Public about Plan to Destroy Lake
----- Original Message -----
From: Tara Marsden
Sent: Wednesday, February 01, 2006 9:02 AM
3 NATIONS MEDIA RELEASE
Takla Lake, Tsay Keh Dene, Kwadacha
Prince George, January 30, 2006
First Nations Call on Northgate to Withdraw Bumper Stickers:
Northgate Not Telling Public about Plan to Destroy Lake
Three First Nations are raising concerns that the public are not getting the facts about Northgate's proposal to turn a 6 km long lake into a massive tailings pit. The 3 Nations are calling on Northgate Minerals to stop handing out "I Support Kemess North" bumper stickers to uninformed students and members of the public.
"Amazay" is the traditional name for Duncan Lake, a pristine wilderness lake approximately 200 km northwest of Prince George. Northgate Minerals wants to dam the lake and fill it with over 335 million tonnes of mine waste and tailings as part of their Kemess North open pit gold-copper mine expansion. By the company's own estimates, 83% of the waste rock will be potentially acid generating. Northgate refuses to consider alternate disposal options.
However, Northgate continually downplays the massive impacts on the environment and on First Nations. Chief John French of the Takla Lake First Nation recently attended a mining conference in Vancouver and was shocked by the company's portrayal: "They didn't say one word about the impacts on First Nations. It was all about mining and jobs. It was as if they were creating money and jobs out of thin air with no impact on our Territories or our aboriginal rights and title. Somehow they never quite got to the part about destroying our lakes and our whole way of life."
But what really raised the ire of the First Nations was the propaganda campaign. Northgate officials were handing out bumper stickers to students to festoon their vehicles with "I support Kemess North". Grand Chief Gordon Pierre of the Tsay Keh Dene Nation was disturbed by Northgate's actions saying, "Water is one of our life sustaining resources. If we let industry and government destroy this water body what is to stop them from further destruction of other lakes and streams." Chief John French had a similar reaction. "Those kids were there to learn about jobs and opportunities in the mining industry, not to be turned into propaganda machines. As First Nations leaders, we have faith in youth. We are calling on Northgate to give young people some credit and provide the full facts so they can decide what is right."
The 3 Nations are calling on Northgate to stop distributing the bumper stickers. "If they are going to be handing out stickers, they should be honest" stated Chief French. "The stickers should say 'I support destroying an entire watershed and the way of life for First Nations to generate profits for mining companies from outside B.C.'"
Contact: Chief John French (250-564-9321)
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council
P:250-562-6279 ext. 236
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