First Nations Hold Ceremony And Vow To Protect Amazay - Duncan Lake
Tse Keh Nay Territory - The three Tse Keh Nay Nations gathered in force and held a water ceremony to protect Duncan Lake. The lake, which the First Nations call "Amazay" is situated 400 km northwest of Prince George. Northgate Minerals plans to build a 90 meter high dam to flood the valley and turn the lake into a massive acid rock tailings pit to store contaminated waste from the proposed Kemess North mine.
Takla Chief John Allen French donned his bear claw amulet and led the ceremony. Elders and youth bathed in the sacred waters at Amazay to the sounds of traditional drumming and singing and were brushed with medicinal plants from the shores of the lake. Chief French spoke from his heart about the importance of protecting the lake.
"As a Nation we are not opposed to mining or economic development, but we have to remember what is important. Gold does not run through our blood. We are all made of water. We have pushed the boundaries too far if we are willing to destroy life itself, water, as a means of getting cheaper gold."
Chief French pointed to the lush green valley at the south end of the lake and to all the traditional camp-sites around the lake which he believes were neglected by archaeologists hired by the company. "Our people have been here for thousands of years. We found an old moose-hide stretching rack just up the trail. You can see evidence of our people all around here: you just have to know where to look."
Pointing across the lake to magnificent outcrops of white stones with black streaks across the lake, Chief French stated, "Those grandfathers are mourning the destruction of our land. We have to protect the way of life of our people to harvest, hunt, and make medicines and bathe in the healing waters of the Old Ones. We will protect this lake, not only for our children's children, but for everyone."
Grand Chief Gordon Pierre from Tsay Keh Dene committed to protect the lake. In addition to concerns about destroying fish habitat and hunting grounds, Grand Chief Pierre expressed concerns about the impacts on the whole watershed. "Our people live downstream. We drink that water. There is no way a dam will hold in all the poisoned water. We have lived here for thousands of years. We will always be here and we need clean water."
Grand Chief Pierre says his people are frustrated with having to fight a major battle after having gone through so much hardship already from their forced relocation when the Williston Lake dam flooded out their traditional villages and hunting grounds.
Chief Donny VanSomer brought a group of youth from the Kwadacha Rediscovery Program to the camp at Amazay. "We wanted our youth to see the battles we are fighting to protect their heritage", stated Chief VanSomer. "We loaded them into a school bus and drove out to Amazay and they hiked down to the lake. They set up camp and stayed over night at the lake so they had a chance to see with their own eyes this beautiful lake that will be lost if the dam goes ahead".
The federal and provincial governments are halfway through an environmental assessment that has not yet included any First Nation participation. The Tse Keh Nay have continually pointed out that the process fails to meet legal requirements to consult and accommodate First Nations. The First Nations have also criticized the archaeology and fish studies done by the company to date as part of the Environmental Assessment process.
"Their archaeology report was very limited", states Chief French. "They missed culturally modified trees and a lot of traditional camping sites. They were more interested in old tin cans than our 1300 year old artifacts. We have filed a complaint with the Minister about archaeological issues and have hired an independent archaeologist to do a more detailed assessment."
Regarding fisheries issues, the three Nations are very concerned that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans appear to have reversed their position on habitat replacement. DFO originally stated in a letter dated March 10, 2006, that the company must carry out more fish studies and provide more details about their proposed habitat replacement plan. On July 24, 2006 after a secret meeting with company officials, DFO reversed their position and stated that the company's habitat replacement plans are now acceptable.
"We can't understand why nobody is standing up for this lake" stated Chief French. None of the government ministries in charge of protecting fish, archaeology and the environment are doing their job. We'll have to do their jobs for them. We are growing stronger and stronger as a Nation and we will do what it takes to protect our waters and our lands."
Contact: Chief John Allen French, Takla 250-613-9150
For information and to schedule interviews with the Chiefs, contact:J.P. LaPlante, Mining Coordinator (250) 564-9321
*If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this message, please retain this credit.UBCIC's Protecting Knowledge Conference site: http://www.ubcic.bc.ca/Resources/conferences/PK.
First Peoples Human Rights Coalition (First Peoples Rights) contributes to a growing understanding that the inherent and inalienable rights of Indigenous peoples are human rights and need to be respected as such. The urgent on-the-ground challenges confronting us today require that more people, more of the time, be more familiar with the rights we do have.
Takla First Nation – Tsay Keh Dene – Kwadacha First Nation
#345 –1640 Sixth Avenue – Prince George, B.C. V2L. 3N2
Phone (250) 564-9321
Fax – (250) 564-9521
Request For Proposals - NAJA Office Space
The Native American Journalists Association (NAJA) is exploring possibilities of moving its offices. Currently, NAJA is headquartered at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion adjacent to the Freedom Forum.
NAJA is a growing organization and is looking at staff expansion in the future to improve the our services. While the need for increased office space has prompted this exploration, we appreciate the support of the Freedom Forum and USD.
For other organizations that wish to explore the possibility of assisting NAJA and advancing their mission, this RFP outlines our needs:
1. Minimum of five offices available office space (sq. ft.) 2. Available storage space (sq. ft. 3. Access to more space in future 4. Estimated moving cost to NAJA 5. Distance to nearest airport 6. Number of tribes in state 7. Will organization serve as fiscal agent?
8. Will organization provide staff support? 9. Will benefits be available to staff? 10. Access to office equipment. 11. What type of equipment? 12. Access to wholesale supplies. 13. Will furniture be provided? 14. Will NAJA contribute to planned growth? 15. Will organization contribute to NAJA's growth? 16. What is the commitment to Native journalists at your organization?
17. Access to technical support. 18. Projected cost for tech support. 19. Phone and Internet cost to NAJA. 20. Dedicated parking spaces. 21. Access to conference room. 22. Proximity to hotel for visiting guests. 23. Is there NAJA chapter nearby? 24. Projected monthly utility cost. 25. Projected monthly rent cost. 26. Proximity to journalism school.
Email complete proposals to email@example.com and place "NAJA Office Space RFP" in subject line by October 1, 2006.
Or mail to:Native American Journalists Association - Office Space RFP
555 Dakota St.
Al Neuharth Media Center
Vermillion, SD 57069
For questions, please email NAJA President Mike Kellogg at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (405) 372-5000, ext. 290.
DNC Launches Native American Page
We laud the Democratic National Committee for continuing to build on its commitment to all Americans in all states, by launching its webpage for Native Americans. In addition to information about the DNC’s Native American Outreach Committee, you can find articles about current political issues of interest to Indians, surveys about issues important to you, and summaries of how Democrats and Indians can work together to take leadership of this country into our own hands.
“Governor Dean and the dedicated people at the DNC continue to reach out to Indian Country, recognizing the power of Indians not just as voters, but as candidates to bring about great change in our country,” said INDN’s List President and DNC National Committeewoman Kalyn Free. “This new webpage provides an excellent reminder of why Indian values are Democratic values.”
Frank LaMere, who chairs the Native American Coordinating Council at the DNC, remarked in his welcome letter on the continuing ties between Democrats and American Indians: “As Democrats, we celebrate our party's diversity and are deeply proud of it. It is a source of strength and energy that informs our vision of what America must be.
Native Americans are an important part of that diversity. We have deeply shared values and commitments that unite us. The Democratic Party supports and respects Tribal Sovereignty and the government-to-government relationship and is committed to upholding it, as stated in the Democratic Party Platform.”
You can find the page at www.democrats.org/nativeamericans.
More INDN Victories Just Days
Primary Day is approaching for our four Washington candidates. Claudia Kauffman and Ms. Kyle Taylor Lucas will be facing opponents in their Washington primaries for the State Senate next Tuesday, Sept. 19. Representative John McCoy and Dr. Don Barlow are running unopposed in their primaries for the state house.
Kyle Taylor Lucas has spent a career in public policy and government affairs, and will offer unique insight and valuable experience to the halls of the state legislature. Her history of practical problem-solving makes her an exciting choice for the people of Washington’s Senate District 35. Lucas was recently endorsed by the state Democratic party over her Democrat In Name Only (and the best Democrat that George Bush could hope for) opponent.
Claudia Kauffman is the founder of a Native American leadership organization who understands the challenges facing Indians and tribal governments. As a trustee of a public university and chair of the Native American parents’ advisory committee on her daughter’s school board, she has the experience to improve education at all levels and for all people throughout the state. Kauffman has been busily building support in neighborhoods throughout her Kent, Washington district in anticipation of a tough challenge from the former police chief.
These are important races for the people of Washington, and they both need your support in their primary election next Tuesday. Please visit their websites as INDN’s List moves toward another string of victories.
To support Claudia Kauffman, visit www.claudiaforsenate.com. To make sure Kyle Taylor Lucas proves victorious, visit www.kyleforsenate.com .
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