Tahltan Territory, BC – The Tahltan Elders, youth and families were disappointed by the injunction granted against their blockade to protect their lands and people against Fortune Mineral’s open pit coal mine and Shell’s coalbed methane proposals. However, their commitment to ensuring no unsustainable development takes place remains strong.
“We view this as a minor setback in a much longer struggle for the Tahltan to protect the future of their people and the air, land and water on which they rely, said Rhoda Quock, “We believe the courts will set aside this decision once our lawyers have a chance to tell our story.”
The blockader’s lawyer was unable to appear yet the court granted the injunction after Fortune Mineral’s refused to postpone the hearing to allow the blockaders to be represented.
“We believe the court made this decision based upon incomplete information and affidavits that misrepresent internal Tahltan disputes, said Lillian Moyer, Tahltan Elder. “We are optimistic that when the court hears how the Tahltan Central Council (TCC) has manipulated the facts the courts will reconsider the injunction.”
Blockaders are stopping access to the Mount Klappan and the Sacred Headwaters, where the first trickles of four magnificent rivers flow-Spatsizi, Nass, Klappan and Skeena. The surrounding Stikine is a globally significant natural area and the centre of Tahltan culture. The salmon from these river and the wildlife and plants have sustained Tahltan for thousands of years.
Tahltan Elders have been occupying the Tahltan Band office for seven months protesting the lack of accountability of some elected Tahltan leaders including the TCC, which claims to represent the Tahltan Nation. The Elders have declared a moratorium on all new development until leadership accountability issues are resolved and agreements are reached about including Tahltan in all aspects of decision making.
“We are disappointed that BC courts decided to balance Fortune Minerals economic claims over the Tahltan’s title and rights without giving us theopportunity to be heard,” said Oscar Dennis, one of the named defendants. “But we are not worried because our Nation will continue to defend our lands.”
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For more information:
Rhoda Quock: 0118816-3146-6505 or 250.234.3138 (messages)
Lillian Moyer: 250.235.3151