From November 4-7, 2011, representatives from many Indigenous communities, including the Secwepemc, Wet’suwet’en, St’at’mic, Tsimshian, Dakelh and Carrier from the Yinka Dene Alliance, Tla-o-qui-aht, Ahousaht, Cheam and Fort Chipeywan–will meet to discuss resistance strategies at the Indigenous Assembly Against Mining and Pipelines in Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories.
In response to the “Meeting Minds, Making Mines” conference being held by the Canadian Aboriginal Minerals Association at the Pan Pacific Hotel from November 6-8th, a strategy session will be hosted in East Vancouver with various affected communities in attendance.
British Columbia Premier Christy Clark recently pledged to speed up approvals and snip the red tape for the creation of 8 new mines and the expansion of 9 existing mining projects in BC. The plan also includes “10 new non-treaty agreements with First Nations by 2015 to improve economic certainty.” It’s clear that the current provincial agenda is to override Aboriginal Rights and Title to guarantee economic security to the mining companies.
In a public letter sent out on September 23rd, Secwepemc activist Arthur Manuel called on Aboriginal leaders to resist the further exploitation of Indigenous homelands:
We need to not let this opportunity pass us by, we need to believe in our Aboriginal Title and Rights. The onus or burden to make the economy in our territory serve our children and grandchildren is our job. Follow this story and get involved in meetings about mining and other economic issues. You own the land… Be careful out there in your traditional territory, some little people in the future are depending on you.
On Sunday November 6th there will be a public demonstration starting at 3pm at the Vancouver Art Gallery. A public panel will also be held on November 7th at 6:30pm at 1803 East 1st Ave (just east of Commercial Drive) in which impacted Indigenous communities will be speaking out against mining.
Songs of Resistance
During a rally held in May 2011 against a proposed open-pit copper mine on Chitapii (Catface Mountain) in Ahousaht Territory, Kalilah Rampanen – the 11-year-old daughter of Nitanis Desjarlais and John Rampanen – shared her song More Than Copper to Me.
Rampanen, who is Nuu-chah-nulth from Ahousaht, wrote and performed the song at the Imperial Metals AGM to protest a proposed mine where they have been exploring for copper.
The Ahousaht band council is one of the only First Nations working with Imperial Metals; and they have approved exploratory drilling in their territory.
Check out her performance below:
VIDEO: Kalilah Rampanen – “More Than Copper to Me”