Indigenous pipeline protesters take over B.C. park, displace campers

An Indigenous group calling itself the Tiny House Warriors has moved into the North Thompson River Provincial Park near Clearwater, B.C., in an effort to block the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Group spokeswoman Kanahus Manuel says they are reclaiming an ancestral village their people were forced from many years ago, while at the same trying to prevent the expansion of the pipeline through their traditional territory.

Manuel says they have moved into the site and will be building tiny houses on the land in an action that has the approval of the hereditary chiefs of the Secwepemc First Nation.

She says Indigenous land defenders within the group will resist the construction of the pipeline through their territory.

A statement from the provincial Ministry of Environment says B.C. Parks is maintaining the closure of the area while efforts are made to respectfully resolve the situation and it is offering refunds to those who have booked campsites.

The ministry says it recognizes the right to engage in peaceful protest; however, it also recognizes that people, who simply want a camping experience are being inconvenienced.

Manuel responded by saying her people have been inconvenienced by colonialism for over 150 years.

“We were moved off of our lands. There are internationally protected rights which (say) Indigenous people can use and exclusively occupy their lands to maintain our culture, our language and our ways.”

She said no one from the provincial government has come to speak with them since the group cut off access to the main road into the camp.

Many of the locals support their action, she said, because they don’t want the pipeline expansion either.

Although some people have been shouting racist slogans from the vehicles, she added.

“We’ve had a few drive-by shoutings.”

The Canadian Press

[SOURCE]

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Canadian Indigenous Activist in North Dakota Court to face Standing Rock Charges

Kanahus Manuel is in a North Dakota court today to face charges after she participated in the Standing Rock protests last year. (Carrie Cervantes)

Kanahus Manuel was arrested near the construction of the North Dakota Access Pipeline Oct. 22

A Secwepemc activist from B.C. is in a North Dakota court today to face charges stemming from her involvement with protests in Standing Rock.

Kanahus Manuel was among dozens of people arrested near the construction of the North Dakota Access Pipeline last Oct. 22.

She faces charges of criminal trespass, engaging in a riot, obstruction of a governmental function, disobedience of a public safety order during riot conditions and disorderly conduct.

“They’re bogus charges. It wasn’t a riot,” Manuel told CBC via telephone after travelling to Mandan, ND from B.C.

“On the day I was arrested, it was during a prayer walk away from the pipeline.”

The sun was rising as the police began to make arrests, she said.

“It was really violent,” she said. “We had elders, women and pregnant women. It was a peaceful march, we were singing.

“The police started to mobilize…they came over the hill like a war movie. They looked like war machines to us as civilians having not ever seen these machines before. We started to retreat because they were overpowering us.”

Manuel spent the day and night in jail and was released the next day. Two weeks later, she plead not guilty to the charges against her.

“I believe that these are major human and Indigenous rights violations. Because when native people stand up to say ‘no’ to these development projects, whether it’s in Canada with the Kinder Morgan project or here with the North Dakota Access Pipeline, if we are really following international standards of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People then these corporations and governments need the collective free, prior and informed consent of the Indigenous People, and they don’t have it. Indigenous People have said no.”

Facing charges

This isn’t the first time Manuel has faced criminal charges related to defending Indigenous rights.

In 2002 she was sentenced to three months in the Burnaby Women’s Institute for protesting the construction of the Sun Peaks Resort in her home territory, citing threats to traditional hunting grounds.

Manuel has also protested on the front lines against well-known development projects in B.C. like the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion and the Mount Polley tailings spill disaster by Imperial Metals.

Manuel said she’s headed to the courthouse with a fearless attitude, carrying the prayers of her supporters and holding onto her faith in traditional ceremonies to help get her through.

“I’m going in with no fear. I’m not scared to speak the truth.”

She stressed she’s not alone, and hundreds more are going through similar struggles since the events at Standing Rock.

“There’s a lot of arrest warrants out, people on the run. It’s wrong — these are young people that are protecting their land and culture. Standing Rock wasn’t just about stopping a pipeline, it was about building a massive convergence of native people to bring back our culture and to stand up together.”

By Brandi Morin, CBC News Posted: Oct 03, 2017

[SOURCE]

 

Indigenous Leader and Land Defender Arthur Manuel Dies in B.C.

Indigenous leader and land defender Arthur Manuel dies in B.C.

Indigenous leader and land defender Arthur Manuel dies in B.C.

Staff | World News – Metro Vancouver, Jan 12, 2017

Arthur Manuel, a long-time outspoken indigenous leader in British Columbia, has died at age 65.

The former chief of Neskonlith First Nation near Merritt, and former elected head of the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council, founded the Indigenous Network on Economies and Trade and was one of the leading critics of Canada’s policies towards First Nations.

His father, Grand Chief George Manuel — co-founder and former president of the National Indian Brotherhood, which became the Assembly of First Nations — is considered one of the most influential indigenous leaders in B.C.’s history.

Manuel died on Wednesday, but Metro could not immediate confirm what caused his death.

“Arthur Manuel was, without question, one of Canada’s strongest and most outspoken indigenous leaders in the defense of our indigenous land and human rights,” the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said in a statement Thursday. “We are so profoundly grateful for Arthur’s many sacrifices and contributions to our ongoing struggles to seek a full measure of justice for our indigenous peoples.

“Arthur’s legacy will continue to reverberate throughout our ongoing indigenous history for many, many generations to come.”

Most recently, the veteran leader in the Secwepemc nation joined the Standing Rock Sioux encampment in the U.S., which faced police rubber bullets and water cannons before halting the Dakota Access Pipeline. Last year, he co-authored the book Unsettling Canada: A National Wake Up Call.

Manuel was from a family of indigenous activists. His father, George Manuel, was president of the National Indian Brotherhood and the World Council of Indigenous Peoples.

Manuel’s sister is renowned indigenous filmmaker Doreen Manuel, who teaches and coordinates the Indigenous Independent Digital Filmmaking program at Capilano University.

And his daughter Kanahus Manuel is herself a leading figure in Secwepemc activism — particularly after the Imperial Metals tailings pond collapse at Mount Polley Mine.

Outpourings of support flowed in from other indigenous leaders across B.C. on Thursday. Former three-term Tahltan Nation president Annita McPhee posted on her Facebook wall that the indigenous community “lost a warrior” in Manuel’s passing.

“You were a true warrior of our rights and title and I was so blessed to have known you,” she wrote. “You were so inspirational, humble and so strong. I was so proud listening to you. You didn’t act like we had rights and title, you lived it.”

For Wet’suwet’en land defender and hereditary chief Toghestiy — also known as Warner Naziel — Manuel was a source of guidance to younger generations of indigenous people looking to protect their traditional territories.

“He picked up his late father George Manuel’s indigenous rights torch and carried it proudly throughout the world,” he said on Facebook. “He leaves behind a family of warriors who will continue to do the same. I will miss our conversations and his guidance.”

Manuel was seldom in the mainstream news headlines, but was renowned in First Nations circles and amongst non-indigenous environmental advocates alike. Roughly a decade ago, he co-founded a national network, Defenders of the Land.

“I learned so much from Arthur Manuel,” wrote Tzeporah Berman, co-founder of ForestEthics (since renamed STAND) and author of This Crazy Time: Living Our Environmental Challenge, in a Facebook post. “A great, kind, gentle yet fierce leader … So sad. He will be missed by many.”

For Alberta oil sands critic Crystal Lameman, of Beaver Lake Cree Nation, Manuel “epitomized what it meant to be a warrior, a man for his people and his family,” she said in a Facebook post.

“The indigenous rights movement lost a pillar, a man who upheld what it means to be resistance, to live the struggle, and to never give up,” Lameman said. “… He is a brave reminder of forgiveness, determination, love and perseverance.”

Metro News Vancouver Published on Thu Jan 12 2017

Source: worldnews.easybranches.com

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First Nation Outraged By Permit Allowing Mount Polley Tailing Release

Contents from a tailings pond is pictured going down the Hazeltine Creek into Quesnel Lake near the town of Likely, B.C. on August, 5, 2014. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

Contents from a tailings pond is pictured going down the Hazeltine Creek into Quesnel Lake near the town of Likely, B.C. on August, 5, 2014. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

CBC News

Mine responsible for 2014 environmental disaster granted permit to release effluent into Quesnel Lake

Members of a B.C. First Nation are speaking out against the province for allowing the Mount Polley mine to drain effluent from a tailings pit into Quesnel Lake.

Secwepemc Nation spokesperson Kanahus Manuel is outraged by the province’s decision, and worried for the people who use Quesnel Lake.

“This effluent and this treated water that Imperial Metals is discharging into Quesnel Lake is not meeting the drinking water guidelines,” she says. “It is going to be flowing right down into the Fraser River which 63 per cent of B.C. depends on for our watershed.”

The Environment Ministry approved a short-term permit Tuesday to allow the discharge from the mine tailings pit which is forecast to reach capacity in April, 2016.

Mount Polley was the site of an environmental disaster in August of 2014 when its original tailing pond burst spilling 24 million cubic metres of mine waste and water into nearby lakes and rivers.

The environment ministry says the current discharge will be treated and then allowed to flow into the lake at a depth of 30 to 40 meters below the surface.

“The province would not grant a water discharge permit from a mine site unless the province was absolutely certain that the water being discharged would meet the federal drinking water guidelines,” said B.C. Energy and Mines minister Bill Bennett.

When asked for clarification, the ministry said the treated water from the tailings pit is expected to meet drinking water standards ‘at the edge of a dilution zone’ in the lake, although the ministry did not say how large that dilution zone is.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/mount-polley-effluent-release-permit-1.3346934

Imperial Metals Announces Amidst Protests That Mount Polley Mine Could Re-Start In Months

Secwepemc Women's Warrior Society Kanahus Manuel photo courtesy Warrior Press

Secwepemc Women’s Warrior Society Kanahus Manuel photo courtesy Warrior Press

VICTORIA – The open-pit, gold-and-copper mine hit by a devastating tailings pond breach that caused an environmental disaster in central British Columbia could be operating safely and near full capacity within months, the company has announced.

Steve Robertson, vice-president of corporate affairs at Imperial Metals Corp., (TSE-Ill), said Wednesday that more than 50 per cent of Mount Polley’s 370 employees would be back at work if the Vancouver-based company is granted a permit to restart operations.

“If we get a permit approving the restart of the mine in June, it’s going to take a few weeks, but within a few weeks we would be able to be up and running,” he said. “What we’re proposing is a modified restart.”

Robertson said the startup phase would not be full speed.

He said 276 people were employed doing restoration in March, but those numbers are fluctuating.

Environmental and aboriginal groups say they will oppose any decision that allows Mount Polley, blamed for spilling 24-million cubic metres of silt and water into nearby lakes and rivers last August, to resume operations.

“We don’t want it to reopen,” said Kanahus Manuel, a spokeswoman for the Williams Lake area Secwepemc Women Warriors Society.

“What I know for a fact is a small group of people can do a lot. We have these small pockets of people everywhere, and together we make up hundreds of thousands of people who are opposed to mining and destruction of our territory.”

The warriors’ society was part of protests at the Toronto Stock Exchange, B.C. government offices, the Canadian consulate in Los Angeles and Portland State University in Oregon.

“When it comes down to it we are talking about clean water,” said Manuel. “That tailings pond will be forever. That destruction that they did there and all those tailings they are not cleaning up will be there forever.”

B.C.’s Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett said Imperial Metals must prove to a mine development technical review body Mount Polley can resume operations safely, on a temporary and permanent basis.

A 30-day public comment period on Mount Polley’s application to reopen ends May 2.

The review body includes representatives from government agencies, First Nations, local governments, the community of Likely, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Environment Canada.

An independent, government-ordered report concluded earlier this year the construction of Mount Polley’s tailings pond on top of a sloped glacial lake weakened the foundation of the dam and was akin to loading a gun and then pulling the trigger.

It said the spill was caused by an inadequately designed dam that didn’t account for drainage and erosion failures associated with glacial till beneath the pond.

Bennett said he is deeply aware of the environmental, economic and social concerns associated with the mine-permit decision.

“There are a lot of families up there worried about their jobs,” he said. “You get pulled in both directions. I want to make sure it’s done absolutely flawlessly from a policy point of view. I also want to see those families working.”