Tag Archives: Secwepemc Nation

Chiefs urge Tiny House Warriors to end pipeline protest camp in B.C.’s central Interior

The Tiny House Warriors camp at Blue River, B.C., about 230 kilometres north of Kamloops in the province’s central Interior. The protest camp is located near the route of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project running from Edmonton to Metro Vancouver. (Brittney McNabb)

Workers on Secwépemc traditional lands have been threatened, chiefs say. Occupiers reject their authority

Chiefs of two First Nations in B.C.’s central Interior are urging anti-pipeline protesters to pack up and leave an uninvited encampment on their traditional territory.

But a leader of the Tiny House Warriors village says they do not recognize the authority of the elected chiefs to make that call.

In a joint statement issued Thursday, Chiefs Shelly Loring of the Simpcw First Nation and Rosanne Casimir of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation said the Tiny House Warriors at Blue River have violated Secwépemc laws and customs.

“The interactions that I have witnessed are violent in nature,” Loring said in an interview with CBC Daybreak Kamloops’ Doug Herbert.

“We thought that it was our responsibility to stand up and say this has to stop,” Loring said. “This is enough.”

The chiefs said protest camp members were not invited and do not speak for the two First Nations located near Barriere and Kamloops, along the North and South Thompson Rivers. The Tiny House Warriors village at Blue River is located about 230 kilometres north of Kamloops near the path of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

Loring said the Simpcw Nation gave free, prior and informed consent for Trans Mountain to build and operate the new pipeline.

The First Nation operates a company that provides security for the project. Loring said protesters are increasingly aggressive in almost daily interactions with the Indigenous and non-Indigenous security workers.

Simpcw First Nation Chief Shelly Loring (left) and Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir issued a statement July 2 saying the Tiny House Warriors are violating the First Nations laws and customs and urging them to vacate their camp at Blue River, B.C. (Simpcw First Nation)

“Some of our individuals that have been threatened. We’ve had some of our individuals that have been spit on. They have been recorded without their permission,” she said.

“There’s been a number of negative interactions that have been occurring and this has been ongoing for the last two years.”

Kanahus Manuel, a resident of the Tiny House Warriors village and its spokesperson, said in a phone interview that a statement will be issued shortly from lawyers for the group in response to what she described as false allegations against the protest camp members.

Manuel said she rejects the chiefs’ call for the Tiny House Warriors to stand down from their protest because the chief-and-council system has been unilaterally imposed by the federal government with no authority over traditional lands outside their own reserve.

Band chiefs’ authority challenged

“Federal Indian Bands are not the rightful or collective title holders.” Manuel said. “Therefore they can’t make decisions regarding our collective territories.”

Earlier this week Kamloops Thompson MLA Peter Milobar said he had met with British Columbia’s solicitor general over concerns about the protest group and its impact on nearby residents and businesses.

Loring said the First Nation shares concerns expressed by the protesters for the safety of women and girls in the communities affected by the pipeline construction boom. However, the Tiny House protesters have not spoken with her about the situation.

Among 19 women from the Simpcw First Nation are working on the Trans Mountain project, she said, “they report positive experiences — and no serious incidents.”

On Thursday the Supreme Court of Canada rejected the last remaining court challenge to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, refusing to hear an appeal from several First Nations against the project.

Loring said she is now concerned that more protesters will be coming from across the country to join the Tiny House camp.

The Tiny House Warriors pipeline protesters set up camps at Blue River two years ago to try to stop the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project. (Simpcw First Nation)

By: CBC News · Posted: Jul 02, 2020

[SOURCE]

Members of Secwepemc Nation to Build ‘Tiny Houses’ on Trans Mountain Pipeline Route

Tiny Houses Arrive for Standing Rock. Photo by Roger Peet

A First Nations group plans to build “Tiny Houses” on route of the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

The group is called the Tiny House Warriors.

According to a media release by Greenpeace, members of the Secwepemc Nation are constructing the first of ten tiny houses — based on a design from allies at Standing Rock— next week at an undisclosed location on unceded Secwepemc territory. Greenpeace Canada, is a partner in the build.

InfoTel News reports, from Sept. 5 to Sept. 8 at Neskonlith near Kamloops, volunteers with the Tiny House Warriors will be working to build a home in the path of the pipeline with the intention of rebuilding village sites along the route. In doing this the group hopes to assert its authority over unceded territory.

The unceded Secwepemc territory, is the largest indigenous territory that Kinder Morgan’s controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion will cross.

The Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline was originally built in 1953 and the $6.8 billion expansion is expected to triple the lines capacity as it runs from Edmonton to Vancouver.

For more on the tiny home protest go here.

Tiny Houses in Standing Rock. Photos by Roger Peet.

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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After Mount Polley: ‘This is Indigenous Law’

Imperial Metals-owned Mount Polley mine became site of most devastating tailings storage facility disaster in Canadian history.

Imperial Metals-owned Mount Polley mine became site of most devastating tailings storage facility disaster in Canadian history.

TheTyee.ca

Six months after dam breach calamity, First Nation takes the lead on mining regulation.

New mining policy based on best practices is indigenous law, says the Northern Secwepemc the Qelmucw.

Thursday marked six months since the Imperial Metals-owned Mount Polley mine became the site of the most devastating tailings storage facility disaster in Canadian history, when nearly 25 million cubic metres of toxic mine effluent waste and chemicals spilled.

The spill damaged both Hazeltine Creek and Quesnel Lake, which reside within the traditional territorial boundaries of the Secwepemc Nation.

An official report on why the spill happened from the Mount Polley mine itself was set for release at the end of January, but the B.C. government altered the regulations. Now a report from Mount Polley isn’t due until 2017.

Such moves from the provincial government have spurred the Secwepemc, and specifically the Xat’sūll (Soda Creek) First Nation, to takes steps to ensure nothing like Mount Polley happens again.

The Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw leadership council, which is composed of four northern Secwepemc bands, finalized a mining policy dated Nov. 19, 2014. Formation of the mining policy began in 2012, but the Mount Polley spill provided the council the motivation to finish it.

”One thing I want to make perfectly clear is this policy isn’t a wish-list,” said Jacinda Mack, leadership council co-ordinator. ”This is prescriptive. This is indigenous law. We did very thorough research and took more than two years to release the final document.”

The leadership council had mining experts and lawyers comb through the policy, which is now part of the partnership between mining proponents, the province, and the northern Shuswap. Mining proponents have a definite baseline framework to abide by on Secwepemc territory, Mack added.

”This goes above and beyond anything the B.C. government currently requires from a mining company,” Mack said. ”We have compiled the best mining practices in the world into one document.”

First Nation claims ‘inherent jurisdication’

The 54-page policy outlines exactly what the Secwepemc expect to happen within any current or future mine on its more than 53,000 square kilometres of traditional territory.

”The Secwepemc Nation has un-surrendered and un-extinguished title and rights throughout the Secwepemc traditional territory known as Secwepemculecw,” the policy reads. ”The Secwepemc Nation has the inherent jurisdiction to provide stewardship of Secwepemculecw and to ensure its sustainability and viability for future generations.”

B.C.’s Minister of Energy and Mines, Bill Bennett, declined to comment on the policy. A spokesperson told Ricochet by email that the ”government is reviewing the northern Shuswap’s mining policy document” and is ”committed to working with First Nations so they can benefit from economic activity in their traditional territories.

”The Province continues to encourage First Nations to be involved in all stages of mineral development, from exploration to operations and reclamation. Acting in partnership is the best way to provide a meaningful role in land and resource management for First Nations, and to provide for benefit-sharing and new economic opportunities. We will work constructively with the Xat’sūll First Nations to develop a shared vision for land and resource use.”

A partnership is exactly what the Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw leadership council is seeking in the release and implementation of the mining policy, and for that to truly take place, their involvement must become more than an afterthought, Mack said.

”We were never consulted when any mine on our territory was built,” she said. ”We took that into consideration as well as the calls from the public to ensure the devastation caused by the Mount Polley spill is cleaned and never repeated.”

Judith Sayers, a strategic advisor and adjunct professor of business at the University of Victoria, has reviewed the mining policy and stresses the importance of it and similar documents from First Nations across Canada.

”As far as governance goes, it’s good for any First Nation to create policy about mining, forestry, tourism or any use of land is necessary to move toward self-sufficiency,” said Sayers, who is from the Hupacasath Nation. ”If you want to do business with us, this is how we want it done. And you decide if you want to do that or negotiate ways you want it done differently. Of course some companies may be shown the door, but that’s business.”

‘Precedent setting’ for other First Nations

Part of the mining policy requires proponents to pay for the leadership council to conduct its own environmental review of any incident or proposal, with the council having the authority to accept or deny applications independent of non-First Nations authorities.

”Proponents have to know who they are attempting to enter into agreements with and policies like this, I think, can only be helpful in setting the table for negotiations,” Sayers said. ”If all parties were at the table for Prosperity mines [projects proposed on Tsilhqot’in land], it may not have had to go to court three times.”

”We understand this is potentially precedent setting,” Mack said. ”We’ve had other First Nations calling and asking if they can use our policy. The answer to that is yes. Change the name wherever (North Secwepemc te Qelmucw) appears. The more we put pressure on mining companies and the province the better for everyone.”

The Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw leadership council have a representative who worked with a panel to uncover why the Mount Polley disaster happened.

A glacial deposit, which was not found in testing prior to construction of the tailings enclosure, collapsed 30 to 35 metres below the corner of the tailings storage facility. Plus the slope of the dam and base of the tailings storage facility contributed to engineering failures, according to the report.

Imperial Metals is pushing to reopen Mount Polley, but the leadership council says there is still much to do before that can be considered viable.

In an on-air interview on Jan. 30, following the release of the Mount Polley report, Minister Bennett failed to mention the Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw report or the fact that the new mining policy is in effect after being adopted by the leadership council. He did say the province is working with industry representatives to resume production at Mount Polley.

”There remains much work ahead before we are even close to that discussion,” Mack said. ”We are looking at several years of response and engagement in regards to direct impacts of this disaster. We are in no rush to push ahead and reopen.

”We are in the process of implementing our (council’s) mining policy, and anticipate phasing in aspects of the policy in the next several months. I do not have details yet of what that would include, but it is our expectation that once we start implementing policy, we will follow up with the companies and government about compliance/non-compliance and next steps with regard to our title and rights.”

Sayers cautioned every First Nation to remember the reason and impact of any industrial business contract.

”These agreements belong to the people, meaning today’s generation and future generations, because they have to ensure anything that happens on the land allows traditional use to continue and even improve,” she said. ”Essentially it’s the collective rights of a given community that will be affected by a mine.”

Sayers added that, to increase economic certainty in current and future development in the province, lands should be transferred back to their respective people.

”People have to learn how to do business the right way. And on First Nations territory, the right way is increasingly being initiated by aboriginal people based on right and title.”  [Tyee]