Monday, May 12, 2008

Serpent River Says 'No' To Uranium Exploration

A First Nation not too far from Sudbury -- closer to Sault Ste. Marie, actually -- is taking a stand against uranium exploration and extraction on or near their territory:

Serpent River says 'no' to uranium exploration
By Rosalind Raby, The Sudbury Star

There is a battle brewing between a North Shore First Nation and the Ontario government when it comes to exploring for minerals in the area.

The chief of Serpent River First Nation said his band members do not want to see any uranium exploration of any kind on or near their territory.

"It has come to the point where we must insist on decisive action from the Ontario government on a list of matters pertaining to development in our traditional territory including the exploration of minerals, especially uranium," said Serpent River Chief Isadore Day (Wiindawtegowinini). "I'm concerned that private sector proponents for development are moving faster than government responses to consultation requirements for First Nations.

"It poses real challenges between industry and First Nations when government moves slower in First Nation negotiations than it does when pushing through proponent approvals for expropriation of Crown Lands."

He went on to say, "What's worse is that consultation and accommodation requirements are not even in the form of mutually agreed policy between the Crown and the First Nations, and yet government is approving land expropriation in favor of development in traditional lands."

Uranium exploration and potential development is a serious matter that the community has recently established a strong formal position on.

"We have experienced a number of tragic incidents with respect to uranium mining impacts in our community's history," stressed Day, "And, we are determined not to allow any of that damage to be inflicted upon our people or our lands ever again."

As settlers, we have to oppose the state's infringement on the rights of indigenous nations to determine their own future and control their own land. Support Serpent River's decision to say "NO"!

(From an email from AP.)

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