A Xeni Gwet’in Councillor has been awarded one of the largest international awards for grassroots environmental activism.
Marilyn Baptiste, who has worked in leading her community to protect Tsilhqot’in Lands from Taseko’s New Prosperity project, says she is still in awe that she is being awarded the 2015 Goldman Environmental Prize.
“Stepping back and taking a look at it is a very a great honor and a very important opportunity to help get our word out there more, to help us in this fight to continue to protect our land and our future generations.”
Xeni Gwet’in Chief Roger William says that Marilyn has worked tirelessly with community and other Tsilhqot’in Chiefs to protect Tsilhqot’in lands from the Prosperity/New Prosperity projects.
“This prestigious award is a great encouragement to all of us.”
Tsilhqot’in Tribal Chair Chief Joe Alphonse says the award is very timely and helpful.
“Despite twice defeating the proposed Prosperity mine and following that up with a Supreme Court Ruling that for the first time declared Aboriginal title, the mining company continues grabbing at straws to force their proposal through-demonstrating poor leadership and how not to work with First Nations.”
“This the first time that a member from our Nation has received an international award as prestigious as this-we welcome the positive attention it brings to our Nation’s ongoing efforts to protect our sacred sites.”
Baptiste will be presented with the award along with 5 other recipients from across the globe, in San Francisco this evening followed by a ceremony in Washington on Wednesday.