The Tsilhqot’in Nation has announced peaceful action to protecting Teẑtan Biny (Fish Lake) and Yanah Biny (Little Fish Lake) from an extensive drilling program by Taseko Mines Limited.
The Tsilhqot’in National Government (TNG) issued a news release Monday and stated that they are assembling for a peaceful action west of Williams Lake to exercise their Aboriginal rights and ancestral laws in protecting a place of profound cultural and spiritual significance.
“As a Nation, we are looking to post up on Highway 20 and try to provide some education for people going through and looking to essentially give Taseko Mines notice that they have no consent to be in the Tsilhqot’in territory and to conduct their exploration permit,” TNG Vice-Chair Nits’ilʔin (Chief) Russell Myers Ross told MyCaribooNow.
“I think our general message is one of education to share with people there’s no mine that can be built in this area and to do this is work is really not consequential and unnecessary.”
“Second, it is also to call on B.C. government leaders to resolve this conflict,” Ross added.
“We’ve really exhausted our means of being able to do so in a civil way, and I think that we’re looking at utilizing our own laws to be responsible for caring of and protecting our land.”
An appeal to stop the drilling that Taseko Mines said will allow it to take the steps necessary to get closer to the day when such a decision can be made to build their New Prosperity mine was dismissed last month by the Supreme Court of Canada.
“I think for a lot of our members they’re angry and they’re frustrated. I think for us we’ve come a long ways and when we have situations like this it kind of brings us back to 150 years ago and we’re still defending our lands and our people from invaders that essentially don’t respect us as people, so I think it’s hard to deal with a company that’s still allowed to try to move freely under B.C. law to do what they think they have the permission to do,” Ross said.
“For us we want to keep it civil, we want it to be resolved in a good way, but I think the provocation of Taseko Mines continuing to move forward when they know that they don’t have consent is just pushing it into conflict where in some cases we don’t know whether or not we’ll be able to control. As Tsilhqot’in National Government, we’d rather be on the frontlines at this time to try to make some resolve before it gets any worse.”
(Editor’s Note: Listen to TNG Vice-Chair Nits’ilʔin (Chief) Russell Myers Ross in the audio file below)