N'Daki Menan Protection Plan
N'Daki Menan Protection Plan
Open letter to Chief & council.
As a community member and land protector I am deeply concerned about the survival of our people, the health of our water, animals, land and trees. For four generations we have continued to live under the threat of colonial policies and devastating effects of resource extraction.
I am writing to advise the Chief & Council that there is a problem with the current mining extraction process on our traditional land and territories of N’Daki Menan. As stewards of the land we must assert ourselves to protect our watershed and protect our way of living as Anishinaabe people. If we do not create proper protection plans our waters will be poisoned and our way of life destroyed.
The current mining consultation system is designed for anyone who has a claim has the right to exploration with no baseline study, to see what type impacts may occur. We need a set of rules to operate on our territories before greenfield mining occurs. The consultation process has been industry biased, we need another perspective and another point of view to understand the environmental impacts on our land and people. Money cannot restore poison in the water, an example of a community close to us that is currently suffering from gold mining.
“Atikameksheng First Nation in its struggle to protect its waterways. Arsenic from the abandoned Long Lake Gold Mine has been leaching into the lake waters. Elevated levels of arsenic found in the southwest corner of Long Lake near the abandoned mines creates health and environmental hazards affecting recreation, drinking water, and fishing activities, as well as threatening the wildlife grazing throughout the surrounding areas. This is one example of the impact that mining companies have on the environment.”- Sudbury Chapter in Solidarity with Atikameksheng.
This planet does not need any more gold and diamonds extracted from the land they currently store them in vaults and there are enough diamonds and gold to last beyond 200 years. We need to empower our people to create alternative ways of economic development. Our current Lands and Resource department is overwhelmed with no balance of protection and vision for our future generations that is based on traditional ecological knowledge.
I want to put forth a recommendation to establish an immediate moratorium to protect our community and the traditional territories of N’Dakimenan and all that connects to our land and water shed, from all mineral exploration, resource extraction at all current stages. It is critical that this moratorium remains in effect until:
1.A protection plan is in place for our region's unique watershed (water protection plan), A set of rules is in place that put people and ecosystems first.
2.Fix outdated mining laws to operate on our territory. Before any green field mining operation occurs, baseline studies must be conducted not only of provincial laws but values but of community needs also to be assessed.
3. Species of concern reviewed, community values established from an indigenous lens based on best available science and Traditional Ecological Knowledge, and reflect the global significance of our unique landscape and water shed.
4.Access to clean water & housing secured for our community members.
5.Review of our current policies : Consultation protocol for mining explorations & development within N’Dakimenan is based on profit and colonial perspective -what are we agreeing to? This needs to be an open and transparent plan.
“Environmental impacts of mining can occur at local, regional, and global scales through direct and indirect mining practices. Impacts can result in erosion, sinkholes, loss of biodiversity, or the contamination of soil, groundwater, and surface water by the chemicals emitted from mining processes.
Diamond mining also has many detrimental impacts on the environment including soil erosion, deforestation, and ecosystem destruction.
Gold mining has some of the largest human and environmental impacts of all types of metal mining. ... Industrial-scale gold mining generates over 20 tons of contaminated wastes for each new gold ring made. Industrial mining also uses large quantities of sodium cyanide – a substance very toxic to living organisms.”
Mining interests cannot continue to be prioritized over heath, lands and natural laws of indigenous communities. Living up to the promise of reconciliation means action is required now to prevent further violations of Indigenous rights. We deserve the means to protect our human rights, ways of life, livelihoods and environment from the potential or actual effects of mineral exploration and extraction activities. Logging is already threatening our way of life. Now our existence on this land and our way of living as Anishinaabe is at stake. The spirit of our Ancestors and responsibility to our future generations is all connected within the land, trees, water and animals. If we do not create proper protection plans our waters will be poisoned and our way of life destroyed.
Sincerely, Christine Friday