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Canada -Harper gives illusion of consultation with First Nations and Dene Nation speaks

“…the First Nations community believes that the Canadian government has the duty to consult with the indigenous people of the country based on the treaties and agreements….”
Myka Burning in interview with Press TV
Sat Jan 12, 2013 7:20PM GMT
An activist says the government of the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has only created the illusion of collaborating with the First Nations community, Press TVreports.

Myka Burning in interview with Press TV
“I think they are just sort of trying to appease people, you know, like giving the illusions of actually having that consultation going on but not actually committing to it,” Myka Burning said in an interview with Press TV on Saturday.

Referring to the protests staged by the Idle No More movement, Burning noted that the demonstrators will continue until they can achieve their demands.

“The protests when it comes to Idle No More itself…will continue until Harper brings back that collaboration with First Nations people which he has supposed to be doing, which he has been failing to do. That is one of the main objectives of Idle No More – it has to get that dialogue back on the table,” she further explained.

The Idle No More, a movement of the First Nations in Canada, has been holding protests since November 2012.

On January 3, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Shawn Atleo called on Harper to meet with the aboriginal leaders over their concerns.

Canadian aboriginals have also held demonstrations since the government approved Bill C-45, which seeks to change the rules about aboriginal land. The protests intensified after Chief of Attawapiskat First Nation in Northern Ontario Theresa Spence went on a hunger strike on December 11, 2012, demanding a meeting with Harper.

“Until he [Stephen Harper] does that overall, the movement will keep going. It has to be a consistent thing. It cannot be just like a promise of, ‘Oh, I’m going to do this’. We need to see some actual concrete things coming from parliament,” Burning pointed out.

She added that the First Nations community believes that the Canadian government has the duty to consult with the indigenous people of the country based on the treaties and agreements.

“Again, [we will continue] until we see that they are…actually communicating with us and having us on the forefront of that consultation, again, it is just words. We are waiting to see action,” the activist concluded.


Canadian Dene peoples and uranium mining

By phoenix | 11/15/12 2:15pm

From the days of the Hudson Bay Company, the indigenous peoples in what became the country of Canada have been moved off ancestral lands, exploited for their resources, their cultures deliberately destroyed and their health, well-being and environments undermined.

Deline is a small village of Dene people on the shore of Great Bear Lake in the North West Territories. Radium was mined on the shore of the lake from 1934 to 1939 and a uranium mine was opened in 1943 that operated until 1962. Most of the workers in the mine were men from the Dene tribe who carried bags of radioactive uranium ore up out of the mine. Radioactive tailings from the mining operation were dumped directly into the lake and were also used as landfill without regard to the health of the Dene or impact on the environment.

The uranium mine was opened under emergency War regulation which make retroactive compensation and mitigation very difficult to achieve in court. The mine was operated by a Canadian Crown corporation and the refined uranium was exported to the United States for the Manhattan Project. Once again, the miners were given no warnings about the dangers of handling these toxic radioactive ores so they took no precautions with respect to their water and food.

In 1975, young miners from Deline were recruited to work on a government training program. They were not given gas masks to protect them from the threat of radon gas exposure. In 1997, ten young men from Deline were recruited to help clean up some hot spots of radioactive soil in Sawmill Bay, a community in the area. They were not told of the dangers of the work but what they have learned since has them fearing serious contamination of land, water and animals in their area which threaten their health and survival.

Deline is known as the “village of widows” because most of the men who worked as laborers in the mines have died of some form of cancer. The women were left to raise their children without their husbands and fathers to bring support the families. This has resulted in them becoming dependent on welfare. The children are raised without access to the wisdom and traditional knowledge of their missing male elders. This is destroying their ability to understand and continue their ancestral ways.

In 1998, the Dene First Nation went to the Canadian government with a demand for compensation and mitigation. After a five-year study, the government concluded that there was insufficient evidence that the radioactivity from the mine was responsible for the high level of cancer deaths in the village. In other similar situations with uranium mines on indigenous peoples lands, there is evidence that economic considerations have been influencing government denials of health and environmental dangers of uranium mine in spite of mounting scientific validation of such dangers.

This is not just a historical question of redressing old injuries to indigenous peoples in Canada. There are plans to expand uranium mining on tribal lands.

January 13, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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