The Gitxaala Nation Is Suing the Province Over Mining Claims
It's not over for the indigenous people affected by the abandoned mine and toxic spill left behind by Rise Gold CEO’s former company, Banks Island Gold. The toxic spill is still there and Mossman's trial is still pending. This week, the Gitxaala Nation took further action to sue for changes in mining law in BC Canada. Apparently, dozens of mining claims have been staked on ‘sacred’ territorial lands, but the Nation has never been notified.
A First Nation on B.C.’s north coast is suing the province over what it describes as unauthorized mining on its traditional territory.
The Gitxaała Nation, which has 1,800 members, 500 of whom live on-reserve on the nation’s traditional territory, filed a legal challenge Monday against the province’s mineral claim staking system.
The system does not align with reconciliation efforts or B.C.’s commitment to the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the claim says.
“The free-entry mineral claim staking needs to change,” Chief Coun. Linda Innes said during the announcement today. The system allows anyone to pay a fee and stake mining claims in most of the province without notification to First Nations or property owners.
The nation called on the province to immediately suspend all mineral claims granted for the territory between 2018 and 2020.
“Under their own laws, they have the obligation to set aside all existing mineral claims that are a part of the court proceeding and to suspend staking in Gitxaała territory until they can fulfill commitments to both their own constitutional duties and the promises made by the commitment to reconciliation and the declaration of Indigenous peoples,” Innes said.
Read the rest in The Tyee.
Amanda Follett Hosgood is The Tyee’s northern B.C. reporter. She lives in Wet’suwet’en territory.