Secwepemc Plan Mt. Polley Protest
Williams Lake, B.C. – A protest will mark the two-year anniversary of the Mt. Polley tailings pond breach this Thursday.
Organizers are calling it a “resistance gathering” and it’s been organized by the Secwepemc Women’s Warrior Society. It’s in response to the provincial government’s decision to issue a full operating permit to mine operators Imperial Metals in June.
The action began last night with a dinner and presentation on the mine in Vancouver and tomorrow it will continue with a bus and convoy of private vehicles that will travel to a camp set up at the Mount Polley mine entrance for the protest on Thursday.
“We’re calling on indigenous people and activists, allies, supporters and people that are really concerned about our water and salmon to come out and stand in solidarity with us,” says Kanahus Freedom of the Secwepemc Women’s Warrior Society and one of the organizers of the resistance gathering.
“It’s been two years after the Mt. Polley Mine disaster and there’s still no sufficient or meaningful cleanup that’s taken place.”
She continues: “The province has no jurisdiction to be issuing permits to companies illegally operating on our Sovereign Territories without the free, prior, informed consent of the Secwepemc Tribal Peoples.”
Freedom, who is based out of the southern part of the Secwepemc territory near Shuswap Lake, says its an issue that affects all 17 bands covering their land.
“We’re talking about a common area, a collective use area for the Secwepemc people. Quesnel Lake is the largest, deepest, glacier bed lake in the world, and is a very culturally and spiritually significant area not just for the northern Secwepemc people but for the entire Secwepemc nation.”
Is the entire Secwepemc nation united in the rally?
“You have to look at Canada too. Is Canada all united on this issue? One thing that I could say is that we are all united in the protection of our water. We all understand we need water to survive?”