MISTISSINI, EEYOU ISTCHEE (Quebec), June 6, 2014 – Public hearings on the uranium sector were held this week in Eeyou Istchee, co-chaired by the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE) and the James Bay Advisory Committee on the Environment (JBACE). At hearings in Chisasibi, Mistissini and Chibougamau, Cree citizens and leaders came out in large numbers to convey to the BAPE their serious concerns regarding uranium exploration and mining in their territory.
“In Chisasibi, Mistissini and Chibougamau, Cree community members presented their perspectives and insights eloquently and vigorously, leaving no doubt that the Cree Nation’s opposition to uranium mining is well-reasoned, justified, and supported by our people throughout Eeyou Istchee,” said Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come. “The Cree Nation as a whole stands united against uranium activities on our lands.”
The most advanced uranium exploration project to date in Quebec, Strateco Resources’ Matoush Project, is located 215 km north of Mistissini, on traditional family traplines. The Cree Nation of Mistissini, supported by the Grand Council of the Crees and the other Cree communities, vigorously opposed the project, which was ultimately rejected by the Quebec government in November 2013.
Chief Richard Shecapio of the Cree Nation of Mistissini explained: “the Cree way-of-life and economy remain dependent on abundant and healthy animals and plants from an uncompromised environment. It is our responsibility to continue to actively protect these lands. Our community’s freedom to live off the land is the cornerstone of our culture, and our priority as a Nation will be to ensure that we can share this freedom with coming generations.”
“The Cree Nation recognizes the natural resource potential of Eeyou Istchee, and has indicated time and time again our willingness to participate in and consent to responsible development projects,” Grand Chief Coon Come noted. “But uranium is a special case. The risks associated with uranium mining pose too great a threat to the environment, our health and our culture, now and for generations to come. We are confident that when Quebeckers learn the true facts about uranium, they will join with us in opposing uranium development throughout Quebec.”