ROBERVAL, December 1, 2014 – After 8 days of walking to protest uranium mining, Cree Nation youth are now travelling through the Lac-Saint-Jean region. They have already travelled over 350 kilometres from Mistissini, where the Cree Nation’s fight against uranium mining first began. The march aims to send a clear message to the Quebec government that the Cree Nation is opposed to uranium mining on their territory, Eeyou Istchee. The march also provides Quebecers from across the province an opportunity to show their support for the Cree’s stance.
The Cree Nation supports and participates in natural resource development on their territory when it is responsible, sustainable and respectful of Cree rights. For example, the Cree Nation recently agreed to several mining projects, including Stornoway’s Renard diamond project and a gold mining project by Goldcorp. However, uranium is a special case – the Cree Nation does not accept the risks associated with uranium development. The Cree Nation supports a permanent moratorium on uranium exploration and mining in Quebec, like those in place in British Columbia and Nova Scotia.
The youth of the Cree Nation have been warmly welcomed by a large number of people in the communities along their way. “I am very happy with the support our group has been getting since our departure,” said Joshua Iserhoff, Youth Grand Chief of the Cree Nation of Eeyou Istchee. “The hundreds of people we meet each day are very receptive to our message. They’re aware of the various uranium projects across Quebec, and they share the view that we don’t need a uranium mine in Quebec, because the risks are too great.”
Amy Linton, Chief of the Mistissini Youth Council, shares the concerns of her community: “We are worried about the dramatic consequences resulting from possible water contamination. Strateco Resources’ Matoush project aims to develop uranium mining north of Lake Mistissini. In addition to being the largest lake in Quebec, this fresh water body and its resources are of vital importance for our community and constitute an invaluable natural wealth for the region and Quebec.”
As the march passed through the ancestral territory of the Pekuakamiulnuatsh, the Innu joined with the Cree walkers. The community of Mashteuiatsh welcomed the group of walkers by offering them comfort and a bit of a rest on Saturday and Sunday. Chief Gilbert Dominique confirmed their complete agreement with the Cree Nation’s stance on uranium, and noted that the Innu Nation submitted a brief to the BAPE which said NO to uranium. “I congratulate the youth of the Cree Nation for their courage, perseverance and leadership. We hope that this important message will be heard and understood by all,” he said.
Initiated by the youth of the Cree Nation, the Stand Against Uranium march began on November 23 in Mistissini. After travelling about 850 kilometres, the march will end in Montreal on December 15 for the last day of hearings held by the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE) on the uranium industry in Quebec. To follow the Stand Against Uranium march or to show your support for the walkers, please visit the website below, or the Facebook page.