Fortune Minerals Blocked From Entering the Mount Klappan Coal Fields

Posted by admin on Jul 19th, 2005

Telegraph Elders,Tl’abânot’în Clan and Iskut First Nations Block the passage of heavy Industrial Equipment from entering the Sacred Headwaters:

Fortune Minerals plan to begin drilling for coal in the Kla-bon-a-tine Sacred Headwaters/Mount Klappan area hit a roadblock over the weekend. In a display of growing Tahltan unity in opposition to failed leadership, the Iskut First Nations, Telegraph Tahltan Elders and Tl’abânot’în families put up a Blockade at the junction of Hwy 37 and the Eulue Lake road in northern British Columbia on Saturday July 16, 2005. The Eulue lake road is the current access way into the Mount Klappan Coalfields.

On June 18, 2005 Fortune Minerals was given notice that their project infringed upon Tl’abânot’în Aboriginal Title and Rights when the company was granted tenure without honorable consultation with the family whose traditional territory the tenure is located on. Fortune mineral to date has not responded to the notice.

Oscar Dennis the spokesperson for the Tl’abânot’în families states “The Fortune Minerals project in the Tl’abâne area would directly impact our traditional lifestyle, a lifestyle we’ve maintained for tens of thousand of years and to date we continue to use this area on a regular basis. Matter of fact a few of our campsites are set to be flooded with waste dumps. However, no one will destroy our world without first consulting with us.”

The protesters felt that because of the breakdown in Tahltan leadership it would be appropriate for Fortune Minerals to engage directly with the people who would be mostly impacted by the proposed development.

On Monday July 18, Fortune Mineral’s Robin Goad met briefly to inform the protesters that they will not engage with anyone other than the duly elected Tahltan officials. However, the Iskut First Nations elected officials are working with the protesters and some of the Iskut First Nations Council supported and participated in the blockade.

“We told Mr. Goad that no exploration and drilling will take place without the consent of our Elders and families. Fortune Minerals and the Crown made a major mistake by agreeing to rights in our territory without engaging with us first and we will maintain our Blockade until they begin to recognize our Rights and Title to our territory” Says Oscar Dennis.

Fortune Minerals had plans to meet with Curtis Rattray of the Tahltan Central Council, Jerry Asp of the Tahltan Nation Development Corporation and Victoria regulators on July 21, 2005 in the Klappan. The protesters maintain that this will not take place!

A spokesperson for the Telegraph Elders asked Mr. Goad whether Fortune minerals would respect Tahltan Elders Moratorium (Dena nenn Sogga neh‘ine) imposed on February 25, 2005, which prohibited any further resource development until certain conditions about governance, sustainability, shared decision-making, and revenue sharing were dealt with; and his response was a flat out “no they will not”

The Telegraph Elders have been very clear. No further resource development is allowed in the Sacred Headwaters, until the conditions in our moratorium are addressed and they insist they will do whatever it takes to prevent their lands from being invaded and exploited.

For more information contact:
Oscar Dennis, 250-234-3344 odennis at
Lillian Moyer 250-235-3151

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