Support the Tahltan Elders Blockade!
No to Mining on Indigenous Lands Without Consent!

Tahltan Territory is in the remote northwestern area of what is now British Columbia and encompasses the legendary Stikine River and its tributaries. Today the mining industry is endangering not only the biodiversity and ecological integrity of the Stikine watershed but also the age old identity and responsibility of the Tahltan as “Keepers of the Land.” BC Metals is planning a development project that will place an open pit mine for gold extraction in the sacred headwaters of Klappan in Tahltan territory. 

During 2006, 50% of all mining exploration activity in Northwest BC was taking place on Tahltan territory. There are currently more than 8 mega projects under exploration or development in the Stikine-Iskut region. There are 11 projects currently under the Environmental Assessment Review on Tahltan territory. These projects are:Galore Creek Mine proposed by Nova Gold Inc, Red Chris Mine proposed by bcMetals and Red Chris Development Corp, Mount Klappan Coal proposed by Fortune Minerals, Kutcho Creek proposed by Western Keltic Mines Ltd, Klappan Coal Bed Methane proposed by Shell Canada, Rok Coyote Eddon proposed by Firesteel Resources, Gnat Pass, Schaft Creek proposed by Copper Fox Metals Inc, Forrest Kerr Hydroelectric project proposed by Nova Gold Inc, Foremore Mine project proposed by Roca Mines Inc, GJ (Kiniskan) proposed by Canadian Gold Hunter Corp.

In September 2005, 15 Tahltan Elders were arrested in Klappan Mountain in the struggle to protect the Sacred Headwaters of the Stikine, Skeena, and Nass Rivers. The 15 Tahltan Elders and youth were arrested when an RCMP injunction was granted against the Tahltan blockade.

In June 2005, Shell Canada was evicted from Tahltan territory. The courageous actions of the community shut down Shell after three test wells had been drilled (with a plan of drilling between 1,500 and 6,000 coalbed methane wells). Shell also cancelled drilling in the summer of 2006 due to widespread opposition. However, in 2007, Royal Dutch Shell (who recently took over Shell Canada) continues to push their plan to drill in the Sacred Headwaters. Royal Dutch Shell intends to move heavy equipment in to the Sacred Headwaters to fix the access road as the first step towards renewing drilling. The Iskut elders, who are resolute in their opposition to the project moving forward, are rejecting more drilling.

==> Click here to read an excellent presentation “Cumulative Impacts of Mining on Remote Indigenous Communities from the Iskut Perspective ”

==> Click here to read more on the struggle against Shell’s coalbed methane project. Click here to watch the video “British Columbia- Nigeria North?”

==> Also read The Assault on First Nation Lands in British Columbia. This is a comprehensive overview by Mining Watch of the impacts of the mining industry on indigenous territories in British Columbia.



The area around Todagin Lake is an ancient indigenous hunting grounds in the Klappan highlands. Few non natives had visited this pristine valley prior to 1952, when tourist hunters began flying into Todagin Lake with float planes. When the Spatsizi Wilderness Park was founded in 1975 – supposedly to protect the biodiversity of the area – the headwaters of the Stikine watershed were excluded to accomodate future mining development. For the Tahltan and other First Nations, the making of parks in tribal territory is a form of illegal land alienation by the government, not much different than the granting of industrial tenures.
Tahltan elder Lillian Moyer rejects the bad mining practices of Red Chris Mine and the right of BC Metals (now Imperial Metals) to endanger the ecological integrity of the Todagin Plateau, “the largest Stone sheep habitat for lambing in the world”. Her protest is part of the ongoing Klappan blockade under the guidance of the Klabona Keepers Elders Society which is dedicated to asserting Tahltan Aboriginal Title and Rights.

To facilitate the mining boom in Tahltan Territory, a new infrastructure is being created to provide energy and transport: hydro dams, railway expansion, electrical transmission line routes, air runways and a haul road to Port of Stewart. This unprecedented development pressure in addition to the unknown cumulative environmental impact of mining motivated a group of elders to declare a moratorium in 2005: Talhtan Elders Statement.

In 2006 to educate the community about the need to protect the Sacred Headwaters, the Klabona Keepers founded the Headwaters Educational Centre on the site of an old Iskut camping place and fishing spot near the head of Klappan. Here the elders are teaching traditional skills necessary to living on the land such as the preparing and scraping of moose hides.


Tahltan Elders Statement Issued on February 25, 2005 “Dena nenn Sogga neh ‘ine” (Protectors or Keepers of the Land)

We, the Tahltan People, historically a sovereign nation have occupied our traditional territories since time immemorial. Our culture is organized through a matrilineal clan system. This has always been and remains our broad governing structure. Tahltan Elders held the responsibility to uphold Tahltan beliefs, customs, values and laws for future generations. Our inherent rights are given by Creator and cannot be diminished or removed by any law including discriminatory government legislation such as the Indian Act. The clan, elders, families and Tahltan People have been marginalized and fragmented by settler society and the genocidal practices of church and state. Tahltan land remains Unceded territory, which has never been surrendered or taken in war or conquest. We will defend in any way necessary our rights and freedoms, to be self-determining.

Today, we Tahltan People face numerous massive development projects. Agreements have been negotiated in secret between Indian Act chiefs, the Tahltan Central Council and government and industry. The promise of jobs does not compensate for loss of land, resources and impacts on the environment and people. This is not only a violation of Tahltan law; it is a fundamental violation of our rights under the Canadian Constitution. No indigenous culture could survive the combined impact of the proposed projects. Our land, and the creatures that depend on that land, would be devastated. Our Tahltan People would be devastated.

Therefore, it is both our right and our responsibility, as Tahltan Elders, to reclaim our legitimate place within Tahltan law and custom. The actions of chiefs and councils, Tahltan Central Council, and others who purport to represent Tahltan interest, have forced us to occupy the Band offices in Telegraph Creek. These non-represented individuals and bodies have exceeded their authority and no longer have the confidence or trust of the Tahltan People and therefore can no longer represent us.

Our responsibilities as Tahltan Elders require us to inform all those who would come to this land and desecrate it for their own fi nancial gain that you can no longer negotiate agreements in secret. Tahltan Elders are the true, legitimate governing body. We will apply Tahltan laws to stabilize, build, and strengthen our nation. We will protect our way of life and Mother Earth from further harmful assaults.

We, the Tahltan Elders are the stewards of our homeland, which we have continued to sustain and hold in trust for future generations make this solemn declaration:

1. We assert our aboriginal title and inherent rights to the land and resources within our traditional territory.

2. We declare a complete moratorium on resource development in our territory until
a. the leadership dispute has been resolved,
b. a fair, just, and legitimate process is developed which honours Tahltan custom and law;
c. all Tahltan members are consulted, informed and give fi nal approval of development

3. Prior to any future development in Tahltan Territory, legal agreements must be negotiated with Tahltan Elders that ensure Tahltan People equitable share in revenues generated and are involved in all aspects of decision-making.

4. All agreements negotiated with industry and government to date, because of the absence of the participation and consent of the Tahltan Elders and Families, are hereby declared void.

Tahltan Elders