Indigenous leaders unify against transport of radioactive waste

LAC LEAMY, QC — Two governing councils that oversee the Anishnabek communities and the Iroquois communities elected councils in Ontario are unifying to oppose the transportation of highly radioactive liquid material across their territories.

Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee and Chief Clinton Phillips, on behalf of the Iroquois Caucus and Kahnawà:ke Grand Chief Joseph Tokwiro Norton, jointly declared their opposition and concerns at the Chiefs of Ontario – Special Chiefs Assembly Tuesday.

“We, the Anishinabek Nation and Iroquois Caucus, have jurisdiction over the Great Lake and St. Lawrence River Basins as a result of Aboriginal titles, and the treaties that have been entered into by First Nations and the Crown,” stated Grand Chief Madahbee.

The two leaders say the transportation and abandonment of nuclear waste within the territories has the potential to adversely affect indigenous rights, lands and activities.

The pair asserted the potential for long-lived contamination to the environment and to all living entities is “too great”

“Many projects are being proposed, decided upon, and initiated in our territories without consulting our First Nation communities,” stated Chief Clinton Phillips. “A joint letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was sent on April 21, 2017, advising Canada of our concerns on these matters and we expect a prompt reply.”

“We are continuing to build consensus with our Nations. The Treaties are evidence of our inherent rights and authorities,” said Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day. “The joint declaration states we must consider the future generations. As the leaders of today, it is our duty to preserve and protect Mother Earth. We cannot risk the long term, irreversible destruction of our lands and waters, which are life-giving for all beings.”

The Assembly of the First Nation of Quebec and Labrador (AFNQL) and Bawating Water Protectors are also now standing united with the Iroquois Caucus and the Anishinabek Nation in the opposition of the transportation and abandonment of radioactive waste in their territories.

“AFNQL Chiefs have made it crystal clear: nuclear waste storage and transportation is not an option for current generations, nor for future ones. Health, social and environmental costs would be too high. Only industries would benefit from such projects, leaving the population living with the impacts of their activities. We cannot afford to risk yet another disaster, as we believe in our responsibility as stewards of our lands,” said the Chief of the AFNQL, Ghislain Picard.

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