The Tsilhqot’in Nation is organizing a peaceful action to protest exploratory drilling by Taseko Mines Ltd. west of Williams Lake.
The TN said they will be exercising their Aboriginal rights and ancestral laws to protect Teztan Biny (Fish Lake) and Yanah Biny (Little Fish Lake), a place of cultural and spiritual significance for the Tsilhqot’in people, from the drilling program by TML in support of the rejected New Prosperity Mine proposal.
“This project is dead,” said Tsilhqot’in National Government Tribal Chairman and Tl’etinqox Chief Joe Alphonse. “It cannot be built. Yet the company wants to come in and tear up a place that is as sacred to us as a church. We are deeply concerned about this escalating conflict.
“As a nation, our top priority is the safety and security of our own members, and TML employees and contractors. That’s why our Nation must take peacful action to prevent this situation from getting out of control.”
On June 27, 2019, TML wrote to the Tsilhqot’in nation advising it would mobilize heavy equipment, including logging and road-clearing equipment, starting July 2, 2019.
The company also said the ground disturbance work would begin on July 3, which the TNG said is in direct violation of Tsilhqot’in law.
TML’s drilling program was approved by the provincial government after its 2014 New Prosperity Mine proposal was rejected by the Government of Canada.
“When the Tsilhqot’in must defend itself from invaders, it brings us back more than 150 years and makes us feel that nothing has changed with regards to Crown and Indigenous relations,” said Yunesit’in Chief and TNG vice-chair Russell Myers Ross said.
“BC needs to understand that TML does not have and will not secure the consent of the Tsilhqot’in Nation and must intervene to prevent the conflict from getting worse.”