The National Congress of American Indians
TITLE: Negative Effects of Canadian Transboundary Mining
WHEREAS, we, the members of the National Congress of American Indians of the United States, invoking the divine blessing of the Creator upon our efforts and purposes, in order to preserve for ourselves and our descendants the inherent sovereign rights of our Indian nations, rights secured under Indian treaties and agreements with the United States, and all other rights and benefits to which we are entitled under the laws and Constitution of the United States, to enlighten the public toward a better understanding of the Indian people, to preserve Indian cultural values, and otherwise promote the health, safety and welfare of the Indian people, do hereby establish and submit the following resolution; and
WHEREAS, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) was established in 1944 and is the oldest and largest national organization of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments; and
WHEREAS, British Columbia (BC) is in the midst of a major mining boom in the transboundary region at the head waters of some of the following major Alaskan rivers: Taku, Stikine, and Unuk; and
WHEREAS, Southeast Alaska communities are downstream from major mining projects and are experiencing negative impacts and risks directly resulting from these mining projects and have no economic benefit from the projects; and
WHEREAS, this development is happening under Canadian laws and regulations that have been significantly weakened over the past few years; and
WHEREAS, Canadian and BC mine permitting processes do not have the equivalent to Alaskan regulations with reference to water and salmon protections; and
WHEREAS, concerns are focused on potential damage to water quality, salmon, eulachon (hooligan), wildlife, recreation, livelihood, and customary or traditional activities; and
WHEREAS, this issue is raising major concerns from tribes, fisherman, local business, and community leaders; and
WHEREAS, tribes in Southeast Alaska, conservation groups, commercial fishermen, and community leaders are working to educate citizens and leaders about the threats posed by transboundary mines and what can be done to help protect Alaskan waters, fish, and way of life; and
WHEREAS, the proposed mines include Tulsequah Chief in the Stikine Region in BC on the Taku River, Galore Creek Mine in Kitmat-Sitimat-Stikine, BC, Red Chris Property in Iskut, BC, Schaft Creek Mine in Kitimat-Stikine D, BC, and the Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell (KSM) project in Kitimat-Stikine, BC.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the NCAI hereby requests that Congress, the White House, and the Department of State engage directly with the Canadian government on British Columbia’s proposed mines to protect the health and productivity of Southeast Alaska’s waters and lands downstream from proposed mines to ensure they are not damaged by development upstream; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that affected tribal governments be consulted with and represented in any policy discussion related to impact to United States waters and communities pursuant to the Executive Order 13175 and the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NCAI shall coordinate with the Assembly of First Nations and other tribal organizations on the efforts to protect Southeast Alaska from the negative impacts of transboundary mining; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that this resolution shall be the policy of NCAI until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.
The foregoing resolution was adopted by the General Assembly at the 2014 Mid-Year Session of the National Congress of American Indians, held at the Dena'ina Civic & Convention Center, June 8-11, 2014 in Anchorage, Alaska, with a quorum present.