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Podium: Band leader counters columnís claims that U.S. interests fund anti-mine fight. - Business in VancouverRAVEN is reposting Chief Baptiste's column from January 3, 2012 - as this issue is currently before the Canadian Senate.
By Marilyn Baptiste
In BiV’s Dec. 13 edition, Vivian Krause continues to perpetuate conspiracy theories that have no basis, make no sense, and are deeply offensive to First Nations.
A former salmon farming industry executive, Ms Krause has a number of ludicrous and insulting theories that imply that First Nations do not speak for themselves.
There is her claim that opposition to salmon farming is a US-funded plot to promote Alaskan wild salmon, when in fact it is driven by BC First Nations and non-aboriginal wild salmon fishers seeking to preserve their resources and industries and by people from all walks of life who can see the overall reality and long term impacts to wild salmon.
She also claims opposition to the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline is a plot by US environmental foundations to secure tar sands oil for the US by preventing its export to Asia.
She has yet to explain how this ridiculous theory squares with opposition to the Keystone pipeline, which would actually deliver oil to the US.
Now, in her BiV article, she extends her conspiracy theories to support for mining reform in BC, and specifically for the Tsilhqot’in Nation’s fight to protect our traditional lands and sacred Teztan Biny (Fish Lake), Yanah Biny (Little Fish Lake) and Nabas from one of BC’s worst-ever mine proposals – the Prosperity Mine project.
Ms. Krause implies millions of dollars have poured into the Tsilhqot’in fight as a campaign from US environmental funders to promote their own country’s economic interests.
This is both laughable and deeply offensive.
Laughable because, in facing a company that has already spent $100 million on its mine campaign and a provincial government that spends taxpayer dollars to support this company, the Tsilhqot’in have worked on a shoestring to seek justice in this matter and related Aboriginal rights and title issues.
Deeply offensive because, as with all her conspiracy theories, Ms. Krause portrays us as pawns in some sinister plot to promote US commercial interests expense. In doing so she demeans our sovereignty as First Nations and trivializes our serious issues, not to mention the honourable intentions of those who share our vision of a Province that places respect for the environment and proven Aboriginal rights above the interests of one mining company.
The real facts are available to any trained researcher who genuinely seeks the truth.
The campaigns Ms. Krause attacks as the commercial initiatives of foreign funders are all domestic issues which First Nations themselves have long fought for. They are our issues.
Any funding we receive comes with no strings attached. Funders do not control or direct us. Any funding we can find is earned, in the sense that it is provided by those who believe that we deserve to be able to stand up for our rights and environment.
We are grateful to all funders, such as Victoria-based RavenTrust, one of the groups Ms. Krause singles out in her BiV article for tirelessly seeking funds to help us. Much of our funding comes from local supporters and local fundraising by local groups such as Friends of the Nemiah Valley.
Much of the help we receive is time volunteered by Canadian groups and individuals, including many local residents.
If some of funding raised by RavenTrust comes from foreign sources, then what of it?
This generosity is to support our story, not foreign interests, as BiV readers can see by watching the video Blue Gold, which RavenTrust funded to highlight our struggle in our own words. http://www.raventrust.com/projects/fishlaketeztanbiny/video-bluegold.html
Despite Ms. Krause’s insinuations, the Tsilhqot’in have not received millions of dollars, not even remotely close.
We are constantly scrambling to find the resources to respond to the latest moves by the company and the province to press ahead with the discredited Prosperity Mine proposal. We now face a environmental review for a Prosperity Mine proposal that the original review, based on studies by the company and Environment Canada, found to be worse than the plan rejected last year.
This is a burden is a serious challenge for our people financially and from a community health perspective as we struggle against a company, industry and provincial government appear to have no shortage funds and human resources.
We are proud so many Canadians support us, and that US funders are willing to help based on the merits of our cases.
We are also pleased that in the larger picture, we are not the only ones seeking to improve the archaic and unbalanced mining laws in BC.
We are amazed any credence is given to the twisted logic that portrays our position as undemocratic and unpatriotic.
Ms. Krause herself has admitted she has no evidence to support her claims, and experts such as the National Post’s Jonathan Kay, author of a book on conspiracy theories, dismiss her allegations.
Our proud Tsilhqot’in seek an honourable reconciliation of our Aboriginal rights and title, beginning with respect for our deep cultural connection to Teztan Biny and the region surrounding it. We hope BiV readers will see through Ms. Krause’s sloppy research and disrespect for our autonomy, and recognize that her article and this mine proposal should be dismissed.
Marilyn Baptiste is Chief Xeni Gwet’in, Tsilhqot’in First Nation and Treasurer of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.
For a PDF copy of Chief Baptiste's column, click here.
Posted by Marilyn Baptiste, Chief Xeni Gwet'in First Nation Wednesday Mar 21, 2012 10:37
Categories: Environment , Fish Lake, RAVEN General | Tags:
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