Group of 29 tribes oppose Pebble Mine, B.C.’s ‘transboundary’ projects – by Kevin Gullufsen (Juneau Empire – October 20, 2017)

Southeast and Bristol Bay tribal mining opposition now has a unified front. Two Alaska Native tribal consortiums announced a “historic” partnership Wednesday at the Alaska Federation of Natives conference in Anchorage.

Tribal groups representing a majority of the indigenous peoples in Southeast and Bristol Bay will work together to oppose mining projects in both regions. The Juneau-based Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (CCTHITA) and Douglas Indian Association (DIA) are part of the agreement.

The United Tribes of Bristol Bay (UTBB), which represents 80 percent of the 14 Yup’ik, Denai’na, and Alutiq indigenous communities in Bristol Bay, signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Southeast Alaska Indigenous Transboundary Commission (SEITC), which represents 15 of the region’s 19 tribal organizations.

The intent is to “formalize their efforts to protect their indigenous ways of life and the watersheds that sustain them,” the groups wrote in a release.

SEITC has worked to halt British Columbia mining projects which could threaten water quality on four cross-border salmon rivers in Southeast Alaska. UTBB has opposed the embattled Pebble Mine, a project proposal they believe threatens the world’s largest sockeye salmon run.

Together, the groups represent 29 Alaska Native tribes. “Our tribes are under siege, but the unification of our people is a powerful move to defeat these toxic projects,” UTBB President Robert Heyano said.

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