Southeast Alaskan Tribes have brought a human rights petition against Canada to protect the fish at the center of their cultures.
Mining operations in Canada are threatening to destroy the way of life of Southeast Alaskan Tribes who were never consulted about the mines by the governments of Canada or British Columbia.
The Tribes have depended for millennia upon the pristine watersheds of the Taku, Stikine, and Unuk rivers. These waters flow through varied and wild landscapes from British Columbia through Alaska and are teeming with salmon and eulachon.
The mines – two of which are operating and four that are proposed – endanger downstream fish populations through the release of toxic mine waste and acidic waters. Fish are fundamental to the Tribes’ cultural practices and livelihoods, making the pollution a violation of the Tribes’ human rights to culture and an adequate means of subsistence.
Earthjustice submitted a petition this week on behalf of the Tribes against Canada. The petition asks the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights to step in to protect and uphold the Tribes’ human rights.
“Salmon is the staple harvest in our traditional culture. You could say it is the heartbeat of our culture. If the salmon heartbeat is gone then ours will be gone too,” says Tammi Meissner of the Wrangell Cooperative Association, one of the 15 sovereign Tribal nations involved in the petition. Collectively, the Tribes make up the Southeast Alaska Indigenous Transboundary Commission or SEITC.
For the rest of this article: https://earthjustice.org/blog/2018-december/canada-as-ugly-neighbor-mines-in-b-c-would-devastate-alaskan-tribes