More than 10 years ago, Taseko Mines proposed an open-pit mining project in an area of immeasurable cultural and spiritual importance for our Tŝilhqot’in people. This area, about 125 kilometres southwest of Williams Lake, is known to our people as Teẑtan Biny (Fish Lake), Yanah Biny (Little Fish Lake) and the surrounding area (Nabas).
This area is home for many Tŝilhqot’in who were born and raised on these lands, a resting place for our ancestors, an active cultural school for teaching our youth, and an important place of ceremony and spiritual power.
We hold proven aboriginal rights to hunt and trap over these lands, and this area also sits near the headwaters of the Dasiqox (Taseko) River, a nursery for salmon that make the annual journey along the Fraser River.
Taseko’s mine proposal was rejected twice by the federal government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper, first in 2010 and again in 2014. As a result of the federal government’s rejection, New Prosperity Mine cannot be built as matters stand.
And yet, in the summer of 2017, while the wildfires closed in on my community, B.C. granted a permit to Taseko to conduct an extensive drilling, road-building and excavation program to advance this very same project.