Get tough with Canada over cross-border mining contaminants, First Nations tell U.S. – by James McCarten (Canadian Press/ – December 11, 2022)

In a city of pinstripes and partisan power brokers, Mike Allison sticks out like a sore thumb. He’s in the wrong place — and he knows it. “I shouldn’t be here,” the denim-clad Indigenous elder suddenly says, fighting tears beneath the brim of his trademark cowboy hat.

“I should be out on the land, working with my kids, teaching them values. I should be teaching them kids how to work with the environment, not fight for it.” Instead, the Upper Similkameen Indian Band councillor is in a downtown D.C. boardroom, gearing up for a second day of meetings with State Department officials, bureaucrats, diplomats and members of Congress.

Fighting for the environment is exactly what Allison, whose British Columbia First Nation sits just 80 kilometres from the Canada-U.S. border, is doing in the U.S. capital as part of a tribal delegation from across the Pacific Northwest.

Their goal is an alliance with Congress and the Biden administration they hope will pressure Ottawa into a bipartisan effort to confront toxic mining runoff from north of the Canada-U.S. border they say is poisoning their waters.

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