First Nations are right to distrust industrialists

First Nations are right to distrust industrialists The Ross River First Nation has won a precedent-setting case. It will soon be obligatory for anyone mining or prospecting or staking on their land to notify the First Nation and get permission to go in t

The Ross River First Nation has won a precedent-setting case. It will soon be obligatory for anyone mining or prospecting or staking on their land to notify the First Nation and get permission to go in there to make any sort of mess.

And why not?

The anger of First Nation people toward mining and oil companies and their distrust of government has been held in memory for many generations.

And if you knew how native people in the Yukon have been pushed around by the government – sometimes so heartlessly that it makes me shudder to hear the stories – you too would be applauding when they sometimes win a struggle.

I have met the seven Indian people who helped Al Kulan discover the Anvil Range deposit. In fact, they took him into the bush and showed it to him.

In the end they got nothing. Some of these trusting, real wilderness people thought they were getting shares in all the millions of dollars of wealth generated from that so-called discovery.

Today the ones still alive sit in their shacks in Ross River spending their old age in poverty. They are highly respected by their own people even though forgotten in the mining world.

I had a property in Faro for a while but some of the elders in Ross River told me, “Don’t live there. The wind brings poison and you will die.”

They are talking about the tailings from the Anvil Mine that snake down from the mountain like a plague, killing all vegetation and creating a tumour on the earth that can be seen from the moon.

No wonder they don’t want to see that happen again.

Cancer has killed a lot of people I know in Faro. It could have been caused by old age and smoking but who knows for sure.

There are always exceptions to any pattern. The Minto Mine near Pelly Crossing has done well by the First Nation people there. But that, to anyone who knows Yukon history – is a rare occurrence.

So my old working hat comes off in respect to the Indians of Ross River – and to Indians everywhere in their struggle to gain respect and freedom on their own land.

Sam Holloway

Ross River

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The K-shaped economic recovery and what Yukoners can do about it

It looks like COVID-19 will play the role of Grinch this holiday… Continue reading

Jodie Gibson has been named the 2020 Prospector of the Year by the Yukon Prospectors Association. (Submitted)
Jodie Gibson named 2020 Prospector of the Year

Annual award handed out by the Yukon Prospector’s Association

A number 55 is lit in honour of Travis Adams, who died earlier this year, at the Winter Wonderland Walk at Meadow Lakes Golf Club in Whitehorse on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
A new take on holiday traditions

Winter Wonderland Walk, virtual Stories with Santa all part of 2020 festive events in Whitehorse

Eric Schroff, executive director with the Yukon Fish and Game Association, poses for a portrait on Feb. 20. Schroff says he is puzzled as to why the Yukon government is cutting back on funding for the association. (Jackie Hong/Yukon News file)
YG cuts Yukon Fish and Game Association funding, tried to vet outgoing communications

Yukon Fish and Game Association says 25 per cent government funding cut will impact operations


Wyatt’s World for Nov. 27, 2020

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Karen Wenkebach has been appointed as a judge for the Yukon Supreme Court. (Yukon News file)
New justice appointed

Karen Wenckebach has been appointed as a judge for the Supreme Court… Continue reading

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, speaks at a council and senior management (CASM) meeting about CASM policy in Whitehorse on June 13, 2019. Constable highlighted research showing many municipalities require a lengthy notice period before a delegate can be added to the agenda of a council meeting. Under the current Whitehorse procedures bylaw, residents wanting to register as delegates are asked to do so by 11 a.m. on the Friday ahead of the council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Changes continue to be contemplated for procedures bylaw

Registration deadline may be altered for delegates

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Lev Dolgachov/123rf
The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner stressed the need to safeguard personal information while shopping this holiday season in a press release on Nov. 24.
Information and Privacy Commissioner issues reminder about shopping

The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay stressed the need to… Continue reading

Most Read