Northern First Nations want the Peel Watershed protected.
The Tr-ondek Hwech’in, the Teetl’it Gwich’in and the Na Cho Nya Dun want to prevent industrial development throughout the Peel Watershed, according to a news release issued Friday.
“We feel our voices have not been heard,” Na Cho Nya Dun Chief Simon Mervyn Sr. said in the release.
“The draft plan recently released by the commission falls far short of our expectations.”
The Peel Watershed is pristine and has sustained “our people for as long as we can remember,” says the release.
“We have seen enough environmental damage to our homeland,” adds Tr-ondek Hwech’in Chief Eddie Taylor.
“We need a plan that protects the land permanently.”
The First Nations are not opposed to mining, and support current mining processes, says the release.
But the Peel Watershed should be protected.
“This area needs a different regime,” says the release.
“We agree that free-entry staking should be eliminated from the Peel Watershed, and are opposed to new roads in the Peel for any purpose.”
“The draft plan does not go nearly far enough to protect the land,” says Teetl’it Gwich’in Chief Wilbert Firth.
“We want to leave the land as it is for future generations.
“First Nation people have always relied on the land, if we lose the integrity of the land, we will cease to exist as a First Nation.” (Genesee Keevil)