Waskaganish, Eeyou Istchee, (August 9, 2012) — The James Bay Cree Nation has declared a Permanent Moratorium on uranium exploration, uranium mining and uranium waste emplacement in Eeyou Istchee, the James Bay Cree territory. The permanent moratorium was enacted unanimously by the Annual Cree Nation General Assembly in Waskaganish.
“The risks inherent in uranium exploration, mining, milling, refining and transport, and in radioactive and toxic uranium mining waste, are incompatible with our stewardship responsibilities in Eeyou Istchee,” the Resolution declares.
“The Cree Nation is determined to protect our economies and way of life against the unique and grave threat posed by uranium mining and uranium waste, today and for thousands of years to come,” said Grand Chief Dr. Matthew Coon Come. “We are not opposed to sustainable and equitable mining and other industrial and resource development activities in Eeyou Istchee – but the toxic and radiation risks created by uranium mining and uranium waste are unique in scale and duration.”
“Uranium moratoriums have been enacted by the governments of British Columbia and Nova Scotia, as well as other foreign jurisdictions, without affecting other mining and resource development activities,” Grand Chief Coon Come told the Cree Assembly. “We anticipate that all Québécoises and Québécois, once they know the facts, will join us in this minimal stand of prudent stewardship.”
Recent global increases in uranium prices have spurred significant uranium exploration activities in Eeyou Istchee. The most advanced uranium project to date in Eeyou Istchee is at the Matoush uranium ore body site near the Cree community of Mistissini. Strateco Resources Inc. has requested regulatory approval to conduct an advanced exploration project at Matoush, with the stated intention of determining the feasibility of a uranium mine and mill at this site.
“The Crees of Mistissini have declared our strong opposition to uranium mining in Eeyou Istchee,” said Chief Richard Shecapio, Chief of the Cree Nation of Mistissini. “We never doubted that the Cree Nation as a whole would stand with us in unity and strength.”
The Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) is the political body that represents the Eeyouch, the James Bay Cree people.
RESOLUTION – CREE NATION GENERAL ASSEMBLY
August 8, 2012, Waskaganish
Eeyou /James Bay Cree Nation / Eeyou Istchee Permanent Uranium Moratorium
Whereas the Eeyou, the James Bay Cree Nation, has owned, lived in, governed and protected Eeyou Istchee for millennia and since time immemorial;
Whereas the Cree Nation possesses and exercises our inalienable fundamental aboriginal and other human rights, including the right of self-determination;
Whereas the economies, culture, way of life and well-being of Eeyou are inextricably tied to the land, the waters, the fish and animals, and all of the environment of Eeyou Istchee and adjacent lands and waters;
Whereas Eeyou have always carried out and affirmed our responsibility to protect the land, the waters, the fish and animals, and all of the environment of Eeyou Istchee, for all current and future generations;
Whereas Eeyou are committed to the principles of sustainable and equitable development and responsible stewardship;
Whereas uranium mining exploration activities have been pursued by other governments and corporations in recent years in Eeyou Istchee;
Whereas uranium exploration, mining, milling, refining and transport, and radioactive and toxic uranium mining wastes, create unique and grave risks for human health and the environment, both today and for thousands of future generations;
Whereas the risks inherent in uranium exploration, mining, milling, refining and transport, and in radioactive and toxic uranium mining waste, are incompatible with our stewardship responsibilities in Eeyou Istchee, and pose a grave threat to our way of life, economies, culture, and well-being;
Whereas there are no independently established or objectively known ways to effectively mitigate these risks on the time-scales that are involved in uranium mining, milling, refining and transport, and in radioactive and toxic uranium mining waste, namely hundreds of thousands of years, and indeed there are grave doubts about these issues especially where they have affected other indigenous peoples in their lands and waters;
And Whereas the people and the Cree Nation of Mistissini, the first Cree community located close to proposed uranium exploration and mining, has expressed its total opposition to these activities and called upon the Grand Council of the Crees and Eeyou to support it in this opposition;
Be it now therefore resolved that Eeyou, the James Bay Cree Nation:
- Declares and enacts a Permanent Moratorium on all uranium exploration, mining, milling, refining, transport and uranium mining waste emplacement in Eeyou Istchee;
- Authorizes and mandates the Grand Council of the Cree (Eeyou Istchee), the Grand Chief and the Board of the Cree Regional Authority to take all necessary and appropriate steps as may reasonably be required to ensure the full and immediate recognition and implementation of this permanent moratorium in Eeyou Istchee and to give effect to this Eeyou Assembly Resolution.