NEWS RELEASE · 16th August 2013
The Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs Executive are very concerned by the developing situation in the Klappan, the Sacred Headwaters of the Skeena, Nass and Stikine watersheds involving Tahltan Elders, the Klabona Keepers, and Fortune Minerals Limited (TSX:FT).
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs stated "Fortune Minerals is proposing a huge open pit coal mine that will destroy Mount Klappan and will greatly impact the whole ecosystem of the Sacred Headwaters. It is vitally important the deeply held ecological values and inherent cultural beliefs of the Tahltan People are at the forefront of committed discussions with the BC Government on the protection of the Klappan."
Chief Bob Chamberlin, Vice-President of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs remarked "The response should not be a surprise to Fortune Minerals as Elders and leadership of the Iskut First Nation, Tahltan Band Council and the Tahltan Central Council have expressed concerns with a coal mine in the Klappan for some time now. Their collective and consistent message has been the permanent protection of the Klappan, the Sacred Headwaters. We firmly support the permanent protection of the Sacred Headwaters."
Councillor Marilyn Baptiste, Secretary-Treasurer of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs added, "In order for the Government of BC to find long-term solutions they must begin by meaningfully addressing the profound concerns of the Tahltan people. The Klappan is the Sacred Headwaters of three vitally important salmon-bearing rivers of the North Coast - the Skeena, Nass and Stikine, and its long-term conservation is essential to the inherent rights of hunting, fishing and the continuation of the cultural traditions that have been continuous for generations from the headwaters to the Pacific."