The nation and its allies are calling on supporters to travel to the Sacred Headwaters to make a stand against the coal company.
“We didn’t fight Shell for ten years so a coal company could come along and build an open pit mine in the heart of the Sacred Headwaters,” said Mary Dennis, a Tahltan elder. “We’ve stopped bigger industrial projects before and we’ll do it again with help from our supporters and allies.”
Last month, the Tahltan Central Council (TCC) passed a unanimous resolution to protect the Sacred Headwaters from industrial development. The TCC are the elected representatives of the Tahltan Nation, which governs 5000 members and 93,500 square kilometers of unceded traditional Tahltan territory.
“We are calling on those people who have stood with us before, and who have a connection to the Sacred Headwaters, to stand with us again to protect this area once and for all,” said Rhoda Quock, spokesperson for the Klabona Keepers, a group of Tahltan elders focused on protecting the Sacred Headwaters for future generations.
Fortune Minerals has been conducting exploratory work for the company’s controversial Arctos Anthracite Coal Project, a plan to remove most of Mount Klappan and replace it with a 4,000 hectare open-pit coal mine. The area is adjacent to the Spatsizi wilderness area and is sacred to the Tahltan, who hunt and fish at a camp that has been used for several generations at the foot of the mountain.
“Fortune Minerals couldn’t have picked a worse place to try and build an open-pit coal mine,” said Shannon McPhail, Executive Director of the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition. “This project is in the wrong place at the wrong time, and the company should withdraw, rather than angering local communities over a project that will never be built.”
The Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition is assisting the public with travel logistics to get to the Sacred Headwaters.