On Friday December 13th a crowd gathered in downtown Vancouver to perform a dance ceremony and reassert that the Minister of Environment make the right decision and reject the New Prosperity mine proposal at Teztan Biny (Fish Lake) in British Columbia’s interior. The mass dance assembled in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery.
A number of Tsilhqot’in youth and Elders gathered, alongside supporters, to participate in the ceremony led by traditional singing and drumming. They walked from the Art Gallery to where the main dance and song was delivered at Taseko Mines Limited head office on West Georgia Street. People hovered down low to represent water, and the dance created a blue lake in front of Taseko Mines head office at lunch hour.
The message rang clear that the Tsilhqot’in are not going away and that “there is no right way to do the wrong thing.” The point being that the New Prosperity Mine proposal must again be rejected.
Tsilhqot’in peoples including Xeni Gwet’in leader Marilyn Baptiste are adamant that this should be the last time this mine is considered. In an interview with CBC, Baptiste reported that her people will continue to fight the mine to prevent the destruction of Tsilhqot’in lands water and way of life.
The mass dance ceremony involved dancers wearing blue shawls.
The timing of the mass dance could not have been better. The previous day on Thursday December 12th, British Columbia provincial Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett was in Ottawa lobbying the government to push the mine through.
News coverage last week revealed Taseko Mines Limited has donated over $100,000 to the British Columbia Liberal Party since 2008. This includes a lump sum donation of $50,000 in 2012 and a $5,000 donation directly to Bennett’s campaign.
A second article in the Vancouver Sun indicates the high financial risks involved if Ottawa were to approve the New Prosperity mine proposal after such scathing second federal panel report.
The federal Minister of Environment is obliged to listen to the Tsilhqot’in people and their allies who are literally dancing in the streets to demonstrate that this mine is not fit for the Tsilhqot’in or the environment. The independent review panel has already revealed just that, which makes Minister Aglukkaq’s decision to reject the proposal actually quite simple.
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