KAMLOOPS, BC--(Marketwired - December 15, 2016) - As Canada is getting set to celebrate their 150 years of existence, the relationship with Indigenous people is in a considerable state of flux. One such area where needed change is taking place is in the area of environmental assessment (EA) processes related to major projects. Currently, both the Canadian and British Columbian EA processes are going through an evaluation that is geared towards making the EA processes more effective for all interests.
Stk'emlúpsemc te Secwepemc Nation (SSN) has participated in the current federal and BC EA review and were pleased to be recognized as innovators regarding their unique project review process to assess the proposed KGHM-Ajax open pit gold mine. Tk'emlúps te Secwepemc and Skeetchestn First Nations, unified through Stk'emlúpsemc te Secwepemc Nation, developed their comprehensive project assessment process as the best way to look after their families, their communities and their neighbours in Kamloops and surrounding area.
To share about their innovative approach, SSN has just released a 7-minute video and a four-page document, showcasing elements from the process, including clips from the SSN panel hearing.
The SSN project review process is grounded in the Secwepemc Trout Children stsptékwll (oral histories), the 1910 Memorial to Sir Wilfred Laurier, Canadian and international laws such as the United Nation Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People. It is built on the Principle of Walking on Two Legs- Secwepemc and western expertise, with information provided both in oral and written format.
"SSN's objective is to facilitate informed decision making by the SSN Communities in a manner which is consistent with our laws, traditions, and customs and assesses project impacts in a way that respects our knowledge and perspectives," stated Tk'emlups te Secwpemc Kukpi7 (Chief) Fred Seymour. "The process is truly based on reciprocity of information exchange and giving voice to collective knowledge held within the families and communities. As our health depends on the health of our communities and nation, through our panel, the Elders, young people, and many families that form our two communities, each have representatives at the panel table and have been involved throughout the process."
"The Canadian and BC Environmental Assessment processes are designed on a principle of compartmentalization whereby project impacts are segmented and individually assessed," declared Skeetchestn Kukpi7 (Chief) Ron Ignace. "Our world is not a series of independent 'value components' where impacts can be assessed in isolation. An impact on one part will impact all the parts of our world, as we are all interconnected. As stewards of the land, we are knowledgeable about how the land transforms from season to season, what to watch for and what is significantly affected from climate change such rising temperatures. We took the long view and delved into the long-term intergenerational impacts as well as the pre-contact past to address the legacy of wrongs that our people have faced since Canada and British Columbia's foundation."
SSN Project Review Process
VIDEO LINK: https://vimeo.com/194534066
FOUR-PAGE DOCUMENT ONLINE: www.stkemlups.ca/process/
Image Available: http://www.marketwire.com/library/MwGo/2016/12/15/11G125360/Images/DSC_8540-af67718f8081a9edb7c9e933cf249418.jpg
Embedded Video Available: https://vimeo.com/194534066