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AJAX – SSN says no to mine, yes to ‘health of our community and our neighbours’

(SSN Facebook)

(SSN Facebook)

The Tk’emlúps and Skeetchestn Bands, acting together as the Stk’emlúpsemc te Secwépemc Nation (SSN), today (Saturday, March 4, 2017) came out in formal opposition to the Ajax mine project, saying it threatens the Jacko Lake area traditionally known as Pipsell.

The decision is based on the SSN’s own environmental review of the project.

“We say no to this project in order to say yes to the health of our community members and our neighbours in Kamloops and surrounding area,” Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Chief Fred Seymour said.

“For our two communities united through SSN, it does not make sense to sacrifice for all time all that we have in Pípsell to obtain limited benefits which will last for only 25 years,” he said.

“Many impacts were not and cannot be monetized including the adverse impacts on our cultural heritage as well as impacts on the environment.”

Pipsell is the traditional name given to Jacko Lake and its surrounding area — immediately adjacent to the proposed open-pit mine — by the Secwépemc.

Terry Denault, Acting Chief of the Skeetchestn Band, joined Seymour in stating united opposition to Ajax.

“It is our duty to our future generations to hold the provincial and federal governments accountable regarding any proposed development that will impact the territory that we have the sacred obligation of being stewards of since time immemorial,” said Denault.

“We want to protect and share in the wonder of the place known as Pípsell. Our decision to preserve and sustain Pípsell is for the long-term benefit of all Canadians, ensuring the future enjoyment of this special place serves to further reconciliation, so that we may all be great and good.”

The SSN review panel, which sat for a week last spring, included elected chiefs and councillors as well as elders, youth and family appointees. It identified Pipsell as “uniquely situated to serve as a place of sharing between Indigenous and non-Indigenouse people.”

Here’s the complete text of the SSN’s statement as released on Saturday:

Stk’emlúpsemc te Secwépemc Nation (SSN) does not give its free, prior and informed consent to the development of the lands and resources at Pípsell (Jacko Lake and Area) for the purposes of the Ajax Mine Project.

The Ajax Mine Project in its proposed location at Pípsell is in opposition to the SSN land use objective for this profoundly sacred, culturally important, and historically significant keystone site which significance is fundamental and undiminished.

The Stk’emlúpsemc te Secwépemc Nation, representing the communities of Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc and Skeetchestn Indian Band, has an irreplaceable historical, cultural and spiritual connection to Pípsell. This connection is deeply rooted in one their oral histories: the Trout Children Stseptékwll. The Trout Children Oral History is inseparably connected to the place of the proposed Ajax mine site. It encapsulates and expresses the human connection of Stk’emlúpsemc te Secwépemc, to Pípsell. It sustains Secwépemc law about Secwépemc conduct on the land and the reciprocal accountability to living beings on the land, social conduct across generations and within generations. 

The SSN Joint Council, composed of the elected leadership of Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc and Skeetchestn Indian Band, made this decision in accordance with SSN’s laws, traditions, customs and land tenure systems supported by the evidence and assessments as presented in the Pípsell Report and SSN Panel Recommendations Report.

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ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

8 Comments on AJAX – SSN says no to mine, yes to ‘health of our community and our neighbours’

  1. Hope that no one is using Jacko Lake for fishing, because if that is the case, then it is no longer sacred ground or water.

    • Greg Ferguson // March 5, 2017 at 12:42 PM // Reply

      Ground breaking x rays have shown over 500 graves of the Secwepemc people all throughout the pipsel area . The Secwepemc people know who their ancestors are and know more than anyone who they are and their own surroundings. Just because you don’t see them walking on your roads doesn’t mean they don’t see you . They walk their old trails . It’s just sad and pitiful you lost who you are . I’m soooo heart felt for you my guest . I am not being mean in any way , I am just genuinely feeling bad for you as I cannot imagine ever being oblivious to who I am or where I’m going after I leave this body . Love you my relative. There are more and more people whom are not from this land that are finding their way because they are respectful and recognize themselves as guests . Only then will you reel the benefits of your surroundings my little brother . We are willing to teach

  2. The original Canucks do “STAND ON GUARD FOR THEE” thank you. Now we will see if Milobar and Stone will do the same or continue to bend to the deminished power of KGHM.
    Given the First Nation declared position on Ajax, you can count on the Provincial gov’t NOT moving forward until after the provincial election in May with the environmental permit application, which likely was the plan all along.
    Where is the SLR Consultant’s final report, it must be ready by now, come on Walsh make it happen, it must be released prior to the May 9th elections.

  3. “Zero harm” in action.
    Why all the fuss?

  4. Really? Pipsell? Is this an ‘alternate truth’? Please can someone tell me where to find this documented information. I am really struggling to believe in the new found interest in Jacko Lake! More…I mean show me the….better not say it out loud.
    Unless we all want to go back to 1789 how about we leave these decisions to the democratically elected government that belongs to every ‘Canadian’ in this country.

    • Greg Ferguson // March 5, 2017 at 12:20 PM // Reply

      Better yet , why don’t you do your research on any war lost or treaty signed by the Secwepemc people . You will find nothing that pertains to them giving up any of the land you walk on , therefore by the governments own laws this still makes you an illegal immigrant. The secwepmc people allow you to live on their unseeded territory and the federal government recognizes this , why else would these mines be offering hundreds of millions of dollars to the native peoples of this land and territories. You could make a comment like leaving it up to the democratic government to make decisions but the underlying truth is they and you own nothing . You are a guest in this unseeded Secwepemc territory, now please leave your shoes at the front door and show some respect to your hosts or feel free to move to government seeded territories with that ignorance

      • Michael Kahcur // March 6, 2017 at 6:40 AM //

        I am not an illegal immigrant. I was born in Canada. Who gave the land to the natives? Show proof. The money was offered for the most part because the natives know about dollars. Why do they always wait until the last minute to make a stand. It boils down to money for them. In all my years I have never once seen an indigenous person in the Jacko lake area.

  5. tony brumell // March 4, 2017 at 8:58 PM // Reply

    Congratulations to SSN. life over dollars Thank you

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