Mining Companies Must Do Better: First Nations-led Stand for Water kicks off in Williams Lake

Local, provincial, and national groups joined Williams Lake on May 17 for the launch of the Stand for Water tour spearheaded by First Nations Women Advocating Responsible Mining (FNWARM) in British Columbia.

Jacinda Mack. Photo courtesy of Stand for Water

Stand for Water is a movement to raise awareness of the threats mining operations pose to waterways throughout BC and across borders, and to incorporate free, prior, and informed consent principles under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in all phases of mining.

The movement builds on the Tulalip Water Protection Declaration signed recently by over 20 Indigenous communities and regional associations in BC, Yukon, and Alaska with the aim to protect transboundary water ecosystems.

Hazeltine Creek after the Imperial Metals Mt. Polley Mine disaster. Photo courtesy of Stand for Water

In the words of Jacinda Mack, co-founder of Stand for Water, “Mining is a fact of life in BC, but current practices are threatening clean water necessary for sustaining life. Stand for Water is about changing outdated mining practices that harm the environment, while respecting Indigenous and impacted communities.”

The tour, which incorporates a new 35-minute documentary film Uprivers by filmmaker Jackson Matthew, will be visiting a dozen communities in BC and neighbouring States over the coming weeks and months, including Williams Lake (May 17), Smithers (May 29), Hazelton (May 30), Terrace (May 31), Tofino (June), Nelson (June), Kamloops (Fall), Vancouver (Fall), Victoria (Fall), Seattle, WA (Fall), and Washington, D.C. (Fall).

The groups present for the launch of the Stand for Water campaign in Williams Lake included Amnesty International Canada, BC Environmental Network, Concerned Citizens of Quesnel Lake, Forest Protection Allies, Mining Watch Canada, Northern Confluence, Salmon Beyond Borders, and Quesnel River Watershed Alliance.

For information, contact Jenn Wesanko, Stand For Water standforwater.org, at (604) 347-5988.

Soapberries. Photo courtesy of Stand for Water

Drying salmon. Photo courtesy of Stand for Water

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