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Amazay: A film about Water

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Published on Nov 22, 2011

This is the full film, Amazay. Directed and Produced by JP Laplante and I in the years 2007-2009. It spotlights the battle against the Kemess North development at that time.

In 2003 Northgate Minerals proposed to dump 150 Million tons of acid waste into a pristine lake, the Tse keh nay said no. This is their story...

The passage below was a letter sent to Northgate from the chiefs.

"Protecting Amazay Lake

The Tse Keh Nay have withstood many hardships and impacts from governments and its industrial developments, including its genocidal residential schools policy.

We survived the 1960's flooding of our homeland which was caused by government's unilateral decision to dam the Peace and Finlay River watersheds. This created the vast Williston Reservoir which now provides water for the W.A.C. Bennet Dam.

While we survived that catastrophic event let there be no doubt this development destroyed our communities, our way of life, and the fish and wildlife in those river systems.

And now there is another threat to our lands that is even more disturbing to us than present-day large-scale logging. This is the mining slated for the northern part of our territory, in particular Northgate Minerals' aggressive pursuit of gold and copper in the Kemess region.

The company's plan would see the destruction of Amazay Lake and the local watershed it lies in. The inherent contradiction in Northgate's plan is that it wants to protect the watershed from acidic run-off due to mining waste by destroying it. This makes no sense to us.

Moreover, we cannot stress enough that the company's plan would set a bad precedent for the use of other fish-bearing waters in this province. For instance, Taseko Mines' is proposing to use a fish-bearing lake in the interior for its Prosperity mine project. The lake in question there is called Fish Lake. Ironically enough, successive federal fisheries ministers have acted to protect that lake, but in the case of Amazay Lake this same care is not evident. This makes no sense to us either.

The reality of these large-scale industrial developments is that our lands continue to be alienated from us such that our way of life continues to be threatened by the unilateral actions of governments and industry. This is happening even while we are in the BC Treaty Process, which is intended to address the very land question that is driving these land use disputes.

Crown's honour must compel it do deal with us through meaningful discussions and fair and timely agreements. No less, these must include respect for our sacred values, such as respecting the integrity of fish-bearing waters such as Amazay Lake.

Signed,

Tse Keh Nay Chiefs"

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