The Yellowknives Dene First Nation (YKDFN) demands an apology for the mistreatment and degradation of land caused by Giant Mine over their 70 year-long relationship.
Dozens of residents gathered outside Giant Mine for a feeding fire ceremony, Dene drummers and speeches by Dettah Chief Edward Sangris, Ndilǫ Chief Ernest Betsina and YKDFN members, on Wednesday.
Demonstrators held their signs proudly, calling on Giant Mine to right its wrongs and acknowledge the harm it has done to the land and the overall YKDFN community.
YKDFN extends its demands to the federal government, asking for a resolution — compensation and a meaningful apology from Giant Mine.
“We are calling on Canada to sit at a table with us to determine just, fair and equitable compensation for these historic wrongs,” Sangris says.
YKDFN claims Giant Mine is responsible for a “decades-long toxic legacy of broken promises, displacement and arsenic contamination,” reads a press release.
In response, “We recognize the tremendous work undertaken by the Yellowknives Dene First Nation on this important matter and are committed to continued engagement and work with them in order to find a resolution to their request for apology and compensation,” says Matthew Spence, NWT Regional Director General for the Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada.
“Our land is spoiled… We are fearful of harvesting anything near Giant Mine. We are fearful of fishing in the Yellowknife Bay and gathering berries close by,” says a YKDFN member during a speech.
The federal government is currently reviewing and assessing the letter and report sent by YKDFN, says Kimberly Walker, manager of communications for the Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada.
YKDFN also launched a website on the impacts of the relationship between Gaint Mine and YKDFN, along with a petition to the federal government.
CKLB asked Spence how the government plans on remedying the relationship between Giant Mine and YKDFN, he said he will provide a response at a later time.