#Saskatchewan; #FirstNation; #TorontoUraniumCompany
Saskatchewan/Canadian-Media: A road was blockaded and a cease and desist order was issued by a northern Saskatchewan First Nation against a Toronto uranium company's Baselode Energy workers started surveying the band's traditional territory without consent, Birch Narrows Dene Nation officials said.
Image: Barricade. Image credit: Pixaby
"It was very disrespectful, totally uncalled for," Birch Narrows Chief Jonathon Sylvester said. "This is not being done properly."
The case raises a host of legal, environmental and economic issues.
Baselode board chair Stephen Stewart said in an interview that he meant no disrespect and added that Birch Narrows was given ample time to voice any concerns.
The lawyer and University of Saskatchewan lecturer Benjamin Ralston said,
"Certain behaviors or ways of doing business that might have worked in the past no longer work, based on a more robust understanding of how treaty rights and aboriginal rights need to be reconciled," CBC News reported.
The area sits on the edge of the Athabasca Basin. It's home to some of the world's richest uranium deposits, but also to endangered woodland caribou, lynx and other wildlife.
"At the end of the day, Aboriginal and treaty rights are constitutionally entrenched. So if the process by which those permits were issued is in breach of the Crown's obligations, then a court could invalidate those," Ralston said,
The blockade is no longer up, but Birch Narrows members are patrolling the area regularly.
Trapper Ron Desjardin said they're still willing to talk, but only if the government and Baselode treat them with respect.
"We were caught off guard, and we don't want that to happen again. We don't want people just moving in without a proper consultation process," Desjardin said.