Native American Fish & Wildlife Society Announces Approved Resolution Supporting the International Joint Commission Involvement in Southeast Alaska/British Columbia Transboundary Region

Approved Resolution Calls for U.S. State Department and Canadian Federal Government to Refer to International Joint Commission’s Review of Mining Impacts

DENVER, CO, JUNE 29, 2015 – A resolution recently approved by the Native American Fish & Wildlife Society (NAFWS) supports the International Joint Commission (IJC) Involvement in the Southeast Alaska/British Columbia Transboundary Region, where water quality, habitat, and potentially salmon will be majorly impacted by proposed large-scale mining projects affecting transboundary rivers in British Columbia (B.C.) and Southeast Alaska. The mining will effect three watersheds of Taku, Stikine, and Unuk which flow from British Columbia and into Southeast Alaska, and together span at least 30,000 square miles. Several Native Alaskan Tribes and their cultural practices and foods will be effected.

“As indigenous people we all have a stake when it comes to threats to our way of life, our customs, traditions, and traditional foods,” said John Morris, a Council Member with the Douglas Indian Association, a federally recognized Tribe located in Juneau, AK and a member Tribe of the United Tribal Transboundary Mining Work Group.

“In Southeast Alaska we face very real threats from these large mining developments from British Columbia and our Tribes are located downstream from six of the mines in B.C., which have the potential to contaminate our vital fishing grounds and the places we have hunted and gathered for thousands of years. We have not been consulted about what is going on in these Transboundary watersheds that are essential to our survival as Alaska Native Tribal citizens,” said Morris.

“The adoption of our resolution by the Native American Fish and Wildlife Society, the National Congress of American Indians, and the Alaska Federation of Natives is heartening in this fight,” he said.

“We need the U.S. State Department to listen and to act on our concerns and we will not be ignored, nor will we stand by and allow our waters to be polluted.”

As a national Native American organization working to assist Tribes in the U.S. and Alaska, the NAFWS mission is to assist Native American and Alaska Native Tribes with conserving, protecting, and enhancing their fish and wildlife resources.

The NAFWS is a non-profit organization with a Tribal membership of 224 Native American Tribes and has been in existence since 1982. It is based in Colorado and seven regions of the U.S. tribal nations are represented on its board of directors.

The Resolution was adopted at the annual NAFWS National Conference that was held in Juneau, AK on May 20, 2015. A vote by the NAFWS membership was 48 approval for, and no oppositions, and no abstentions.

For more information, contact: Karen Lynch, NAFWS, [email protected], 303-466-1725, ext. 5

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The Native American Fish and Wildlife Society would like to thank those organizations that provided us with support over the years. With them we grew an effective national communications network for the exchange of information and management techniques related to self-determined tribal fish and wildlife management.

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