Thursday, March 3, 2011
The catalyst for the blockade is a mining camp on Koper Lake that Marten Falls leaders say was constructed without permission.
The leaders see the camp as part of a larger trend where the community is shut out of the decision making process and are concerned they might lose out on benefits in the long term by not being able to help guide development.
Besides having more say in plans for the area, Chief Eli Moonias says Marten Falls would like to see new infrastructure put in place like winter roads that could lead to transport jobs. Other items such as funding to hire experts to help with negotiations and reimbursement for last years blockade are also on his wish list. Moonias feels the First Nation was forced into last years blockade by the decisions of others and shouldn't be on the hook for the cost.
NAN Grand Chief Stan Beardy visited the protest camp on Koper lake today and participated in a ceremony to mark the beginning of the blockade. Beardy says First Nation communities in the region aren't against development; they just want to make sure they share in the Ring of Fire's success and are treated fairly.