The Council of Canadians recently honoured two First Nations women for their environmental bravery, recognizing both women as activists of the year.
Xeni Gwet’in Chief Marilyn Baptiste was honoured for her continued opposition to the New Prosperity gold-copper mine proposed to be developed in Tsilhqot’in Territory she calls home. Baptiste’s story is one of many stories included in Diana French’s new book Extraordinary Women, Vol. 2, Women of Brave Mettle, More stories from the Cariboo Chilcotin. In French’s book Baptiste explains that the people of Xeni Gwet’in live close to the land and rely on the natural resources. As chief, her goal is to keep both the land and the culture intact for future generations. “It’s an inherited duty and responsibility,” French quotes Baptiste in the book.
The other woman honoured by the Council of Canadians is Lois Frank from the Blood Reserve in Alberta. Frank made waves this year by putting her body on the line at a blockade, attempting to end the practise of fracking on her reserve.
She was jailed but the charges were later dropped.