Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)

B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

A mineral exploration company with provincial permits to work in Tahltan territory in northwestern British Columbia is treading on sacred grounds, an elected leader in the nation’s government says.

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government.

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, he said.

“The Sheslay area was a major village site in pre-contact times and even nowadays we have many elders who were born in the Sheslay area. Many of our ancestors are buried out there,” Day said in an interview.

“British Columbia, Doubleview, we should all just save ourselves a lot of time, energy and conflict and get Doubleview out of there,” he said.

Doubleview has 10 mineral tenures covering about 63 square kilometres where “an aggressive 2021 exploration program is being planned,” the company said in an update posted online in February.

It said it expected to give shareholders a more complete assessment of the deposit’s value after verifying the results of

metallurgical sample analysis.

The Tahltan Central Government accuses Doubleview of failing to act in a manner consistent with both Tahltan protocols for the mining sector and with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The Tahltan made “many reasonable attempts to work with Doubleview in a respectful manner,” the central government said in a statement in March.

But the company has a “track record of being disrespectful … including unsuccessfully taking legal action against Tahltan leaders and elders in 2015,” it said.

Doubleview “regrets the poor relationship that we have established” with the Tahltan, lead director Andrew Rees said in an email when asked about the conflict, and the company offered an apology letter after the nation’s public statement.

“Doubleview strives to be a responsible steward of the areas in which we live and operate, and continues to seek a positive, collaborative, productive, and mutually beneficial relationship with the Tahltan Central Government.”

The Mines Ministry said Doubleview was first granted a multi-year permit in 2012 in a process that included consultation with the Tahltan Nation.

Laws and legal precedents concerning Indigenous rights and title have changed since then, said Day.

The B.C. government is now in the early stages of aligning its laws with the UN declaration after adopting it through legislation.

It requires governments to obtain free, prior and informed consent before taking actions that affect Indigenous Peoples and territories — which would include decisions on proposed mines and future exploration work permits.

The statutory adoption of the UN declaration means industry and the B.C. government must start building “processes that seek a genuine consent from Indigenous governments, communities and people,” Day said.

“And there’s a huge difference between having a conversation and calling it consultation versus having a robust consultation process that is aiming to get consent from Indigenous people.”

The Tahltan Nation has “excellent relationships” with the majority of mining and mineral exploration companies operating in its territory, Day noted.

There are three active mines — Red Chris, Silvertip and Brucejack — and the nation has impact benefit agreements with each of the companies.

“When you have Tahltan title and rights over 11 per cent of the province and you have jurisdiction over an area the size of Portugal, you don’t need to be supportive of projects that are in really culturally sensitive areas,” Day said.

The Tahltan has communication agreements with more than two dozen mining and mineral exploration companies allowing it to check in on their work as necessary, he said.

Day said Doubleview had refused to sign, though Rees said the company is now waiting to hear back from the nation after sending a written response about a communications and engagement agreement.

“We acknowledge that it has taken us much longer to do so than we would have liked and attribute the delay to internal miscommunication and lack of expert resources,” the Doubleview statement said.

“Our utmost priority right now remains getting back to the table … and doing so in a respectful and collaborative manner so that we can continue understanding Tahltan Nation’s ongoing concerns, which will allow us to collaboratively develop appropriate mitigation measures.”

Day, however, said the company has “chosen a path of conflict” with the Tahltan and he would oppose any further permits.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

First Nations

Just Posted

Talia McKay of Williams Lake is a burn survivor who remains grateful for the support she received from the Burn Fund (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
’You have to allow yourself the grace to heal’: B.C. burn survivor reflects on her recovery

Learning how to stand straight and walk again was a feat said Williams Lake resident Talia McKay

As a former reporter and editor at the Tribune, Diana French carries on sharing her ideas through her weekly column. (Photo submitted)
FRENCH CONNECTION: Worth taking another look at hemp for paper production

Ninety years after being deemed illegal, few are afraid of marijauna

Ranch Musings columnist David Zirnhelt. (File photo)
RANCH MUSINGS: Milking cows and strangers on the premises

Cows in a milking barn may get upset if a stranger comes

Lake City Secondary School Grade 12 students Haroop Sandhu, from left, Amrit Binning and Cleary Manning are members of the school’s horticulture club. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
LCSS horticulture club a growing success

Aspiring gardeners at a Williams Lake secondary school are earning scholarship dollars… Continue reading

Jim Hilton pens a column on forestry each week for the Tribune.
FOREST INK: Plenty of changes happening in forest industry

A new process produces a biodegradable plastic-like product from wood waste powder

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is seen at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 22, 2021. Dr. Ben Chan remembers hearing the preliminary reports back in March of blood clots appearing in a handful of European recipients of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Science on COVID, VITT constantly changing: A look at how doctors keep up

While VITT can represent challenges as a novel disorder, blood clots themselves are not new

Poached trees that were taken recently on Vancouver Island in the Mount Prevost area near Cowichan, B.C. are shown on Sunday, May 10, 2021. Big trees, small trees, dead trees, softwoods and hardwoods have all become valuable targets of tree poachers in British Columbia as timber prices hit record levels. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne.
Tree poaching from public forests increasing in B.C. as lumber hits record prices

Prices for B.C. softwood lumber reached $1,600 for 1,000 board feet compared with about $300 a year ago

The warm weather means time for a camping trip, or at least an excursion into nature. How much do you know about camps and camping-related facts? (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Are you ready to go camping?

How many camp and camping-related questions can you answer?

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

People shop in Chinatown in Vancouver on Friday, February 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver community leaders call for action following 717% rise in anti-Asian hate crimes

‘The alarming rise of anti-Asian hate in Canada and south of the border shows Asians have not been fully accepted in North America,’ says Carol Lee

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

Most Read