Tahltan Central Council Reaffirms Sustainable Development in Tahltan Territory



    DEASE LAKE, BC, March 3 /CNW/ - "The Tahltan Nation is not opposed to
resource development in our traditional territory as long as we follow a
process that is fair and reasonable to ourselves and developers," says the
board of the Tahltan Central Council.
    We have called the Stikine River area our home for thousands of years.
Tahltan traditional territory lies between the coastal country of the Tlingit
and the inland homes of the Kaska to the east and northeast, the Nisga's and
Gitksan to the south and the Taku River Tlingit to the north. For thousands of
years we have been trading people, exchanging coastal goods for those found
inland and vice versa.
    We are fortunate that we have been blessed with a high concentration of
mineral and coal occurrences within our territory. However, this has resulted
in extreme development pressure by the mineral claim holders who are
understandably responding to the metal price market and world demand. They
should however, also understand that there is a process for engaging in a
development relationship with the Tahltan Nation as a whole.
    We have a Tahltan Development policy which includes eight principles for
developers to follow. So long as those principles remain at the heart of the
relationship building exercise, the Tahltan will not have any opposition to
development of new mines within our territory. Our policy contains the
following statement:
    "We wish to make it very clear that the Tahltan people are not inherently
opposed to any specific type of business or resource development within our
country as long as companies follow sustainable development practices."
    As a governing board we understand that there are those who want to do
business with our Nation. We will not turn away any development proposal so
long as we can ensure any new development will be respectful of our
environmental duty to the land we live on. Only Tahltan can determine the
process of environmental stewardship, not environmental NGO's and/or
developers. We expect both parties to adhere and respect this principle.
    One of our fundamental principles state, "The most important skill that
our ancestors learned was how to live and work in co-operation with each
other."
    This is the principle that we wish to maintain as a governing board
charged with the responsibility of protecting Tahltan right and title to our
territory. We are confident that those developers who respect our duty will
find a way to reach a win-win relationship with our Nation.





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For further information: Tahltan Central Council, (250) 771-3274

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