Thursday, 30 January 2014

Protest Walks for #Peel River #Watershed held in Aklavik, Inuvik, Fort McPherson #NWT

Protest Walks for Peel River Watershed [Jan 30, 2014] Peaceful protests were held yesterday in Aklavik, Inuvik, Fort McPherson in the NWT and Whitehorse, Mayo, Dawson City and Haines Junction in the Yukon, rallying against the Yukon government's decision to open 71 per cent of the Peel River Watershed to development. The Peel River watershed is one of the largest undisturbed freshwater ecosystems in Canada. It spans across parts of Alaska, the N.W.T. and Yukon. Aklavik resident and hamlet councilor Bobbie Jo Greenland Morgan organized the community's protest walk from Moose Kerr School to Hansen Road along the banks of Peel River, to the water treatment plant area. She was pleased with the turnout. “We had a really good turnout, with a mixed group, both aboriginals groups (Inuvialuit and Gwich'in) and non-aboriginal groups. We also had a lot of calls from people who wanted to come who were out of town for work. Just seeing how our community comes together is very encouraging to us. Thank you to the elders for their prayers, stories and advice. Thank you to everyone who came out. We just wanted to send a clear message about human rights, about our health rights, about our land rights.” “We came together as a community to demonstrate that the Peel River is very important to us as it runs right by our community and is our drinking water source, we fish out of it as well. Our community along with many others are impacted directly and we are the last community on the Peel River. Whatever development that takes place will effect the water and eventually it all flows down to us. The Final Recommendation Plan that our people was involved in along with other First Nation Groups called for 80% protected area and 20% open to development. In the end, the Yukon Government decided on 79% open to development and 21% protected. They totally disregarded all the work and time and money that went into the community consultations and rejected the recommendations. We along with many others are going to do these rallies and protest walks to send the message back to the Government that we are not in agreement with their decision. It is unethical and immoral that they ignored the Land Use Plan that the First Nations and other groups had worked together on and supported. Lawsuits have been launched. We need to make some noise and show our stand on this matter.” After the walk, protestors debriefed and discussed next steps including submission of a petition to the Yukon government the next day, and welcomed letters and suggestions from protestors who wanted to add their voices to protect the Peel. (Zoe Ho, Tusaayaksat) Photos courtesy of Wyatt Morgan and Eugene Pascal
An online petition is available at:

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