By Candyce Paul
From April 14 – 16, 2015 Kirstin Scansen, Marius Paul and Candyce Paul, of Committee for Future Generations, participated in this important conference, with professionals and grassroots indigenous people from 20 countries and 5 continents.
The Cree of Eeyou Istchee were one of the primary sponsors. They have led the effort through action and lobbying of the Quebec government to get a moratorium on uranium mining in Quebec. There was a large contingent of indigenous people from far and wide, Australia, Mongolia, Greenland, Africa, Dineh from New Mexico, Oglala Lakota from Pine Ridge, South Dakota, Innu from Quebec, Anishnabe from Ontario, Cree and Denesuline from Saskatchewan, Inuit from the NWT, all came to learn from the expert scientists, researchers, and physicians and to share our common experiences dealing with the nuclear industry.
Everywhere the stories are similar, the same methods, the same corruption, the same abuse of human rights, and the same legacy of suffering and death, and quite often by the same companies. While deals were being made between Canada (Cameco) and India for more uranium, we were sharing the dire consequences that the nuclear fuel chain has on us. People are being displaced and killed to access their lands for uranium in Australia and Africa and through policy in Saskatchewan and in the USA. Lands, waters, and the habitat of our traditional foods are being permanently and purposely destroyed. In India, tens of thousands of people have been standing against the building of nuclear reactors.
This Symposium was the perfect place to ask the questions and get factual answers without being bombarded by nuclear industry rhetoric and spin. “The most important thing was the connections made with people who will be able to help us all in our efforts,” stated Marius Paul, from English River First Nation.
There were two important success stories shared at the Quebec conference and both were through the efforts of First Nations people and their allies. One was the achievement of a Moratorium on Uranium Mining in Quebec. Kirstin Scansen of Lac LaRonge First Nation in Saskatchewan acknowledged in her plenary speech, the importance of the James Bay Cree leaders standing solid beside their people and particularly the youth who led that effort. The second was the effort of Committee for Future Generations whose pro-active education on the real risks of storing nuclear waste had influenced the decision of the Nuclear Waste Management Organization to eliminate the three communities it had targeted in Saskatchewan for a high-level nuclear waste repository.
“The Committee for Future Generations wish to express their deep appreciation to the organizers of this excellent and successful event for the invitation to attend and present. This would not have been possible without the financial support of the many people and organizations that donated and covered the travel expenses for the team,” said Candyce Paul.
Three full days of plenary sessions and workshops culminated in a historical Declaration of the World Uranium Symposium 2015 which is being circulated for public endorsement worldwide. Please go to this link, read the Declaration, endorse it and share.