Canada - James Bay Cree Nation Reaffirms Permanent Uranium Moratorium Over James Bay Eeyou Istchee Territory


Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) Statement –

Date of publication: 
8 August 2014

WASWANIPI, EEYOU ISTCHEE, QC – The James Bay Cree Nation yesterday reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring that their territory of Eeyou Istchee remains free of uranium exploration, mining and waste emplacement activities. In a resolution passed unanimously at the Annual General Assembly held in Waswanipi, the Cree Nation reaffirmed the permanent moratorium on uranium development in Eeyou Istchee that was originally enacted in August 2012.

The Resolution observes that “uranium exploration, mining, milling, refining and transport, and radioactive and toxic uranium mining wastes, create unique and grave risks for human health and the environment, both today and for thousands of future generations.”

“The Cree Nation has consistently and repeatedly spoken out against uranium exploration, mining and waste emplacement in Eeyou Istchee,” said Grand Chief Dr. Matthew Coon Come. “We Crees continue to live off of our lands, and it is our responsibility to protect Eeyou Istchee. The waste created by uranium mining will remain radioactive and dangerous to the land, the animals, the waters and our way-of-life for hundreds of thousands of years, and there are no known methods to manage these risks over this time period.”

“We anticipate that once all Quebecers learn the facts about uranium, the risks it poses, and the questions that cannot be adequately answered, they will join with us in our opposition to uranium mining,” added Grand Chief Coon Come.

In March 2013, the Government of Quebec declared a temporary moratorium on uranium exploration and mining throughout the province, while the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE) conducts an inquiry regarding the uranium industry in Quebec. The BAPE’s mandate began on May 20, 2014.

In June, the BAPE visited the Cree Nations of Mistissini and Chisasibi, where hundreds of Crees attended the hearings and expressed their opposition to uranium mining. The BAPE is scheduled to continue its hearings in September, including further hearings in Eeyou Istchee on September 3-5, 2014. The BAPE must table its recommendations about the uranium industry by May 20, 2015.

For further information: Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come, Telephone: 613-761-1655; Bill Namagoose, Executive Director, Telephone: 613-761-1655, Cellular: 613-725-7024; Jessica Orkin, Legal Advisor, Cellular: 514-260-2622