- Published on Tuesday, 14 March 2017 19:15
- Written by editor
www.raventrust.com | (250) 383-2331
On March 22, three Yukon First Nations will be in the Supreme Court of Canada to defend the iconic Peel watershed and the integrity of treaties. This will be the culmination of a three-year legal battle to protect 80 per cent of the Peel watershed from mining, oil and gas extraction - the moment that makes or breaks the Peel.
One of Canada’s natural wonders, the Peel watershed is one of the largest unspoiled natural areas left in North America. The six crystal-clear rivers that flow into the Peel River – the Ogilvie, Blackstone, Hart, Wind, Bonnet Plume and Snake Rivers - are the lifeblood of this ecosystem. Grizzly bears, wolves, and caribou roam freely in this land of rugged mountains, pure rivers and boreal forest - the longest land mammal migration on Earth! Owing to its environmental significance, the Peel forms the northern anchor of the Yellowstone to Yukon wildlife corridor. It is now at risk of being demolished.
Industry and government covet the area for its mineral wealth - and the result is a determination to open the area to extractive industries. The historic moment in the Supreme Court on March 22 will only happen because the the First Nations of Na-Cho Nyak Dun, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, and Vuntut Gwitchin fought against efforts to carve up this intact landscape with every ounce of courage and determination through years of litigation in the lower courts. They should not face this last battle alone. Will you stand with them?
The Supreme Court’s ruling, which will likely be released later in 2017, will require a precedent-setting interpretation of Yukon’s modern-day treaties. If the First Nations win, the Peel will become the largest protected area in North America - seven time as big as Yellowstone National Park!
The Supreme Court ruling also has the potential to set a strong precedent for treaty rights and land use planning in every province and territory. Watch the Supreme Court hearing live.
Since launching the campaign in January, we have raised more than half of our $210,000 goal for the Peel campaign. We send thank-you’s and appreciation to all of the donors who have contributed to this landmark campaign. Now let’s make sure that when the Yukon Nations enter that courtroom, they know we have their back.
“The government of the Yukon has forced these plaintiffs to go to court not only in defense of First Nations right and environmental values in Yukon, but also to uphold principles entrenched in the Constitution. — Thomas Berger, QC, counsel for Na-Cho Nyak Dun, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, and Vuntut Gwitchin, and two conservation organizations (CPAWS Yukon and Yukon Conservation Society).
“Two courts have ruled that Yukon government undermined the integrity of our Final Agreements. We appreciate the opportunity to have our case heard by the Supreme Court of Canada; their final decision will provide certainty for the land-use-planning-approval processes in the Territory and set a precedent for the country.” — Chief Roberta Joseph, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation
Will you respond to Chief Joseph’s call and stand with First Nations for the Peel?
Susan Smitten, Executive Director
P.S. Gratitude to the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society-Yukon and the Yukon Conservation Society for their hard work over the years to protect the Peel. We are delighted to partner with them in this campaign. Learn more at raventrust.com/protect-the-peelCopyright © 2017 RAVEN, All rights reserved.
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