Nukewatch Quarterly Spring 2015
A group of about 20 young people from the Cree Nation walked almost 530 miles over three weeks this winter to deliver a message to Montreal’s environmental protection agency: “We stand against uranium mining.” The young people endured frigid conditions and covered about the distance of a marathon each day on their journey. The Stand Against Uranium Walk started in the community of Mistissini in northern Quebec on November 24 and culminated with the group’s participation in a public hearing on uranium mining in Montreal, December 15.
The group opposes a plan by the firm Strateco Resources that has been exploring uranium extraction in the Mistissini area since 2006. The company claims it has invested $120 million in its Mistissini uranium project over the last 10 years. In 2013, the Quebec government issued a moratorium on uranium mining and exploration. Now, Strateco is suing the province for its investment mistake, and Quebec has been holding public hearings on the subject.
Stand Against Uranium walkers reported overwhelming support for the ban among people they encountered on their long journey. The walkers passed through several towns affected by uranium mining, broadening the base of support for their efforts.
“Some people understand the effects of uranium, but there’s such a large number who just aren’t aware of this project. We’re the ones taking the initiative to be ambassadors to Quebec, Canada and the world,” said Youth Grand Chief Joshua Iserhoff.
“We’re protecting the land for future generations, not just for the Cree people or Aboriginal people, but for everybody.”
—CBC News, Dec. 5 & Dec. 14; Red Power Media, Dec. 19, 2014