Yukon North Of Ordinary

News archive for January 24, 2014

First Nations, groups recruit heavy legal artillery for fight

Renowned aboriginal rights lawyer Thomas Berger has been retained by two Yukon First Nations and two local environmental organizations

By Ainslie Cruickshank on January 24, 2014 at 3:50 pm

Renowned aboriginal rights lawyer Thomas Berger has been retained by two Yukon First Nations and two local environmental organizations opposed to the Yukon government’s Peel land use plan released earlier this week.

A formal announcement will be made Monday in Vancouver,  where the Mineral Exploration Roundup event will be underway.

Berger will lead the press conference which will outline the details of an action to be taken by the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, the First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun, the Yukon Conservation Society, and the Yukon chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society.

Nacho Nyak Dun Chief Ed Champion confirmed earlier this week the First Nations would be taking legal action against the government following the release of the Peel plan.

Both governments and the two environmental NGOs condemned the Yukon government this week, arguing that it acted outside of the process outlined in the Umbrella Final Agreement in implementing its own plan.

The government disagreed, maintaining it followed the process as outlined, noting it has the right to accept, reject, or modify the final recommended plan.

In an advisory about the announcement to be made Monday, the groups explained why they are taking action against the government.

“After seven years of research and consultation following a constitutionally mandated process under the Umbrella Final Agreement and Yukon land claims agreements, the Peel Watershed Planning Commission produced a Final Recommended Plan that would protect 80 per cent of Northern Yukon’s 68,000-square-kilometre Peel River watershed – a plan supported by affected First Nations and the majority of the Yukon public,” the release says.

“The Government of Yukon has adopted its own unilaterally developed plan for the region, which opens up most of the watershed to roads and industrial development.”

Most recently in Yukon courts, Berger in November 2012 represented the Ross River Dena Council in its lawsuit against the federal government.

Ross River is claiming Ottawa has breached its duty under the Constitution of Canada by not addressing the aboriginal rights and title of the First Nation before giving away land inside Ross River’s traditional territory. The matter is still before the courts.

The Ross River Dena Council is one of three Yukon First Nations without an aboriginal land claim settlement.

– With files from Chuck Tobin. See related story, p. 6.

By Ainslie Cruickshank
Star Reporter

CommentsAdd a comment

damien lankow

Jan 24, 2014 at 8:02 pm

The people need to stand up, by any means necessary they need to put a stop to this. Once the mining is done and the land has nothing left to give, the watershed will be destroyed for good. Curry Dixon will sell out every chance he gets, do not let this happen. Start petitions, start riots, call green peace (haha), desperate times call for desperate measures.


Jan 25, 2014 at 3:43 am

I don’t swear often on facebook or any other “public’ Medium but here goes.

I am F—-ing tired of seeing the NIMBY’s, Conservationist and special interest groups complaining about everything.
We have literally become a society of complainers.

The new plan for the Peel watershed looks like a good one to me. From what I have seen so far no one is perfectly happy with it and you know what?

It means no one is unfairly represented.

The miners are complaining about increased regulation and enforcement.
Enviro’s are complaining that the new rules are flimsy.
No one wins here…
Or do they…

The Governing party which happens to be the Yukon Party set out to provide a FAIR and BALANCED approach. To me that means NOBODY GETS EVERYTHING they want.
Now stop f—-ing Squabbling like my damn two year old daughter and work with what your damned elected representatives came up with.


Jan 26, 2014 at 12:27 am

DG, did you even read the article? The lawsuit is not about NIMBYism, it is about legal process. Get a clue.

Sally Wright

Jan 26, 2014 at 2:53 pm

To say that Samson Hartland speaks for the miners is disingenuous. Last time I had any dealings with him he was “handling” Kluane MLA Wade Isechenko’s mis-guided changes to ATTIP.

No, Mr. Samson has been placed into the Chamber of Mines, to create fear, by the interests that are most involved in this backroom deal, Chevron. They don’t want the iron ore, they want the natural gas that is underneath. That is why the Chevron site is protected in the new plan, and there is a pipeline right of way beside the Dempster Highway. The Plan even goes so far as to restrict other oil companies from going in. I bet Shell, Encana and ATCO Gas are pretty choked right now. The oil and gas industry is a very different kind of mining, unlike any kind of mining we have seen in the territory.

I am so thankful that Thomas Berger has come forward to give his powerful intellect, and empathy to this important initiative.
The reality is, the Peel is the last great boreal wilderness watershed on the planet. Its wealth is not what is in the ground, it is the water, the air, the animals and the peace and beauty that all beings need to be healthy and happy. To know it is there is enough. I have never been there, but I look at the magnificent photos and they give me great comfort.

First Nations, and organised Yukon people (YCS CPAWS) are stepping forward to stop this assault on our democracy and our children’s right for a healthy future. The Yukon is going to be the place where we draw the line. Many might have noticed but there is a war going on. It is a war on our environment. We’re all in a struggle for resources, to feed and house our children, but organized corporations, with more influence than countries in some cases, have all the power. We pay for Climate change, the pollution and the disease caused by the corporation’s pathological fixation on profit.
Caring Yukon people are drawing the line, and informing investors that this madness has to stop somewhere. The Peel is the place.

north of 60

Jan 26, 2014 at 5:28 pm

Those who want to see the Yukon open for resource extraction already have most of the territory available, even without 80% of the Peel.  If you can’t make successful economic development with the rest of the Yukon then you’ve got a faulty business model.

You’ve got plenty of the Yukon for your interests, you can’t have it all.
Stop being so damn selfish and greedy.  Show some respect for others and responsibility for your actions. 
There are many things more important than money.  Isn’t that why we live here?


Jan 26, 2014 at 6:46 pm


Do you even have reading and the skills to understand.

Have you ever been in a wilderness location. In the majority of cases they are that way because they have been protected from mining. DG, people want to protect the Peel because its a very special place- and not let an industry destoy it. In wilderness is the preservation of the world.

Carmen Northen

Jan 26, 2014 at 8:09 pm

I sincerely hope you good people can reverse this recent decision made by the Yukon government and Currie Dixon.  I had visited your beautiful land way back in 1990 and recently read about a canoe trip on the Peel published in one of Patagonia’s catalogs. Last night I read a story in National Geographic on the Peel River and the mining developments that have escalated since 2006 or so when the price of gold has shot through the roof.  How tragic to see the land laid waste for greed and profit.  I am an American and we have been fighting the Pebble Mine in Alaska’s Bristol Bay and it looks like there could be light at the end of the tunnel.
The point is the hard rock mining legacy has been one of destruction of the land with a history of leaving a mess for others to clean up.  If you see a greater value in wilderness and clean water, then fight a good fight to save something that is far more precious then gold.  Something worth saving for future generations to cherish and enjoy.  The Peel Watershed is worthy of this and I hope you can get the 80% you were hoping for instead of 30% or so what your legislative leaders have ruled on.  If I may I would like to leave you with our quote from our great conservationist and president, Theodore Roosevelt speaking about our public lands.  “Our national forests should be managed so the small man can make a living, not the the big man a profit”.
Carmen Northen


Jan 27, 2014 at 9:26 am

Great so the tax payer gets to pay both sides of the law suit I think that if the first nations are going to fight this in court they should really look at where they get there money from. I’m getting really tired of this.


Jan 27, 2014 at 2:26 pm

To Sally Wright

Please tell us more about backroom deals and Chevron. Its common knowledge who funds the Yukon Party thus it’s not a stretch to understand who or what industry they are going to support over planning commissions and the Umbrella Final Agreements and Yukon people.

been downtown

Jan 27, 2014 at 2:49 pm

Yukoner, the two of us got requests this morning to donate money for the legal team.  We are going downtown today to drop off cheques.  I do not know where else money might be coming from to defend the Peel from the Yukon Party and their corporate donors but I know that I will be contributing to that side of the battle.

As for the Yukon Party, they don’t mind slapping the public in the face and having the taxpayer pay for the defense of the interests of the mining and oil and gas industries.  Can’t help you there.  Perhaps they should go begging hat in hand for a change.


Jan 27, 2014 at 4:35 pm

Both sides complained over the PRPCs recommendations as well; some environmentalists thought it didn’t go far enough, miners said it went too far, so by your own words, the government should have gone with the PRPCs recommendations.
And regarding people squabbling like your 2 year old, you should elevate the content of your post beyond that of a potty mouthed 12 year old.


Jan 27, 2014 at 6:24 pm

I figured Samson Hartland was sort of acting as a straw dog in this fight—by managing to eke a complaint on miners’ behalf about losing what little access to claims he said they did, the Yukon Party can point and say, see, nobody’s happy, cause it’s “balanced”.

Alternatively, he fits in well with the incredible and vacuous greed on display here. The Yukon Party—their ideas and concepts are so base level stupid and grandiose, they think we’re all stupid enough to buy their primitive tactics.

north of 60

Jan 27, 2014 at 7:11 pm

Perhaps it’s now time for those with the greatest stake in preserving Yukon’s wilderness to get militant.  Make it personal, we know who is behind this, bring this incompetent government to it’s knees in disgrace.

Community Gal

Jan 28, 2014 at 5:04 pm

Yes well if the whole area is 100% protected from any industrial development at all then the wonderful folks who travel here for the wilderness experience, and the youth who go out on the land will, alas, be woefully unable to survive. They will get lost, have insufficient supplies and any mishap will likely leave them stranded and in life threatening situations. We have seen it many times before. Alas, their cell phones won’t work from there, their flares, if they remembered to bring them, may not be seen by anyone. Search teams will have no roads or helicopter pads to land on. There will be no work sites with shelter and food which might have saved their lives. Without the balance of responsible development, many adventurers seeking the wilderness experience will die out there. How sad.


Jan 28, 2014 at 5:14 pm

I am Tr’ondek Hwech’in.  Excuse me! I pay tax well. DG you should not be given the gift of being a parent.  Bless our children and may they have healthy lives ahead and for their children and grandchildren.  Thank you to those in support of protecting a pristine wilderness.  80% protection-20%percent development.  As mentioned elsewhere, YG deal with current development.
Unfortunately the urban community govern rural communities-so unfair.


Jan 29, 2014 at 9:25 pm

I love the fact that because I called you lot brats that you think I should not “be given the gift of being a parent”, how dare you.
Fact is I am a parent of two healthy children both girls that I love dearly. You may not like the way I spoke in my original statement but I am quite tired of the rhetoric in this place. To those that know me which is few and far between they know that I do not speak like that on a regular basis.

My children are spoiled brats whether it be by my inlaws doing the spoiling or myself. They are well looked after.
And here is where I actually drew the comparison that I failed to do the other day.

First Nations are given so much and they only cry for more (much like my youngest when she is told that she is not allowed another cookie…)
And Miners complain when a rule that is meant to safe guard their arses and our environment (much like when my 7 year old is told that she has to do something before she gets something).

You want to attack my parenting go ahead. While you’re at it, go find somebody who cares.

Greasy McGee

Jan 30, 2014 at 6:35 pm

DG, I’m first nations, no I am not spoiled, I work and pay taxes and have had to earn everything I have, and have never cried about never getting my cookie, stop spoiling your kids, they will become little lizard bar junkies if you continue.

No Law

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