The White River First Nation (WRFN) is seeking a shutdown of mining activity during the COVID-19 state of emergency.
“In order to protect elders, we cannot have people from out of territory entering on charter flights, exposing their potential illness to Yukoners,” the WRFN said in a statement.
“On the one hand, the premier (Sandy Silver) is correct in saying the situation is extremely serious, declaring an emergency. On the other hand, the Yukon government is saying mining is open for business. That doesn’t make sense.”
WRFN lands director Janet VanderMeer is responsible for overseeing execution of the lands office’s COVID-19 response.
“Victoria Gold would have us believe workers coming to the Yukon aren’t leaving a hotel room in Whitehorse for 14 days before they head to site,” she said.
“Why should Yukoners have to take this risk? WRFN doesn’t want to take that chance with elders and youth.”
It’s seeking assurances from Silver that all staking, permitting and exploration activity in WRFN Traditional Territory will he suspended during the emergency.
“People rightly focused on public safety and not permit application responses during this crisis,” added VanderMeer.
“We realize this emergency is creating hardship for workers and businesses, but we all must do the tough work together now to eradicate it, so that it does not last longer and become more dangerous,” the First Nation added.
“We support the position of the Northern Tutchone Na-Cho Nyak Dun First Nation.”