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YKDFN to meet with federal Indigenous Services Minister about Giant Mine

The Yellowknives Dene First Nation (YKDFN) will be meeting with the Carolyn Bennet, the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations about remediation and an apology for Giant Mine on January 29.

YKDFN is asking for two main things during the meeting, according to chief executive officer Jason Snaggs: a formal apology plus compensation for the damage to the land caused by Giant Mine, and for contracts for the cleanup of the mine to be set-aside for YKDFN to bid on.

Allowing YKDFN to be the sole bidders on clean-up projects will allow the Yellowknives Dene to move beyond the “toxic legacy” left behind by the mine and “create a new legacy of skills, jobs, and a healing of the land.”

“Even now they are putting out contracts for this project without ensuring a set-aside agreement for YKDFN, as they did for the Mi’Kmaq with the Sydney Tar Ponds in 2007,” Snaggs said in an email.

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“We continue to be frustrated that Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC) officials have been unable to move our Recognition of Indigenous Rights and Self-Determination (RIRSD) table forward when they have clearly shown a willingness and ability to move these forward for so many other First Nations under this government,” Snaggs added.

YKDFN issued a call to the federal government, the most recent of numerous calls to the federal government, back in December.

The set-aside agreement YKDFN wants would include contracts for water treatment and long-term environmental consulting and monitoring of the Giant Mine Remediation Project.

Snaggs said YKDN are pleased a meeting is happening, but said YKDN “are also worried that officials are delaying our RIRSD for reasons that are beyond our understanding.”

“We hope that via this meeting next week with the Minister will understand the urgency of YKDFN’s situation and direct her people to establish a negotiating table.”

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