A demonstration against Teck Resources’ Frontier oilsands mine will be led by Chief Gerry Cheezie of the Smith’s Landing First Nation next week, the Dene Nation said on Thursday.
A spokesperson for the Dene Nation said by email the demonstration would take place on Tuesday, February 25, outside the NWT’s Legislative Assembly in Yellowknife.
Spokesperson Robin Ram said Cheezie expected to lead a demonstration from midday.
“The Dene Nation and National Chief [Norman] Yakeleya fully support Smith’s Landing’s efforts to raise concerns over this project and its potential impacts,” Ram wrote.
The announcement came a day after Yakeleya had warned Teck’s project could become “our Wet’suwet’en” in the Northwest Territories.
Referring to high-profile protests against the Coastal GasLink pipeline – intended to be built through Wet’suwet’en territory in BC – Yakeleya said the Frontier mine could lead to a similar protest movement “if the government doesn’t listen.”
“That’s how important it is, because water is life,” said Yakeleya.
The vast project, which is awaiting federal approval or rejection, is considered likely to have a significant adverse environmental impact on wetlands, forests, and a range of animal species.
Some First Nations in the NWT and Alberta, downstream from the project’s planned location, have expressed grave concern about the implications for their land and water. They do not wish to see the project proceed.
Despite the expected environmental impact, a review panel earlier this year declared the Frontier mine to be in the public interest as it is forecast by industry to generate thousands of jobs.