February 21st, 2011
The Mohawk Councils of Kahnawà:ke, Tyendinaga and Akwesasne issued a joint statement Feb. 9 rejecting the planned shipment of nuclear waste through the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway system.
They are protesting the Feb. 4 decision of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) to give Bruce Power one full year to get 16 containers filled with radioactive waste to Sweden.
Bruce Power will take the containers from Lake Huron, down the St. Clair River through Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, and then through the St. Lawrence Seaway to the Atlantic.
“The St. Lawrence River provides drinking water to some 40 million people,” says Kahnawà:ke Grand Chief Michael Ahrihron Delisle, Jr. “But for us, it’s much more than that. If there is an accident, there is no place for us to go. This is our home. We cannot and will not tolerate the passage of nuclear waste through our Territory.”
The Mohawk people have been living in the area of the St. Lawrence for at least 9,000 years – and they’re still there today.
“It is disturbing that the CNSC has placed the interest of Bruce Power before the concerns shared by our Mohawk brothers and sisters,” says Akwesasne Grand Chief Mike Kanentakeron Mitchell. “We were never consulted even though the shipment is planned to pass through our territorial waters.”
“The Supreme Court has stipulated the requirement for consultation and accommodation with First Nations,” states Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee. “First Nations have to be accommodated on activities that could have an impact on our traditional territories. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples says handling of hazardous materials in our territories requires our free, prior, and informed consent.”