[caption id="attachment_1003726476" align="aligncenter" width="430"] Indigenous people in Saskatchewan support the Star-Orion South diamond project. (Image: Star Diamond Corp.)
SASKATCHEWAN – The Coalition of Indigenous Peoples of Saskatchewan
(CIPS) has proposed a protocol of understanding and co-operation covering the Star-Orion South diamond project.
The property is located 60 km east of Prince Albert and is 100% owned by Star Diamond Corp
. It is in the advanced stage of exploration. The potential mine is located on land used by both the Metis and First Nations for traditional harvesting and as sacred sites.
CIPS is promoting the training and recruitment of Indigenous youth into trades, technical and skilled occupations, as well as labourers, miners, truck drives, and equipment operators.
CIPS president John Hanikenne hopes his organization can establish a positive and evolving relations Star Diamond specifically for the Star-Orion South project.
The Coalition estimates that more than 50% of Indigenous communities in the province are located less than 40 km from an extractive site. Rather than allow adverse environmental, health and socio-economic impacts to occur, CIPS wants to work with socially responsible and ethical mining companies for the benefit of all.
Readers can reach Hanikenne at 305-922-0090 or [email protected].
Initially the Chiefs of the three First Nations (i.e., the James Smith Cree Nation, Peter Chapman First Nation and the Chakastaypasin First Nation) were puzzled by this article. No one has heard of CIPS, nor its leader, and neither have reached out to our First Nations – the ones directly impacted by this potential project. Then we asked Rio Tinto, who is conducting its own exploration program, and the only ones in the forest doing anything, and they have assured us they have no agreement with CIPS nor Mr. Hanikenne. It sounded as though they never heard of either.
CIPS claims that 50% of Indigenous communities in Saskatchewan are located within 40 kms of the site. … our leaders fell out of their chairs, laughing at the news of this astonishing migration…100,000 Indigenous people suddenly picked up stakes and relocated to the Fort a la Corne forest? Berry season is over, it’s freakin’ January! Someone should alert Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Environment, and maybe even the federal Department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, of this … invasion, relocation, vacationing … what words do we use to identify this alleged phenomenon?
Because the Chiefs are busy with serious issues at home and working on serious economic opportunities for our people elsewhere they have fobbed this annoyance to me, Winston McLean. We have no time for CIPS, nor Shore Gold/Star Diamonds or whatever they choose to call themselves in the future to evade their reputation. Neither have shown respect for the people directly impacted by this proposed project.
We do have much higher hopes for the working relationship that we are developing with Rio Tinto. Time will tell if there will ever be a diamond mine in our traditional territory. As the Chiefs have stated, there will be no mine until our interests have been satisfied.
We wish Mr. Hanikenne the best in his legitimate endeavours.