Challenging permit
LKFN concerned drilling will affect hunting and trapping

Derek Neary
Northern News Services

Fort Simpson (Jan 21/00) - The Liidlii Kue First Nation is seeking a judicial review from the Federal Court of Canada in hopes of preventing mining exploration from proceeding near Fort Simpson as permitted by DIAND.

LKFN Chief Rita Cli said she and her council are concerned that a proposal by an individual from Ontario to conduct some test drilling for minerals will have an adverse affect on traditional hunting and trapping land. The area in question is located on the far side of the Liard River near the ice crossing.

"They stake right in the middle of their (the Mouse family's) trail. That's the kind of stuff that's happening," Cli said. "DIAND knows whose traditional lands it is. They should have had the decency to go to our office and the DCFN and say 'We're going to go in. Could you please call the traditional users? Let's have a meeting with them. Which area can we go in?'

"That's the kind of stuff we want to see, where we manage our land ... gone are the days where people just come in with bulldozers and just make cutlines," she said.

Floyd Adlem, director of operations for DIAND, said he couldn't discuss whether the consultation process was adequate in light of the judicial review. However, he did say there were no stipulations attached to the land-use permit because no specific concerns were presented by the LKFN. He noted that land-use permits in the NWT can be issued to practically any Canadian citizen who applies for one.

According to Cli, in a letter to the LKFN, Bob Overvold, the regional director general for DIAND, said the Canadian mining regulations required DIAND to issue the permit. The permit was issued on Dec. 9, 1999.

She said the band could choose to file a lawsuit as a last resort. That would likely take years to resolve, she acknowledged. She added that the LKFN is not opposed to development, but they are determined to do it responsibly with input from the elders who have lived on the land for many years.