The Katzie First Nation issued the following statement on April 1:
Katzie calls for an immediate halt to the mining development proposal at our creation site, Sheridan Hill. As a nation, we are not willing to let our rights be further extinguished and are prepared to assert these rights. We must ensure that our traditional territory’s cultural and ecological sites are protected for future generations of the Katzie people, as well as for our friends and neighbours who reside here. We stand united with them as our partners in protest of this development. We urge others to join us to protect the natural environment and valuable food sources, not just for Katzie but for all of us.
For over 7300 years, the Katzie people have lived in the area surrounding Pitt Meadows, including Sheridan Hill. Our territory includes the land from the Pitt and Alouette watersheds down to the land on both sides of the Fraser River in Pitt Meadows, Langley and Surrey (Barnston Island). Our rights, in agreement with neighbouring First Nations, include all of the natural resources from the land and water in our territory.
Sheridan Hill is not just any part of our traditional territory. It is the heart of our land and is considered sacred as it is the primary site of our creation story. It is OUR Genesis site. Swaneset and his people, from whom the Katzie descend, were created at Sheridan Hill – they were the original and only human inhabitants of the land. Katzie’s right and title to Sheridan Hill have already been damaged through the existing mining operation on the north side of the hill. That mining operation commenced years ago without our consent, and we will not allow our rights to continue to be ignored on new sites. Given that we have not been consulted or accommodated, we feel that it is important to make this public declaration: We do not consent to the continued destruction of Sheridan Hill and the site of our creation story. Further destruction to this cultural site is like erasing our beginning, which further extinguishes our sense of identity and sense of place. We can’t allow that to happen.
Proper consultation in good faith does not include leaving voicemail messages or sending an email with information. It also does not exclude archaeological studies of important aboriginal land. We expect proper consultation and accommodation with Katzie First Nation for all developments that will have an effect on our traditional territory. Any and all permits issued for new mining at Sheridan Hill without proper consultation and accommodation of Katzie First Nation will meet with our resilient and steadfast opposition. It is our right, and it is government’s legal duty to ensure our rights are adhered to.