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Mining Disputes and Community Politics

The Walrus, self-described as Canada’s general-interest magazine with an international outlook, has published a lengthy article on the development and mining disputes in the Tahltan communities at Telegraph Creek and Iskut Village, British Columbia (no on-line version, but see here). Written by Monte Paulson, the article is rich and offers a detailed accounting of a very complicated political situation in which Tahltans at Telegraph Creek and Iskut have been at odds with their elected leaders. (Paulson has previously chronicled the disputes in northwestern British Columbia for The Tyee.ca.)

As I have blogged before, this situation is fascinating because the often-glossed differences and groups within aboriginal communities are clearly visible. In this story, some people favour development; others don’t. The provincial government believes it must talk and negotiate with sanctioned representatives; yet, the sanctioning process of local elections is at odds with older or traditional forms of leadership in these situations. Paulson has had access to players on all sides of the conflict and offers extensive quotations and first-hand accounting going back to the occupation of the Telegraph Creek Band Office in January, 2005.

For those of you with an interest in the resource politics that consume so many aboriginal communities and their relationships with all levels of government in Canada, I’d encourage you to track down a copy of The Walrus (December-January 2006).

(In addition to the post mentioned above, I blogged about this story briefly here.)

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  1. […] It’s a different take on the drilling debate … one that features two groups that are both concerned about decisions made in Washington but for different reasons. And it is mindful of the fact that native people are not uniformly against drilling. Just as opinions about resource development differ within aboriginal communities, opinions differ between communities too. […]