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Caribou Legs visits rivers threatened by Ruddock Creek mine and hydro dams

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Photo by Brad Caribou Legs Firth

Over 400 kilometres into his run to Ottawa, Caribou Legs spent the last few days in Chase, B.C. In a video posted on his Facebook page, Caribou Legs crosses the bridge where the Shuswap Lake forms into the South Thompson River and comments on the "beautiful water, a lot of recreation" and how the "town thrives around this water." In a Facebook posting, he talks about an elders dinner and Rattle making class at Adams Lake Resource centre he attended last week. He said, "Awesome groups! I heard a story about the "water people" of the Shuswap nation in the old days. Last week, there was a unity meeting of the 17 bands in Alkali Lake where the people did a water ceremony; combining waters from 3 rivers the Columbia River, the Thompson River, and the Fraser River, symbolizing a coming together against BC Hydro's wish for building more dams in BC. But the people have spoken against it!"

Just after 8 p.m. last Tuesday evening and 52 kilometers later, Caribou Legs posted, "Hello from Salmon Arm!"

Chase, Salmon Arm and the local waterways are also threatened by the proposed Ruddock Creek mine.

Ruddock Creek Mine is a zinc-lead mine located between the headwaters of Ruddock Creek and Oliver Creek in the Monashee Mountains in southeastern B.C. It is also roughly 155 kilometres or a two-hour drive northeast of Kamloops.

Imperial Metals -- responsible for the Mount Polley spill -- is one of the project partners.

According to Indigenous Rights: Mining in Secwepemculecw, "This proposed project is located in unceded, un-surrendered Secwepemc Territory and home to  the world's largest Sockeye Salmon Run. Rudduck Creek flows into Lake Revelstoke and Oliver Creek flows into upper Adams River and Adams Lake. Everyone downstream from the mine site, including the Thompson and Fraser Rivers and all the way to the Pacific Ocean."

Ruddock Creek, Oliver Creek and Adams River are part of the 99 per cent of unprotected lakes and rivers under the Navigable Waters Protection Act.

As Council of Canadians political director Brent Patterson has noted, Secwepemc land defenders are opposed to the mine and are concerned about the mine contaminating the headwaters of the Adams, Columbia and Thompson rivers. CBC has reported, "The proposed project is located within or near the traditional territory of the Simpcw First Nation, the Adams Lake band, the Little Shuswap band and the Neskonlith band."

The Neskonlith Indian Band issued an eviction notice to Imperial Metals urging the company to stop development in August 2014.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency website states, "On July 15, 2014, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency commenced an environmental assessment and the Minister of the Environment approved the substitution of the federal environmental assessment process by that of the Government of British Columbia for this project." To read about the B.C. government's environmental assessment process, click here

Follow ultra-marathoner Caribou Legs on his run to Ottawa to draw attention to threats to our local lakes and rivers and to call for federal protection. Learn how you can #pledge2protect our lakes and rivers!

Photo by Brad Caribou Legs Firth

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