It took less than an hour for a group of indigenous women to stake a claim on a Cranbrook property owned by Minster Bill Bennett. First Nations Women Advocating Responsible Mining filed an application with the province to become a free miner and then used the ministry’s online registry to gain the right to explore a chunk of land that includes Bennett’s Key City home.
Coordinator Jacinda Mack says they did this to show how easy it is to claim resources on land without the owner’s knowledge or permission. She explains they’re trying to highlight the issue of rights entitlement and contradictions in ongoing treaty negotiations with the Province. Mack says they did reach out to Ktunaxa Nation prior to making the claim.
She adds their group doesn’t plan to be digging up Bennett’s front yard tomorrow but they are exploring their options. The group made the announce last week to coincide with the Association for Mineral Exploration B.C.’s Roundup Week conference in Vancouver. They have battled the B.C. government over its mining policies for many years and says the ease with which mining companies can claim rights in First Nations’ territories has generated decades of conflict.