As leading figures in their communities and as mothers, their priority is to protect their homes, communities and traditional lands and waters from the type of mining practices that have left BC riddled with close to 2,000 abandoned mines – two thirds of which are still spewing pollutants. They came together to share their stories and to work for change. Some have worked for or had family members work for mining companies and have learned first -hand how the promise of riches can quickly turn into destroyed lands and limited low-paying jobs for those whose people have, for millennia, depended on those lands.
Members are aware of the social trauma that mining towns can create for First Nations people of both genders and all ages, but particularly for women and children. To quote FNWARM member and mother-of-three Anne Marie Sam: “I question how my young daughters will be impacted by growing up in a mining town.”
As outspoken proponents for responsible mining and opponents of efforts to impose destructive mining on their lands, they have had to deal with personal attacks from those outside their communities who believe mining projects are the answer to economic prosperity. Even their children have been targeted. Yet they fight on. They have come together to share their stories and to work for change.
In December 2010, FNWARM received the Canadian Boreal Award for its work in promoting responsible mining, and was cited for its leading role in ensuring that the federal government rejected the proposed Prosperity Mine Project that would have destroy Teztan Biny (Fish Lake) and its environs. The project was a poster child for all that is wrong with the mining system in BC and it is hoped that its rejection will help in the effort to reform that system