The chief of the Ross River Dena Council says he is not against mining, but says the industry must provide more benefit to First Nations.
Dena Council Chief Brian Ladue recently met with Yukon’s Chamber of Mines.
“We would support responsible mining, you know, present-day mining where things are done properly. (Where the) First Nation is involved up front and we can also share in the benefits more so than we have in the past,” he said.
Yukon’s territorial government and the Ross River Dena Council have long disagreed about mining in disputed land .
“Our worry is that a piece of our traditional territory can be exploited and this piece can be really important to our members. We have elders, to this day they’re on the land every other day hunting and trapping and harvesting and this is a lifestyle of our people," Ladue said.
The Supreme Court of Canada recently refused to hear an appeal from the Yukon territorial government.
This obligates the government to consult with the First Nation before mineral claims are recorded.
On consultation, Ladue said “we need to have a big say right up front otherwise we don’t know what’s going on in our territory. As it stood before the rule, people could come into our territory, exploit an area and we’d have no idea what’s going on.”
The Yukon Government has until December to implement a new system for consulting with the Dena Council.