The Grand Chief of the Grand Council of the Crees says a uranium mining company is trying to circumvent his people's treaty rights.
Listen (in Cree only:)Grand Chief Matthew Cooncome describes the fight against Strateco Resources
Strateco Resources launched a court action last week to try to force the Quebec government to make a decision about the Matoush uranium exploration project in the Otish Mountains.
The Matoush project is located about 210 kilometres northeast of Mistissini, Que.
The mining company says it has been waiting for a decision from the ministry since August 2011.
Strateco is also asking the court to void a condition created by the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement that the company demonstrate the project has the support of the Grand Council of the Crees.
Comex, the provincial environmental review board for northern Quebec, has declared that no mining company can start work until the people that will be most affected agree.
Strateco Resources has said the Crees shouldn't have the power to veto the exploration project.
The Crees are opposed to the Matoush uranium project and have called for a moratorium against all uranium development in Cree territory.
"We've always supported environmentally and socially sustainable and equitable development in our territory," said Grand chief Matthew Coon Come.
"But at the same time, the social acceptability of a proposed development project has long been recognized by Quebec and was reaffirmed by the Paix des Braves Agreement of 2002, so there is a fundamental principle here that is reflected in the Comex recommendation concerning the Matoush project. So if Strateco is trying to circumvent that, then that will affect our treaty rights."
Coon Come also said the Grand Council will watch the case closely and if need be, they will be ready to go to court.