NationTalk: UASHAT MAK MANI-UTENAM, QC – Innu Takuaikan Uashat mak Mani-utenam (ITUM) – the Innu Government of the Innu First Nation of Uashat mak Mani-utenam located near Sept-Îles, Québec – is frustrated and disappointed by the colonialist behavior of mining exploration company Murchison Minerals Ltd. The company refuses to respect the fact that the Innu of Uashat mak Mani-utenam wish to protect certain sensitive parts of their territory (their Nitassinan) from industrial development. ITUM reiterates its demand that Murchison Minerals completely abandon its “HPM” exploration project and all associated mining claims.
Despite numerous requests from ITUM to halt its exploration work, Murchison Minerals announced in a press release on August 16 that the company intends to carry out further nickel exploration at its HPM project.
“We have explained many times to Murchison that our members and families actively make use of these lands, and that exploration work is incompatible with the practice of their traditional activities and with the passing on of our culture to their children and grandchildren,” said ITUM Chief Mike “Pelash” Mckenzie. “We now wish to warn Murchison shareholders and any potential investors that Murchison’s management is wasting their money and putting their investment at risk: there will never be a mine there, and the mining claims there are worthless.”
ITUM has already informed Murchison on numerous occasions that its exploration work on the Nitassinan is illegal and in flagrant violation of the rights of the Innu of Uashat mak Mani-utenam, and has also warned Murchison that the company and its subcontractors are exposing themselves to legal action, including:
- at a meeting held on June 12, 2023 between Murchison and ITUM at ITUM’s offices;
- in a letter from ITUM to Murchison on April 13, 2023; and
- in a demand letter sent by ITUM to Murchison on August 10, 2022.
“We are surprised that Murchison has not disclosed to financial markets the strong opposition of the Innu of Uashat mak Mani-utenam to their activities in connection with their HPM project, and that Murchison therefore does not possess the social license to carry out activities in connection with the HPM project,” added Chief Mike “Pelash” Mckenzie.
The Innu of Uashat mak Mani-utenam possess Aboriginal rights, including Aboriginal title, and treaty rights to and within their entire Nitassinan, including all natural resources contained therein. Any development project on their Nitassinan requires their explicit consent, in accordance with the Innu Nation of Uashat Mani-utenam Act respecting the use of its traditional territory, the Constitution Act, 1982, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
For further information: Éric Duguay, 514.377.1980, firstname.lastname@example.org