March 4, 2015
A four-year long battle against the threat of burying millions of highly radioactive nuclear fuel rods in Saskatchewan is over, thanks to thousands of people with the courage and wisdom to take a stand.
On March 3rd, Creighton was the last of three northern communities to be dropped by the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) from site selection process for a deep geological repository. Pinehouse and English River First Nations were eliminated in late 2013.
“I am happy and thankful this is over. I can forget and forgive all the mean and cruel things said and done,” stated Creighton resident, Nadine Smart. “I have a sense of peace and relief, yet I’m sorry that nine (Ontario) communities are still fighting this. Nuclear waste should not be buried anywhere; it has to be kept above ground where it can be monitored, forever. This whole process is full of deception, money and bribes.”
Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation, within whose traditional territory the proposed deep repository would have been located, issued a Band Council Resolution in May of 2014 against nuclear waste and any promotion of its storage and transportation. PBCN maintained that jobs forecasted by NWMO were not worth the risk of radiating the water and land for future generations. Over 60% of the eligible voting population in Pinehouse and English River had also signed a petition against nuclear waste.
The Committee for Future Generations formed in May 2011 after Max Morin of Beauval was invited to an Elders gathering near Pinehouse, where he discovered NWMO representatives promoting nuclear waste storage as the solution to youth suicide. Ten Elders immediately rose and walked out. It was the first time Morin had ever seen a Sacred Circle broken. “People need to keep educating themselves on the hazards of the nuclear fuel chain and on the way the industry deceives the public for its own gain. We cannot take for granted that corporations are working for our best interest. Grassroots is powerful. We need to push our leaders to invest in energies and economies that are sustainable, like solar, wind and geothermal. We have the knowledge and the means to do it.”
Eliminating Saskatchewan from nuclear waste storage also cancels any chance of reprocessing plutonium taking place in the province. “Who would have thought a few little Indians would have the power to knock down a giant?” reflected CFFG founding member, Fred Pederson from Pinehouse, another community whose administration was paid to engage with NWMO in site selection process. “This is what happens when people stick together and fight for what they believe in, against terrorism of our land.” “No industrial corporation or government has the right to manipulate the true spirit of Aboriginal stewardship,” emphasized CFFG member Marius Paul of English River First Nation. “The process that NWMO is following to secure a burial site for the most lethal waste product on earth is still the same systematic oppression that Aboriginal peoples have faced since the beginning of colonialism.”