Impacted communities from all over the world and within Canada came to this conference to hear speakers from Honduras, Guatemala, Carrier Sekani First Nation, Papua New Guinea, El Salvador, Ardoch Algonquin, Northern Ontario, Fort Chipewan, Mexico and more! This event was emceed by Clayton Thomas Muller of the Indigenous Environmental Network, featured leaders in movements against Canadian mining companies both within and outside of Canada, and provided space for growing our own movements in alliance with communities impacted by this industry. This year MISN expanded the conference into a three-day event, providing more space for participants to meet each other, form alliances, and plan actions to foster a movement in solidarity with impacted communities.
Particular themes that were discussed this year included:
- Tar Sands Resistance
- Mining in Occupied Territories
- Art, Media and Resistance
- Resisting Neoliberalism
- Mining and the Environment
Some of the workshops and discussions included:
- Bill C-300, with Amnesty International
- GoldCorp and Human Rights, with Javier de Leon and Carlos Amador
- Ardoch Algonquin Role-playing Game, with Mirielle Lapointe and Paula Sherman (Ardoch Algonquin First Nation co-Chief)
- Mining in the Philippines, with Rick Esguerra and Allan Lissner
- Inco & Nickel Mining, with Dianne Wiggins, Karen Spring and Steven Schnoor
- The Cerro Blanco Mine: Guatemala and El Salvador, with Nelly Rivera deSilva, Feliciano Orellana and Francois Guindon
- Mining in Occupied Territories: Baluchistan & Tibet, with Tenzin Lobsang Wangkhang
- Art, Media & Resistance, with photo-journalist Allan Lissner
- Mining in Mexico, with Enrique Rivera (FAO, Mexico)
- Tar Sands Game, with Dave Vasey (Rainforest Action Network)
- Community Consultation with community organizer Ulises Garcia
- Tar Sand at Home, with Mike Mercredi (Athabasca Chipewyan First Nations), Clayton Thomas Muller (Mathias Colomb Cree Nation [Pukatawagan]), Peter Erickson (Nak’azdi [Carrier Sekani])
- Mining in Congo, with Bodia Macharia and Patrick Mbeko (Friends of the Congo, Toronto and Montreal)
- Mining, Water and the Environment, with Peter Erickson
- Taking Action, with Valerie Croft (Amnesty International), Megan Kinch (Community Solidarity Response Toronto) and Ulises Garcia
- Corruption and Impunity: Barrick Gold in Papua New Guinea, with Jethro Tulin, Jefferey Simon (Akali Tange Association, Papua New Guinea), and Mark Ekepa (Chairman of Porgera Landowners Association)
- Resisting Gold Mining and Neoliberalism in Chile: An Indigenous Perspective, with Jamie Nibaldo Ardiles and Daniela Guzman
- Tar Sands & Global South, with Macdonald Stainsby and Susana Derranger
- 20 Years after Oka, with Clifton Nicholas, Native Youth Movement
- Ring of Fire, with Ramsey Hart (Mining Watch) and Elders from Attawaspiskat
Some facilitator bios include:
CLAYTON THOMAS MULLER: Is currently the Indigenous Environmental Network Tar Sands coordinator. He is an activist working for indigenous self-determination and environmental justice. For over 10 years he has worked across Canada – at the front lines, to stop industrial society’s assault on Indigenous Peoples lands.
CARLOS AMADOR: Carlos is a teacher and community leader in El Porvenir, 15 kilometers from Goldcorp’s open-pit, cyanide-leaching gold mine – the “San Martin” mine. Since 2000, Carlos has been educating and organizing local communities in the Siria Valley, and working to resist and demand justice for the health and environmental harms and human rights violations caused by Goldcorp’s mine.
CLIFTON ARIHWAKEHTE NICHOLAS: is a Mohawk from Kanehsatake (Oka) is a community activist and was a active participant in the 1990 Oka Crisis. Clifton is active with the traditionalist of the Mohawk Nation and is currently working against the proposed NIOCAN mining project on Kanehsatake’s territory.
ZAFAR BALOCH: a representative of the international network of the Baloch Human Rights Council (BHRC). Baloch Human Rights Council was formed to secure human rights, land rights of indigenous Baluch populace. They work to ensure Baluch control over natural resources of Baluchistan, recognition of Baluch culture and heritage, freedom of thought and religion and banning of nuclear weapons in Baluchistan.
JAVIER de LEON: Javier is a Mayan Mam community leader from the village of Maquivil, municipality of San Miguel Ixtahuacan, department of San Marcos. From his small home, he looks across at Goldcorp’s ever expanding open-pit, cyanide-leaching gold mine – the “Marlin” mine. Since 2004, Javier has been educating and organizing Mayan Mam communities and working to resist and demand justice for the health and environmental harms and human rights violations caused by Goldcorp’s mine.
SUSANA DERANGER: is a member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation. She is the co- founder of a new group called Indigenous Women Without Borders and has been an activist and involved in First Nation and human rights a great part of her life. Susana was in Copenhagen and attended the Peoples Summit on Climate Change and Respect for Mother Earth in Cochabamba Bolivia. She also works on community development projects in the Peruvian Amazon and in other countries in Latin America.Susana lives in Regina, Saskatchewan and is a mother of four children and a grandmother of three beautiful grandchildren.
ULISES GARCIA: Organized the local referendum against Manhattan Resources which managed to expel a powerful global mining company. He is the founder of a grassroots organization called Tropico Seco, which focuses on the promotion of peaceful resistance and the holding of community and municipal referendums in Latin America concerning development.
ENRIQUE RIVERA SIERRA: Rivera is a lawyer and activist working with FAO (Frente Amplio Opositor), a broad environmental and community coalition working to defend Cerro de San Pedro, including historically and culturally significant sites, from contamination and destruction by Canadian company New Gold. Rivera Sierra is currently in Canada claiming political asylum after being allegedly harassed and threatened by mining employees.
FELICIANO ORELLANA: is a representative of the Commission for Justice and Peace of the Franciscan Family, in the Department of Jutiapa in eastern Guatemala. Employed by Goldcorp subsidiary Entre Mares in 1998 as one of the first employee, he later got hired in 2008 and suffered an almost Fatal accident on the job, for which he received no compensation. Now Feliciano is an active leader in his community and wants to share his experience on Goldcorp Human Rights Violations and the communities’ opposition to the Cerro Blanco Mine, Goldcorp’s second large mine in Guatemala.
MALCOM ROGGE: is a filmmaker and writer based in Toronto. His debut feature documentary film, Under Rich Earth had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and has received widespread critical acclaim. Rogge has also worked for human rights and environmental organizations in Canada and Ecuador, and he is on the editorial board of a national magazine devoted to politics and social justice.
NATIVE YOUTH MOVEMENT is the Native Peoples Liberation Movement, fighting for People, Land, and way of Life.The Native Youth Movement is in the midst of becoming a Grand Council of Young and Old (Veteran/Battle Tested) Warriorz alike. A Warriorz Society with the Young Warriorz serving as the Physical protectors, and the O.G.s (Original Guerrillas) as the Advisor Warriorz, giving direction through lessons, age old teachings, previous battles, and from the Spirits and Ancestors.
JETHRO TULIN: Jethro has been organizing within and outside the Barrick’s Porgera mine since its inception (then owned by Placer Dome. In 1989, he registered Porgera’s first mine workers union and became its first secretary.Years later, Tulin returned to Porgera to find the situation worse and thus founded the Akali Tange Association (ATA), a human rights organization documenting abuses at the Porgera mine in Papa New Guinea, a mine owned by Toronto’s Barrick Gold.