Western Mining Action Network * Indigenous

Western Mining Action Network (WMAN)
Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN)
Mini-Grant Recipients
June 2012
1. Advocates for the Protection of Sacred Sites (APOSS), California: APOSS is a
community based organization, made up of Pitt River, Wintu, Yana, Shasta and other
Native Peoples who live in their traditional territories of Northern California.
APOSS received a mini-grant to organize and host the Green Energy Justice
Summit to bring together Indigenous community leaders to outline socially and
environmentally just principles and recommendations on the appropriate
development and use of “green” energy. Invited speakers and leaders will include
Indigenous Peoples who have protected their lands from or have been impacted
by so-called “green” energy development, including uranium mining and
geothermal drilling.
2. Alternatives North, Northwest Territories: Alternatives North is a social justice
coalition operating in the Northwest Territories, Canada. Within their ranks are
representatives of churches, organized labor, environmental organizations, women
and family advocates and anti-poverty groups. The organisation is entirely volunteer
based. Alternatives North is active mostly in Yellowknife, but maintains a larger email distribution list that keeps members up to date on issues and activities.
Funding from WMAN and IEN will be used to support participation in the final
public hearing of the ongoing Environmental Assessment of the Giant Mine
Remediation Plan before the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review
Board. Specifically, they will use this funding to help cover expert participation
and travel to present important research on precedent-setting issues and case
studies of perpetual water quality treatment at mine sites.
3. Amigos Bravos, New Mexico: Founded in 1988, Amigos Bravos is a statewide
organization protecting the ecological and cultural integrity of New Mexico’s rivers
and watersheds. They work to link environmental protection with social equity
principles and are respected for their innovative approaches to solving river and water
issues. Their leadership ensures that impacted communities have the technical
knowledge and organizational capacity to defend the waters that sustain their
societies and cultures.
Amigos Bravos was awarded $3,000 to defray technical expert costs for an
administrative appeal of the Standby Permit renewal for the Mt Taylor uranium
mine. The appeal process will lay the basis for a likely court case aimed at
defending the New Mexico Mining Act and public participation.
4. Barriere Lake Solidarity, Quebec : Formed in 2008, Barriere Lake Solidarity (BLS)
Montreal exists to support the Algonquins of Barriere Lake. BLS Montreal is a
volunteer collective that facilitates Barriere Lake’s access to a larger public, helping
raise public awareness about the community’s resistance to development threats to
their land and assaults on their traditional governance.
Funds from WMAN-IEN will be used to resist the unwanted presence of
Montreal-based mining company Copper One Inc. on Algonquin territory. Part of
this effort is the grassroots community engagement of youth via a multi-media
project. Other aspects of the project include a public education speaking tour and
outreach to Copper One investors to leverage internal pressure at the
corporation’s annual meeting.
5. Castle Mountain Coalition (CMC), Alaska: CMC was founded in 2006 in response
to the threat of large-scale coal development in the Matanuska Valley. Their mission
is to protect the ecological integrity, economic sustainability, and quality of life
within the Matanuska River watershed.
Funding will be used for planning a series of presentations and workshops on
mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining in Appalachia, the history of resistance
to MTR, and the role of non-violent direct action in the movement to abolish
MTR. The goal is to learn as much as possible from the communities most
impacted by surface mining of coal, and to use that knowledge in the struggle to
prevent those impacts from happening to communities in Alaska.
6. Children of the Taku, Alaska: Children of the Taku is an indigenous-led
organization founded in May 2012. Their mission is to protect the Taku from harmful
effects of industrial development, and specifically to halt the proposed Tulsequah
Chief mine access road. They are based in Whitehorse, Yukon.
WMAN-IEN funds would largely be used to conduct public and media outreach
designed to educate fellow Taku River Tlingit First Nation (TRTFN) members,
and the public, about the negative effects of the road, with the goal of encouraging
the TRTFN to oppose the road and mine project. The group will also conduct an
outreach campaign targeting potential investors, educating them on the growing
opposition to the road and the risks and uncertainties of the Tulsequah Chief
7. Clearfork Community Institute (CCI), Tennessee: CCI is an organization led by
low-income women of the Tennessee coalfields. Founded in 1997, CCI built its
credibility by tapping into the spirit of mountain women and their allies who have
sought to provide a meaningful education for their children and communities. In 1997
they obtained two acres that were formerly home to the Blue Diamond Coal camp and
turned it into the Clearfork Community Institute. Now the Institute is a functioning
place-based community development education center.
CCI will use funding to focus on educating young adult interns about the legacy
of rural Appalachia’s coalfields’ economy and how to build a healthier future.
They will organize a summer young adult leadership program to better understand
sense of place through the lens of the area’s historic economy (based on mining)
and future opportunities.
8. Coloradoans Against Resource Destruction (CARD), Colorado: CARD was
founded in early 2007 to oppose a proposal to mine uranium in northern Colorado.
CARD was successful in organizing resistance to the mine, educating citizens
resulting in the passage of legislation slowing uranium mining, and eventually
suspending local operations of the mine. They continue to work with a number of
other organizations, both as a coalition member within Colorado and by providing
support for groups fighting other proposed uranium projects in the northern Great
Plains region.
With funding from WMAN-IEN, CARD will gather six case studies for
successful anti-mining efforts in the United States and Canada, and identify the
factors that made those efforts successful. These case studies will then be
available to WMAN, IEN, and other network members, providing examples and
concrete strategies for success.
9. Couchiching First Nation, Ontario: The Couchiching First Nation is a member of
the Treaty #3 Anishinaabe people of the Rainy River region in Ontario. Currently
there are three mines in the Couchiching territory.
The Couchiching will use funds to host a day-long workshop on the
environmental impacts of mining. This educational event will provide the
community with better information to make informed decisions about mining in
the region. The event will bring together governmental policy and technical
expertise, and feature environmentalist and tribal elder discussions.
10. Defenders of the Black Hills, South Dakota: Defenders was founded in August,
2002 by Indigenous people and non-indigenous small environmental organizations.
Their mission is to protect, preserve, and restore the environment of the 1868 Fort
Laramie Treaty Territory which includes all of western South Dakota, and parts of
Montana, North Dakota, Wyoming, and Nebraska. Their projects include sacred sites
protection, stopping mining impacts, and protection of water.
The project proposed for this grant is to fund a quarterly meeting concerned with
cleaning up more than 3,000 abandoned uranium mines, and stopping a new gold
mine from being built in the sacred Black Hills. This grant will help do a mass
mailing, purchase copy materials, and provide for other meeting expenses.
11. Friends of Blair Mountain, West Virginia: The Friends of Blair Mountain (FOBM)
was formed in 2010 and is committed to saving Blair Mountain in Logan County,
West Virginia from mountaintop removal coal mining. They commemorate and raise
awareness of the historic Blair Mountain battlefield, with the ultimate goal of
establishing it as a National Monument. [The 1921 Battle of Blair Mountain was the
largest civil uprising on American soil since the U.S. Civil War. It was a spontaneous
outpouring of rage and grief over conditions in the southern coalfields. Over the
course of the disruption, between 10,000 and 15,000 coal miners assembled and
armed themselves for a march over mountainous terrain to rescue illegally imprisoned
miners in Mingo County.] Blair Mountain was nominated for the National Register of
Historic Places in the late 1990’s and for a time was granted that designation. Efforts
by the coal companies resulted in it being removed from the National Register. This
battle is now being fought in the courts in a very long drawn out fashion. In the
meantime, surface mining has continued.
Friends of Blair Mountain is requested funds from WMAN/IEN for the design,
printing and postage costs for the first Blair Mountain Journal, which will be
published twice each year. The project also includes a membership drive to
increase fundraising efforts and outreach to libraries all over West Virginia and
Appalachia to become subscribers to the Journal.
12. Great Lakes Caucus, Michigan: The WMAN Great Lakes Caucus is a collaboration
among mining activist organizations in the Great Lakes basin (on both sides of the
international border).
The Great Lakes Caucus is proposing to convene a mining activists’ meeting in
Marquette, Michigan to contribute to the development of a common
understanding of mining activities and impacts around the Great Lakes. The
objectives of the Great Lakes Caucus meeting are to provide an opportunity for
mining activists to unite and (1) share information resources, (2) build
capacity/skills, and (3) identify effective communication tools and strategies for
ongoing collaboration.
13. International Indian Treaty Alliance, Alaska: The International Indian Treaty
Council (IITC) is an organization of Indigenous Peoples working for human rights,
environmental justice and self-determination for Indigenous Peoples and the
recognition and protection of their rights, treaties, traditional cultures, and sacred
This project will build on the partnership between the IITC, Chickaloon Village
Tribal Citizens and Youth, Chickaloon Village Traditional Council, community
members, and environmental groups in the local area defending against coal
issues. This project goal is to host a media training to educate and share the
impacts of coal mining in the local area through the production and distribution of
a community led Public Service Announcement (PSA) Campaign. The training is
scheduled for August 2012.
14. Native Movement, Arizona: Native Movement is a national non-profit organization
that supports culturally based leadership development and sustainability programs in
the Southwest region of the United States and Alaska. The overarching mission “is to
help motivate young leaders toward balanced relations with each other, and Mother
Native Movement sought funding for The Elders Video Recording Project.
WMAN-IEN funds will be used to interview and record elders speaking about the
legacy of uranium mining on indigenous lands in the US Southwest. The group
seeks to use technology as a tool to responsibly rebuild cultural resiliency to
ensure a sustainable and healthy global bio-cultural diversity. The project
includes: producing a website, a DVD series, and building a rapport between age
15. Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (SEACC), Alaska: Since 1970, SEACC
has worked throughout Southeast Alaska to permanently protect biologically
productive watersheds and wild areas important to communities, while fostering the
development of sustainable communities.
This project aims to support intern staffing assistance for Alaskans for
Responsible Mining, a coalition of communities, native organizations and
conservation groups that has been working in Alaska for over 15 years to organize
and educate the public on mining issues across Alaska. SEACC is providing
office space and resources for a 6-month intern but sought WMAN-IEN funding
to assist with costs.
16. Sept-Iles Sans Uranium (SISUR), Quebec: SISUR is a citizen-based group formed
in 2008 to fight companies who sought to open uranium mines in the St-Laurent north
shore and Sept-Îles areas of Québec. The group quickly grew to more than 5,000 and
the need for technical knowledge about uranium mining became evident. Their
mission is to raise awareness of the effects of mining through outreach to the public
and distribution of sound scientific data from around the world.
Funding from WMAN-IEN will be used for outreach and education with Cree
Nation members on the effects of uranium mining. Training will culminate in a
presentation to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.
17. Tsilhqot’in First Nation, British Columbia: The Tsilhqot'in National Government
(TNG) was established in 1989 to meet the needs and represent six Tsilhqot'in First
Nations communities in their effort to re-establish a strong political government
structure. The TNG is fighting the proposed “Prosperity Mine”.
TNG seeks to protect Teztan Biny and its surrounding environment (Yanah Biny
& Nabas) from proposed mining. Funding will be used to plan a gathering from
August 23-26, 2012 to discuss issues associated with the mine and develop
community responses.
18. Tyonek Native Village, Alaska: The peoples of Tyonek have thrived off the marine
environment, rivers, and lands while residing along the beaches of the Cook Inlet for
thousands of years. The Tyonek native peoples, referred to as the Tubughna “Beach
People”, are located 35 air miles from Anchorage across the Cook Inlet in the village
of Tyonek. The village relies on a subsistence lifestyle that is centuries old, and wild,
healthy salmon are a vital component of Tyonek’s traditional way of life.
Tyonek Native Village received WMAN-IEN funding in 2011 to build a triballydriven campaign to stop the Chuitna Coal Mine and protect the Chuitna River in
the Cook Inlet watershed. The project has now received a 2012 grant for the
second annual Big Lake Culture Camp with the focus on bringing together native
youth from throughout the Cook Inlet to celebrate salmon and learn about
potential negative impacts from coal development on water quality, climate
change, salmon health and habitat, and on human health.
19. Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice (WNPJ), Wisconsin: WNPJ was formed
in 1991 with a mission to facilitate activities, cooperation and communication among
Wisconsin organizations and individuals working toward the creation of a sustainable
world, free from violence and injustice. WNPJ seeks to build coalitions, engage the
public, and wage campaigns through their Anti-militarism, Immigrant Rights and
Environment Work Groups.
With funding, WNPJ will continue opposition to a proposed iron mine in northern
Wisconsin, to educate people about the dangers of iron, metallic sulfide and fracsand mining in Wisconsin. They will achieve this through a campaign to educate
the public about the range and extent of mining activities and proposals in
Wisconsin; to develop and promote an informed critique of iron, metallic sulfide
and frac sand mining, via educational materials, presentations and media
outreach; and to build broad-based grassroots pressure to strengthen mining
protections and pass legislation addressing the public health and environmental
impacts of frac sand mining.
20. Yellow Bird, Montana: Yellow Bird is an indigenous, grass roots organization,
founded in 2006, on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation of Montana. Their mission is
to provide programming to preserve traditional life-ways and language, to protect
mother earth , and to create cultural understanding and integrity. Yellow Bird is
dedicated to providing native cultural programming that empowers youth, families
and communities to overcome adversities and strive for a better future.
Yellow Bird will utilize funding to sponsor a large public gathering on the
Northern Cheyenne Reservation that will inform the community and Northern
Cheyenne people about coal and coal development experienced by other tribes.
The gathering will be held on August 12th, 2012, before a September 2012 tribal
vote on coal development. Grant funds will involve travel costs for
speakers/presenters (travel, lodging, etc.), marketing/advertising, supplies, and
other meeting expenses.
21. Protect Our Manoomin, Minnesota: Protect Our Manoomin (POM) is an
indigenous, non-profit, grassroots organization composed of individuals from
Minnesota Anishinaabe communities. Founded in 2011, their mission is to educate
and inform tribal and non-tribal people of sulfide mining and its endangerment to
wild rice and the environment.
POM will utilize funding to host a tribal mining forum, including speakers on
cultural issues, legal issues (ceded lands), scientific issues (effects of sulfates on
Manoomin), and economic issues in regard to sulfide mining.