Nondalton Tribal Council Disappointed at Groundhog Project Advancement

February 3, 2015Contact: William Evanoff, President, Nondalton Tribal Council, (907) 294-2257FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Nondalton Tribal Council Disappointed at Kijik Corporation’s Advancement of Groundhog Project

Village Corporation advanced Groundhog project with no notification or regard for shareholder concerns regarding threats to subsistence way of life. NONDALTON, AK – The Nondalton Tribal Council released a statement today addressing the Kijik Corporation’s recent announcement regarding its joint venture with Alaska Earth Sciences to advance the Groundhog gold/copper project in Southwest Alaska.The Kijik Corporation is the ANCSA Village Corporation for the community of Nondalton, located on the western shore of 6 Mile Lake between Iliamna and Lake Clark. Nondalton is the closest community to the Groundhog Project and is directly adjacent to the proposed Pebble Project.Nondalton Tribal Council’s statement is as follows:"The decision made by Kijik Corporation, the Native Corporation for Nondalton, is like a slap in the face to the Nondalton Tribal Council and majority of the people of Nondalton, have all publicly voiced our views about mining: We don’t want mining in our area. We don’t want harm to come to our land and water in any way, shape or form. This is the foundation to our way of life and culture.Groundhog Mountain is one of the most important sites for our area. It is our main hunting grounds for moose and caribou. We consider this area part of our sacred grounds. […] The Kijik Corporation Board of Directors has participated in community meetings on how we can work together for the region. They acknowledged that our land, our culture, and our resources are our most important assets. Given this acknowledgement, we do not understand how they could partner with a mining company that could destroy this area.This land and water is our home. We depend on subsistence, food from the land, to feed us. […] It is hard to believe our village corporation would make a decision to partner with a mining company when they know how hard we have worked to NOT have mining in our area."A full statement from the council may be viewed in the addendum below.

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The Nondalton Tribal Council is a federally recognized tribal government that has worked to protect the Denai’na way of life from mines like Pebble. ADDENDUM Nondalton Tribal Council Full STATEMENT:The decision made by Kijik Corporation, the Native Corporation for Nondalton, is like a slap in the face to the Nondalton Tribal Council and majority of the people of Nondalton, have all publicly voiced our views about mining: We don’t want mining in our area. We don’t want harm to come to our land and water in any way, shape or form. This is the foundation to our way of life and culture. No amount of money can replace that.We the Nondalton Tribal Council have spent the last seven years working on and supporting a project for an Integrated Resource Management Plan (IRMP) that documents the important resources in and around the watershed for Six Mile Lake, Lake Clark, and up through Chulitna River. Ground Hog Mountain is one of the most important sites for our area. It is our main hunting grounds for moose and caribou. We consider this area part of our sacred grounds. We have documented the resources, burial and sacred grounds to help protect them. The Kijik Corporation Board of Directors has participated in community meetings on how we can work together for the region. They acknowledged that our land, our culture, and our resources are our most important assets. Given this acknowledgement, we do not understand how they could partner with a mining company that could destroy this area.We have worked hard over the years, since mining companies started coming around, to protect our lands and resources. We have stood up at mining related meetings and hearings and testified- saying that we do not support mining in our area that we need to protect our land and water. Our Elders, who are our first leaders, do not support mining, they don’t want to destroy what we have here, and they know we have to protect it.Our tribal members who are also shareholders of Kijik Corporation deserve to be heard first before a decision is made, by Kijik board of directors elected by the shareholders that supports mining and exploration in our backyard. We did not hear of this decision for a joint venture with a mining company until a recent newsletter came out announcing this. The Nondalton Tribal Council does not support this decision. We have always wanted to work with Kijik Corporation, we are all one people, the tribal members and shareholders, yet we don’t understand why this decision was made without getting input and feedback from the shareholders first. We know that the corporation is for-profit and is there to make money, but we don’t agree with development that has the potential to destroy one of the most important and sacred places in our area.The Nondalton Tribal Council will not stop working and voicing our rights as Native people to protect our way of life. We have heard from our Elders and we know we need to protect our land and water. We cannot allow a mining company into our backyard. We finally have caribou and moose coming back and we know this is because the Pebble mining company has stopped exploring, has stopped the loud helicopter traffic in the mountains. The land and water is our home. We depend on subsistence, food from the land to feed us. Is Kijik Corporation going to package up meat and fish and send us along with the promise of a few short term jobs? It is hard to believe our village corporation would make a decision to partner with a mining company when they know how hard we have worked to NOT have mining in our area.

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