Indigenous environmental activist Kanahus Manuel is from the Secwepemc Nation in British Columbia, Canada. In her testimony Kanahus discusses the ongoing issue of resource extraction corporations creating large financial profits, while the territory's indigenous inhabitants receive no monetary compensation-even though the corporations themselves have no legal right or jurisdiction over these indigenous unceded territories. Kanahus talks about her inherent right to be a custodian of the land, both through physical proximity to it, and fighting for justice within the Canadian court system itself. Kanahus has long been a community leader and environmental activist, most notably outspoken about the Mt. Polley mining disaster, British Columbia’s largest mining disaster in history, occurring on August 14 2014. The mining operation’s tailings pond walls breached, spilling 25 million cubic meters of water and approximately 8 million cubic meters of toxic waste, jeopardizing or completely eliminating local area inhabitants. Wild salmon is the lifeblood of the Secwepemc people and wild salmon require fresh clean river and lake water. This unfortunate and completely unnecessary mining disaster threatens the very existence of the wild salmon, severely compromising the entire Secwepemc community plus the local wildlife that rely on the salmon for food. Kanahus draws a parallel between violent corporate resource extraction practices, and the ongoing rape and sexual abuse of Indigenous populations, stemming from patriarchal control actualized through the Indian residential school system.
Kanahus Manuel's testimony, part 1
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