TCC President Emails National Chief Regarding Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

Jan. 14/14

Because of growing concerns throughout the Tahltan Nation regarding negative impacts the Fukushima nuclear disaster has on our fisheries (specifically salmon), TCC President Annita McPhee emails National Chief Atleo seeking action to ensure that the full measure of potential impacts is being systematically and properly studied, and everything is done within the power of our Nations, as well as Canada, to ensure that our salmon are saved.

Here is the full letter:

January 14, 2014

Dear National Chief Atleo,

I am writing to inform you of growing concerns the Tahltan Nation has regarding potential impacts of the Fukushima nuclear disaster on our fisheries and salmon in particular. We are concerned about consuming fish that may have been impacted by radiation and getting cancer or other illnesses as a result.

I know that you are fully and personally aware of the centrality of salmon to many First Nations across British Columbia. This includes the Tahltan Nation. It is within the Sacred Headwaters of our Territory that one finds the source of three salmon bearing rivers, the Stikine, Skeena, and Nass. Salmon is central to our culture, way of life, economy, cosmology, and spirituality.

The Fukushima disaster is unlike others that humanity has experienced before. Given the unique nature of this disaster, we understand there is scientific uncertainty about what the full impacts on the Pacific ocean environment, and migratory fish such as salmon, will be. We do know, however, that low-level radiation has been reported in fishery stocks. As well, sockeye salmon stocks had a devastating year.

We cannot sit by and watch and wait to see what the full impacts of the Fukushima disaster will be on our salmon and our way of life. Co-ordinated action needs to be taken to ensure that the full measure of potential impacts is being systematically and properly studied, and everything is done within the power of our Nations, as well as Canada, to ensure that our salmon are saved.

To date, we have not seen or heard of Canada taking this issue seriously and working in a real way to address it. We would ask that you, in your capacity as National Chief, raise this critical issue at the highest levels of the Federal Government, and demand action. We would also appreciate any information the AFN may have about steps or studies that have been taken by First Nations or Canada to date regarding this matter. Of course, the Tahltan Nation is fully prepared to assist on this matter in any way we can.

Many thanks for your efforts and hard work.

Yours Truly,

Annita McPhee
President, Tahltan Central Council