Harvard University conducted a study on mining and Canadian First Nations. The study found that “[w]hile some First Nations have benefited from mining within their boundaries, in general, First Nations bear an unfair burden at every point in the mining process.”
That study is not a surprise to American Indians, who have long suffered from what can be called environmental racism decisions when the United States takes tribal lands for dam projects to benefit off reservation non-Indians, for example, or conduct 50% of US uranium mining on tribal lands.
Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic released the study – Bearing the Burden: The Effects of Mining on First Nations in British Columbia , in which it concludes that while British Columbia has mining laws which “provide some safeguards for First Nations and the environment, [these laws] favor the industry they are intended to regulate and do not adequately institutionalize the special protections First Nations are entitled to under international and domestic law.”
The report goes on to document the experiences of the Takla Lake First Nation with several mine operators. Grand Chief Philip Stewart, President of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs said: “The Harvard Study has reflected, reinforced and validated the increasing alarm in our First Nation communities as third party interests are granted free and unfettered access to the land and resources of our respective territories, governments and the courts protect the interests of industry at the terrible and unacceptable cost of violating our Title and Rights and of the environmental values that many British Columbians hold dear.”