South Peace News
Use of sprays is causing harm to the environment and the chiefs in Treaty 8 want to put a stop to it.
Chiefs called on the Province of Alberta March 6 to stop the spraying of herbicides including but not limited to forestry cutblocks, power pole locations and transmission line corridors.
In a news release March 8, chiefs stated the practice, especially by the forestry industry, is having detrimental effects on the surrounding wildlife and water.
In forestry’s case, when harvested cutblocks are replanted with tree saplings they are sprayed to reduce flora competition in the area, allowing the planted saplings to grow faster.
“Our hunters and trappers are reporting reduced wildlife in the surrounding areas where this is being done. We are concerned because moose love to go into cutblocks and eat the new plants as they grow up. If these chemicals and herbicides have contaminated the soil or the plants and are being consumed by wildlife it would explain the noticeable reduction in the moose population we are seeing on the land,” says Arthur Noskey, Grand Chief of Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta.
In turn, the practice affects Treaty members’ right to trap in a traditional way.
Noskey also says in the new release that “Roundup has been in the news as having a much higher toxicity than originally thought to the point that they have been labeled a probable human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.”
Noskey makes what he sees as an obvious connection.
“If these herbicides can cause cancer in humans, what are they doing to the animals?”
However, he concedes no one has studied such affects.
And, he wants no further spraying until the matter is studied.
“The chiefs are calling on the government for a moratorium on this spraying until an independent scientific review can be conducted.
“Our Treaty has guaranteed us a right to live traditionally, including hunting and trapping, jeopardizing the wildlife population affects us, our children and the average Albertan.”
Similar concerns were expressed loudly at a meeting Feb. 23 in Wabsaca, AB by the Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta Trappers Association.
“Local Treaty 8 trappers have collected pictures of the internal organs of wildlife they have harvested that shows the extent of the damage.”
As a result, the association “to protect, promote, bring to life, implement, and sustain the true spirit and intent of Treaty No. 8 as long as the sun shines, the grass grows, and the waters flow.”