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Thatsbeenabigdownfallofourorganizationtoomanypoliticiansdoingbusiness.Politiciansgotnobusinessinbusiness.Thatsthebottomline.RobertAlexieJr.GTCpresident8TuesdayAugust272013FirstNationsaskministertoputbrakesonGahchoKuPoliticsFirstNationsPoliticsFirstNationsByMEAGANWOHLBERGFourFirstNationsintheNorthwestTerritoriesareask-ingthefederalministertohaltapprovaloftheGahchoKudiamondmineuntilstrongermeasuresareimplementedtomitigatetheadverseenviron-mentalimpactsoftheproject.InfouridenticallettersdatedAug.20theTlichoGovern-mentYellowknivesDeneFirstNationLutselKeDeneFirstNationandDeninuKueFirstNationrequestedAboriginalAffairsandNorthernDevel-opmentMinisterBernardVal-courtrefermeasuresbacktothereviewboardforfurtherconsiderationbeforeapprov-ingthemine.TheGahchoKuminewhichwouldbethefourthdi-amondmineoperatingintheterritorywasgiventhegreenlightbytheMackenzieValleyEnvironmentalImpactReviewBoardonJuly22.FollowingatechnicalreviewofthereviewboardsreportallfourFirstNationsarguedthattheboardfailedtoas-signmeasuresinalmosteveryareaconsideredsignicanttoournationandothersalongwithmeasuresidentiedbythefederalgovernment.AttachedtotheletterisalonglistofconcernsraisedbythetechnicalreviewincludingtheboardsfailuretomakeNiHadiYatiorPeopleWatchingtheLandTogether-anover-sightcommitteeforenviron-mentalmonitoringcomposedoftheimpactedAboriginalgovernments-abindingmea-suredespiterequestsfromallAboriginalpartiesandallfederaldepartmentstodoso.TheAboriginalpartiesareextremelyconcernedthatthisgovernancearrangementforenvironmentalmonitoringandadaptivemanagementislefttoafuturenegotiationofacon-tractuallybindingagreementbetweentheAboriginalpartiesandthedeveloperandthattheBoardhasnotaddressedanyalternativesshouldthosenego-tiationsnotprovesuccessfulthedocumentstates.TheFirstNationsexpressedconcernattheomissionofbindingcommitmentsforwaterqualityalongwithiden-tiedgapsinthecompanysre-mediationplansforKennadyLakewhichwillbedrainedtominethekimberlitedepositandre-lledwhentheprojectiscompleted.Accordingtothetechnicalreviewnotimelinehasbeengivenforrellingthelakeorwhatmeasurablecharacter-isticsneedtobeachievedtobringthelakebacktoare-claimedstatus.OntheissueofcaribouaswelltheFirstNationsarguethereviewboarddidnotad-equatelyaddresscumulativeimpactstheminesaccessroadcouldhaveonthedwindlingBathurstherd.Thereisnocommitmenttoaltermitigationsinordertominimizethezoneofin-uenceandthereisnocom-mitmenttomonitorthewin-teraccessroadasabarriertocariboumovementthereviewstatesaddingThepanelappearstobe-lievethatthedeveloperwillself-regulateandbeagoodcor-poratecitizenandrequirednofurthercommitmentstocon-ductmonitoringorresearchasnotedwhichgiventheregula-torandconsistentspillsatDeBeersexistingdiamondmineSnapLakeseemsmisplaced.Theyalsoarguethatcon-cernsregardingthereleaseofcontaminantslikefuransanddioxinsconsideredextremelytoxictohumansandwildlifewereleftoutofthereportalongwithmeasurestomitigateper-mafrostissuesandtheprojectsimpactsonculture.WhileDeBeershascom-mittedtoincorporatingtradi-tionalknowledgeintoitsmoni-toringprogramsencouragingAboriginallanguageuseattheminesiteandhostingculturalgatherings-commitmentstheboardfoundsufcienttostatetherewouldnotbeadverseim-pactstoculturalvaluespro-videdtheyarefollowed-theAboriginalpartiesconcludedthosepromisesarealtogetherinsufcientandfranklyin-sultingtotheeldersandotherAboriginalexpertswhocon-tributedtimeandenergytothisprocess.ThechiefsalsoexpressedtheirviewthatadequatesocialandeconomicassessmenthadnotbeenconductedasimpactbenetagreementsIBAbe-tweenthefourAboriginalpar-tiesandthedeveloperremainincompletedespitemorethanthreeyearsofnegotiations.OnlyoneIBAhasbeencon-cludedwiththeNorthSlaveMtisAlliance.ChuckHubertsenioren-vironmentalofcerwiththereviewboardandleadontheGahchoKulesaidtheboardcouldnotcommentonthere-centlettersbecausethereportisbeforetheministerandthathedidnotwishtospeculateonwhatthescopeofadditionalre-viewwouldlooklike.ItsdifculttocommentfurtherpriortotheMinistersresponsebacktothePanelhetoldTheJournalbutsaidtherearerecentexamplesofreferralsbackfromtheministerrequir-ingmoreconsideration.FortheNICOprojectinJunetheMinisterreferredthereportbacktotheBoardforfur-therconsiderationorconsulttomodifyforonemeasureinthereport.ThiswasdonebytheGNWTpresentingnewevidence.MeetingswereheldtodiscussthenewevidenceandaresolutiontothemeasureinquestionwasreachedtothesatisfactionoftheMinisterhesaidinanemail.Ahearingwasnotheldinthatinstance.DeBeersdidnotrespondtorequestsforcomment.ImagecourtesyofDeBeersGwichinTribalCouncillooksforwaystosavemoneyDelegatestakearetroactivepaycutreducenumberattendingassembliesByJOSHLONGCutbacksdominatedthediscussionattheGwichinTribalCouncilsGTCan-nualgeneralassemblyinInu-viklastweekWearespendingmorethanweareallowedandwehavetostopthatandwewilltakestepsoverthenextcoupleofmonthstocurballourspend-ingandwelltakethattoourpeoplesaidGTCpresidentRobertAlexieJr.shortlyafterthenalclosingprayerattheMidnightSunComplex.Alreadydelegateswenthomewithlighterwalletsastheypassedaresolutionreduc-ingtheirpayby100adayforthetwo-daymeetingdownto300adayfromthe400theydsetitatjustoneyearearlier.Thatresolutionappliedret-roactivelystartingatthebe-ginningofthemeetingandpassedwithoutoppositionbutanothertocutthenumberofdelegatesattendingassem-blieswasinitiallygreetedwithsomeconcern.Thatresolutionspoketoreducingthenumberofdel-egatesfromeachGwichincommunityandcuttingdel-egatesfromtheterritorialcapitalsentirelyamovethatwouldhavesavedanestimated60000eachassembly.ButtheYellowknifedelegatesawthingsdifferently.YeswereoutsidetheGSAGwichinSettlementAreaandyesWhitehorseisoutoftheGSAbutyoucantgiveusseatsandtakethemawaysaidChristineMcLeodreferringtothefourseatsheldbythetwocitiessince2010.MorethanhalfofallGwichinparticipantsliveinYellowknifeMcLeodpointedout.ButAlexiecounteredsay-ingeveryparticipantisalreadyrepresentedbyhisorherhomecommunity.WhitehorsedelegateVictorStewartofferedacompromisemakeitonedelegatefromeachcity.IfyoubringonedelegateinfromWhitehorseandonefromYellowknifeonecouldsleepandtheotheronecantellherwhattheytalkedaboutlatersaidStewartwhojokedmorethanoncewhentalksgottense.Youlookandaroundandyouseesomanylongfacesyougottasaysomethinghesaidafterapreviousjoke.IntheendthedelegatessawthingsStewartswayandthemotionwaspassedunopposed.DelegatesfromeachGwichincommunitywerealsoreducedtosevenpercommunitydownfrom12.Muchofthetalkconcern-ingthenancialwoeswasincamerawhereonlyGwichinparticipantscouldhear.Alexieexplainedtherulesatthestartoftheassemblysayingparticipantscouldnotevendiscusswhattheyheardwhentheyreturnedtotheirhomes.InaninterviewAlexiewasabletocommentonpubliclyavailablenancialinformation.Alexiesaid19millionthathadgonefromtheGwichinSettlementCorp.tothede-velopmentcorporationhadntbroughtbackenoughbangforitsbuck.Theinvestmentsthatwevemadedidnotgiveusanyre-turntodatehesaid.Dothemath.ThreepercentinterestperyearwecouldvemademoreifwedkeptitintheSet-tlementCorp.butwedidnt.Healsotalkedaboutaneedtoseparatebusinessfrompol-iticssayingmixingthetwocontributedtooverspendingwithinthecouncil.Thatsbeenabigdownfallofourorganizationtoomanypoliticiansdoingbusiness.Poli-ticiansgotnobusinessinbusi-ness.Thatsthebottomline.Assuchhellbesteppingdownaspresidentofthede-velopmentcorporationwhileretaininghispositiononthetribalcouncil.Anewboardofdirectorsforthedevelopmentcorpora-tionhasalsobeenappointed.Theyrenotpoliticianstheyrebusinesspeople.TheyhaveamandatetogooutthereandmakeussomemoneyAlexiesaid.Previouslysomemembersoftheboardofdirectorshadsi-multaneouslysatonthesettle-mentdevelopmentandtribalcouncilamovethatAlexiecallsaconictofinterest.Theyrebasicallygivingthemselvesdirectionyoucan-notdothathesaid.Wereseparatingthethreeandhope-fullythatwillmakeitbetterforourtribalcouncil.PhotocourtesyofGwichinTribalCouncilGwichinTribalCouncilpresidentRobertAlexieJr.isfocusedonwaystosolvethiernancialwoes.TheproposedGachoKudiamondminenortheastofYellowknifewoulddrainKennadyLaketodrillkimberlite.