Canada - Katzie calls for an immediate halt to the mining proposal at creation site Sheridan Hill


Katzie First Nation Press Release

Date of publication: 
1 April 2015

Katzie First Nation: Katzie calls for an immediate halt to the mining development proposal at our creation site, Sheridan Hill. As a nation, we are not willing to let our rights be further extinguished and are prepared to assert these rights. We must ensure that our traditional territory’s cultural and ecological sites are protected for future generations of the Katzie people, as well as for our friends and neighbours who reside here. We stand united with them as our partners in protest of this development. We urge others to join us to protect the natural environment and valuable food sources, not just for Katzie but for all of us.

For over 7300 years, the Katzie people have lived in the area surrounding Pitt Meadows, including Sheridan Hill. Our territory includes the land from the Pitt and Alouette watersheds down to the land on both sides of the Fraser River in Pitt Meadows, Langley and Surrey (Barnston Island). Our rights, in agreement with neighbouring First Nations, include all of the natural resources from the land and water in our territory.

Sheridan Hill is not just any part of our traditional territory. It is the heart of our land and is considered sacred as it is the primary site of our creation story. It is OUR Genesis site. Swaneset and his people, from whom the Katzie descend, were created at Sheridan Hill – they were the original and only human inhabitants of the land. Katzie’s right and title to Sheridan Hill have already been damaged through the existing mining operation on the north side of the hill. That mining operation commenced years ago without our consent, and we will not allow our rights to continue to be ignored on new sites. Given that we have not been consulted or accommodated, we feel that it is important to make this public declaration: We do not consent to the continued destruction of Sheridan Hill and the site of our creation story. Further destruction to this cultural site is like erasing our beginning, which further extinguishes our sense of identity and sense of place. We can’t allow that to happen.

Proper consultation in good faith does not include leaving voicemail messages or sending an email with information. It also does not exclude archaeological studies of important aboriginal land. We expect proper consultation and accommodation with Katzie First Nation for all developments that will have an effect on our traditional territory. Any and all permits issued for new mining at Sheridan Hill without proper consultation and accommodation of Katzie First Nation will meet with our resilient and steadfast opposition. It is our right, and it is government’s legal duty to ensure our rights are adhered to.

For more information, please contact: Chief Susan Miller, Katzie First Nation
O: 604. 465.8961 | E: susan [at] katzie [dot] ca


Rally to save Sheridan Hill

by Neil Corbett

Maple Ridge News –

26 March 2015

The Katzie First Nation is willing to physically block a new quarry operation on Sheridan Hill, Chief Susan Miller told a rally in Pitt Meadows on Wednesday night.

“We’re preparing our signs, and we’re preparing our drums, and if it means we have to stand on Sheridan Hill, then that’s what we’re going to do,” said Miller.

“We’re prepared to be very public, and very much protest.”

Pitt Meadows residents and Katzie First Nation held a rally on Wednesday night at the Pitt Meadows Recreation Centre to oppose the proposed quarry on the south side of Sheridan Hill.

The Meadows Quarry application would haul 240,000 tonnes of rock from the site each year for five years, reducing the elevation of the hill by 30 metres, to 45.

Miller and Pitt Meadows Mayor John Becker are planning a trip to Victoria, where they will meet with Mines Minister Bill Bennett, they told the full house at the gymnasium at the Pitt Meadows Family Recreation Centre.

Becker will present the minister with the written opposition to the project, in the form of letters and a petition, “in hopefully a number of bankers’ boxes.”

They hosted the rally along with residents of Sheridan Hill, who are organizing opposition.

Tables were set up near the front door of the meeting, and residents were given samples of letters to be sent to Bennett and other government officials. A letter writing campaign is part of the strategy.

“Email is better than nothing, a letter is better than email,” said Becker.

Opponents have until April 18, the end of a 30-day period, to send in their written comments.

He said staff from the Ministry of Mines will also be at a Pitt Meadows council meeting on April 7 to discuss the proposed quarry.

So far, he said, the city has received nothing in writing to indicate that a public consultation will happen, said Becker.

Moreover, when Lafarge applied to extend its quarry operations on the north face of Sheridan Hill, the public consultation was not considered for long. Within 12 hours of that consultation, the go-ahead was granted, he said.

Becker warned that once a quarry has begun, the operation can be extended.

“Think of this application as the camel’s nose,” he said. “It would be Sheridan Hole, not Sheridan Hill.”

Miller noted that when the original Lafarge quarry on the north face of Sheridan Hill began operation, the native land claims process had not begun.

“We had nothing to say back then – we had no rights,” said Miller.

But she said the Katzie are the original people in the territory, dating back 7,300 years. The band is in negotiations with the B.C. Treaty Commission, nearing an agreement.

“We have never ceded our territory to anyone,” she said, but added that “we want to be good neighbours.”

She called the quarry “the decimation of our genesis story.”

“Sheridan Hill is where the Katzie as a people began,” she said. “We hunt there, we camp there, we have sacred ceremony there.”

Darcey Heath, a spokesperson for the residents and a neighbour of the quarry, noted that on Wednesday there was an enormous blast from the Lafarge quarry that everyone in the neighbourhood was talking about.

“I felt it in my whole body, and I’m not even that close,” she said.

The blast underlined for residents why Sheridan Hill is not an appropriate site for a new quarry.