Tahltan Nation Celebrates Shell Giving Up Klappan Coal Bed Methane Tenure in the Sacred Headwaters

Dec. 18/12

The  Tahltan  Nation  is  celebrating  today’s  decision  by  Shell  Oil  to  give  up  its  coal  bed  methane  tenures  in   the Klappan area of Tahltan traditional territory. Shell has agreed to relinquish its tenure in the Klappan out  of  recognition  and  respect  for  the  Tahltan’s  deeply  rooted  cultural  and  environmental  values  in  the   area. Tahltan and the Province of British Columbia will now work together to develop plans for protecting this critically important area.

“We  want  to  acknowledge  Shell  for  its  decision  to  respect  the  wishes  of  our  Nation  by  giving  up  its  plans   to develop coalbed  methane  in  the  Klappan”  said  Annita  McPhee,  President  of  the Tahltan Central Council,  “The  Klappan  is  one  of  the  most  sacred  and  important  areas for our people. It is a place of tremendous cultural, spiritual, historic and social importance – our people do not want to see it developed, and we look forward to working with British Columbia on  achieving  that  goal.”

The Klappan is home to the Sacred Headwaters of Tahltan territory, a pristine area at the confluence of the Stikine, Nass and Skeena rivers. These are all important salmon bearing waterways that are deeply tied to the ongoing cultural and social well-being of the various First Nations and the other communities along their paths. The Klappan is important to the Tahltan but it also equally important to others who rely on these rivers and many others around the world who recognize the value of this area. “I  am   approached almost every day by others that recognize the values that we are trying to protect in the Klappan. We have had expressions of support for our efforts from First Nations and other communities throughout northwestern region of BC and beyond. We have also had offers for direct support from numerous local, provincial, national and international non-governmental organizations,” said McPhee.

“I would like to thank our elders and our people who have dedicated themselves to the protection of the Klappan and helped others to understand the importance of this area to our Nation”  McPhee added. In 2005, Tahltan Elders and other community members protested exploration in the Sacred Headwaters which resulted in a number of arrests and court proceedings. These members and the Tahltan government have continued to take action and work tirelessly to achieve protection for the area.

“I’d  also  like  to  acknowledge  the  Province of British Columbia for working with us to achieve this important milestone towards long term protection of the Klappan. We  appreciate  Shell’s  gesture  as an important first step but we want to be clear that this work will not be finished until the Tahltan have achieved permanent protection of Tahltan values in this area,” said McPhee.

For further information contact:
Annita McPhee – President, Tahltan Central Council: 604-754-9974 or 604-809-591