Sr. Mary Theresa Plante, fmm Advocates Against Mining Exploitation at UN Conference on Social Development
A descendant of the Chippewa, a Native North American Indian people, Sister Mary Theresa Plante, FMM of the FI-New York advocacy team makes a point forcefully (Photo) during her presentation on the panel, “Social Inclusion in Mining Practices: Free, Prior and Informed Consent.” Mary Theresa reminded the audience that, “For the indigenous, land is not a marketable commodity. The loss and destruction of land through mining may mean that the entire culture is threatened in the past, the present and the future.”.
Stressing the wisdom of the Native American, Mary Theresa invoked this prophecy of the Cree Indigenous People:
“When all the trees have been cut down, when all the animals have been hunted, when all the waters are polluted, when all the air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover that you cannot eat money.”
The panel was a side event held on 08 February during the UN Commission for Social Development, whose theme this year is social integration. The event highlighted the negative impacts of mining companies on locally affected communities as well as the attempts by governments to implement extractive industry regulations.
The Mining Working Group of the NGO Committee on the UN International Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples has developed this panel and three others on the mining topic to be held, appropriately nuanced to capture each Commission theme, in each of the four major UN Commissions this year: UN Commission for Social Development, UN Commission for the Advancement of Women, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and UN Commission for Sustainable Development. Sister Kathie Uhler, OSF of the FI-NY advocacy team, a member of the working group, reports that this is possibly the first time a side event will illustrate the cross-cutting character of UN Commission themes.