Aboriginal group calls for Great Lakes cleanup
CANADIAN PRESS, United Nations
A confederacy of Aboriginal Peoples presented the United Nations on Tuesday with a $700-million US plan to clean up pollution in the eastern Great Lakes region.
The proposal by the Haudenosaunee, or Iroquois Six Nations Confederacy, calls for money for education, research, monitoring and other purposes. It hopes to get funds from UN agencies and the private sector.
The plan was presented at a meeting sponsored by the UN Environment Program as a followup to the 1992 UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. That conference called for indigenous groups to take a leading role in protecting the environment.
Environmentalists say pollution around the Great Lakes has harmed fish, livestock and crops.
The confederacy said the environment is also threatened by "cross-border midnight dumpings and efforts to dispose of wastes on reservations to circumvent environmental laws of surrounding states and provinces."
The confederacy said "the restoration of damaged elements of the eco-systems on native territories must be a co-operative effort between industry, government and the affected nations."
The Six Nations group called for collecting data based on Canada's EAGLE, or Effects to Aboriginals from the Great Lake Environment, a five-year project supported by Health and Welfare Canada.
Many of the confederacy's proposals involve setting up an infrastructure for dealing with environmental problems instead of specific cleanup projects.
Among the confederacy's projects would be a $350-million Centre of Excellence for Environmental Research and Education on Lake Onondaga in New York State.
The confederacy is also proposing setting up environmental departments in each community, establishing a communications network and providing scholarships and minority internship programs.