Marilyn Baptiste

Goldman Environmental Prize Recipient

Marilyn Baptiste is a former councillor and former Chief of the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation in British Columbia, one of the six First Nations that make up the Tsilhqot’in Nation which was awarded the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision declaring Aboriginal title in 2014.

Marilyn co-founded the First Nations Women Advocating Responsible Mining (FNWARM) to challenge mining development projects in Xeni Gwet’in land, while supporting other areas of British Columbia facing similar challenges. She has collaborated with community leaders from the Yunesit’in and the broader Tsilhqot’in Nation to permanently protect Teztan Biny (Fish Lake) and the surrounding areas as Dasiqox Tribal Park.

For her work in leading her community to defeat a large mining project and preparing submissions for the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency mining review, Marilyn has been the recipient of several awards. Her passion and dedication were recognized through FNWARM when she received the 2010 Boreal Initiative Award (in recognition of the fight to save Teztan Biny after the federal government’s initial denial of the Prosperity Copper Gold Mine’s application). Marilyn has also been given the Wilderness Committee’s Eugene Environmental Award and the Activist of the Year Award by the Council of Canadians. In 2015, she was awarded the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize, the world’s largest international award for grassroots environmental activism, for helping to shut down Taseko Mines Ltd’s New Prosperity gold and copper mine, one of the largest mining projects ever proposed in British Columbia. Marilyn lives in the Nemiah Valley of British Columbia and remains committed to defending First Nations’ values on the land and in her community.

Marilyn with her drum at the edge of Chilko Lake with one of the many mountains in Xeni, Nemiah Valley, behind her.

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