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Treaty 8 First Nations Support
Elsipogtog First Nations' Right to Protect People, Lands and
Calls for an End to Violent Actions and Urges Industry to
Accommodate Requests for Negotiation
22 October, 2013 - FORT ST. JOHN, BRITISH
8 Territory - The BC Treaty 8 Council of Chiefs are stating their support for
the Elsipogtog First Nation's right to protect lands and water that are at risk
due to fracking and shale gas development within their traditional territory
that has been undertaken without negotiation or consent from the First Nation.
"We are deeply saddened by the escalation to violence in the past weeks
resulting from the Elsipogtog community not being allowed to voice their
concerns against destructive resource extraction in their territory," stated
Treaty 8 Tribal Chief Liz Logan.
"We are urging a more peaceful approach and
strongly suggest that companies and our government respect the Elsipogtog by
stopping this disrespectful disregard for the immediate and long term impacts of
The Treaty 8 First Nations know well the approach of resource development
companies and governments when it comes to traditional territories as northern
communities have been inundated with mining, oil and gas and now LNG projects
dating back nearly sixty years.
A lack of a careful and collaborative
approach that examines cumulative impacts has already impacted the Nations'
ability to use the land, drink the water and support local wildlife, including
numerous species at risk.
"Recently, the West Moberly First Nation was forced to approach the courts to
protect the Burnt Pine Caribou Herd because our own Provincial government failed
to develop a plan to fully protect the caribou from the construction of a mine,"
said Chief Roland Willson of West Moberly First Nation.
"It is an embarrassment that we have to
force our elected officials to realize that money does not take precedent over
the livelihood of human beings."
Added Willson, "First Nations cannot continue to let money hungry governments
open the door to industry development at all costs.
There is an obligation of the Crown to work
with First Nations to find a balance between economic development and protecting
our lands and resources for future generations."
Treaty 8 First Nations support resource development done in cooperation with
Aboriginal peoples that takes into consideration both short and long-term
impacts to social, economic and environmental aspects in both traditional
communities as well as the greater northern region.
Adds Logan, "We hope that the Elsipogtog communities' experience does not set
the tone for future interactions between companies and First Nations.
We are calling on our government to see the
unfortunate consequences of turning a blind eye to reckless resource