Indigenous Peoples

Mark Nielsen
Skins Lake Spillway regulates the level of the Nechako Reservoir and the river levels downstream.

The Supreme Court of Canada Thursday denied Rio Tinto Alcan’s appeal of a lower court decision allowing two north-central B.C. First Nations to sue the company over its diversion of water from the Nechako River since the 1950s.

The Saik’uz and Stellat’en First Nations first filed the lawsuit in October 2011, claiming the 1987 and 1997 Settlement Agreements entered into by Alcan and B.C. and Canada are not defences against the claims of the bands, based on constitutional grounds.

Cassandra Jeffery
Photo Credit: BC Hydro via BC Government.

A public workshop on the future of the Columbia River Treaty held in Osoyoos has found that the Treaty must be modified to meet the needs of First Nations, growing population numbers, increasing competition for water; fisheries health and environmental values, as well as negative impacts on Canadian agriculture and the impact of a changing climate.

Organized by the Canadian Water Resource Association (CWRA) and the Adaptation to Climate Change Team (ACT), the workshop took place on Wednesday, October 7th at the Sonora Centre.

Yukon First Nations

WHITEHORSE, Oct. 14, 2015 /CNW/ - This morning Self-Governing Yukon First Nations filed a Petition for the Yukon Supreme Court to declare Bill S-6 amendments to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act (YESAA) invalid.

"Our Petition states that the amendments through Bill S-6 undermine or weaken Yukon's development assessment process and our role as Yukon First Nation governments," said Chief Carl Sidney of Teslin Tlingit Council. "Therefore, they are a clear breach of our Final Agreements."

Brent Jang

[Website editor's note: Two articles, published Sept 30 and Oct 1, 2015,  on the proposed Energy East tar sands pipeline and the proposed gas pipeline and LNG plant in BC] 

Native leaders divided on oil-sands pipelines 

Two groups of First Nations have issued duelling statements on where aboriginal people stand on oil-sands pipelines, highlighting opposing native viewpoints toward the energy industry.

Mychaylo Prystupa
Eight First Nations announce their federal legal challenge to the Northern Gateway pipeline at a Vancouver press conference. Photo by Mychaylo Prystupa.

The Harper government’s already strained relationship with First Nations that oppose oil sands pipelines is being put on trial this week.

Eight B.C. First Nations are in federal court to launch a legal attack on the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline. The coalition hopes to overturn Ottawa’s conditional approval of the project, which would deliver Alberta crude to B.C.’s north coast.

Kathy Michaels
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of Penticton reaches out to an audience member during the grand entry of the delegates to the 2014 BC Elders Gathering at the South Okanagan Events Centre. — Image Credit: Penticton Western News File Photo

“Anybody but Harper.”

Grand Chief Phillip Stewart didn’t mince words when it came to the message he has for Okanagan voters.

“Clearly, after nine and a half years of fighting, the Harper government has demonstrated that the Conservative Party of government is very hostile and adversarial to First Nation rights and interests,” he said, Thursday.

“Right from the time they took power, they completely trashed the Kelowna Accord, which presented $5.1 billion in funding for desperately needed new health, education, housing and infrastructure.”

Mike De Souza

CALGARY (Reuters) - Native chiefs in the Western Canadian province of British Columbia voted on Wednesday to join some of their eastern counterparts opposed to a major pipeline project, in a move some leaders described as a step toward a national alliance aimed at blocking expansion of Alberta's oil sands industry.

Geraldine Thomas-Flurer

Ever since the Enbridge pipelines and tankers project was first proposed, more than a decade ago, and Yinka Dene communities began to learn about the threat it poses to our lands, our water and our way of life, we knew this day might come: Next week Yinka Dene Alliance members Nadleh Whut’en and Nak’azdli will be in court challenging the Enbridge project.

Christopher Curtis
Indigenous protesters shut down a public consultation over the Energy East pipeline at a downtown Montreal office building, on Wednesday Sept. 23, 2015. COURTESY OF SUBMEDIA.TV

Police were called to a downtown Montreal office building Wednesday after indigenous protesters shut down a public consultation over the Energy East pipeline.

Amanda Lickers says she was accompanied by about 25 people when she entered the meeting and interrupted proceedings.

Brent Jang
Lelu Island, site of an LNG export terminal proposed by Pacific NorthWest LNG. The group has offered $1-billion to the Lax Kw’alaams in exchange for their consent. (Brent Jang/The Globe and Mail)

The Lax Kw’alaams First Nation is seeking aboriginal title to Lelu Island and Flora Bank, creating a legal obstacle for a Malaysian-led consortium that wants to build an $11.4-billion terminal to export liquefied natural gas from British Columbia.

The aboriginal group will file a notice of civil claim to launch the legal action next week in the B.C. Supreme Court, Lax Kw’alaams Mayor Garry Reece said in an interview on Friday.


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