(Algonquin Territory/Ottawa– September 14, 2016) – Yesterday, British Columbia Regional Chief Shane Gottfriedson stood with Treaty 8 First Nations, including Prophet River and West Moberly First Nations, allies and supporters on Parliament Hill to call on the Trudeau Government to fulfill its commitment that now is the time for a renewed nation-to-nation relationship between First Nations and the Federal Government. Canada cannot continue to undermine Aboriginal Title, Rights and Treaty Rights.
Prophet River and West Moberly First Nations were in Montreal on Monday September 12, appearing before the Federal Court of Appeal in their fight to have federal approval of the project overturned. Despite the active court challenge at the Federal Court of Appeal, the Site C Hydroelectric Project has been actively under development and construction for months and construction continues to proceed despite the matter currently being considered by the court. At its completion, it will have BC Hydro operating a 1100 megawatt hydroelectric dam on the Peace River, which will amount to devastating effects on the Treaty and Aboriginal Rights of the Treaty 8 First Nations. The project will eliminate their ability to continue their way of life and exercise their Treaty and constitutionally protected rights to hunt, fish, trap, harvest and carry out their traditional practices in their territory.
“From the time this project has been proposed, First Nations have consistently voiced their strong support for Treaty 8 Chiefs and the requirement, under Canada’s constitution and under international human rights law, to secure the free, prior and informed consent of West Moberly First Nation and Prophet River First Nation on the Site C hydroelectric development,” stated Regional Chief Shane Gottfriedson. “I had the privilege to Paddle the Peace as did the former Regional Chief and now Canada’s Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, and she understands the importance and magnitude of the impact of the destruction of the Treaty 8 homelands. Let us not forget what we’re fighting for: the right for our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren the ability to continue to exercise their rights as their ancestors have done before them. I call on the Justice Minister and the Prime Minister to make this right.”