LETTER: Respect First Nations rights over Site C

From Kaslo reader Lorna Louise

It continues to be deeply disturbing that the B.C. government is refusing to respect Treaty 8 rights of First Nations in the Peace.

I ask: What kind of people do we want to be? What kind of province to we want to live in?

Do we want to perpetuate colonial behaviour and attitudes? Do we want to continue to discriminate, disrespect and oppress First Nations?

Or do we acknowledge that we, the colonizers, have benefited greatly from the lands, waters, ecosystems that the First Nations lived on and stewarded?

Do we want to demonstrate our desire to fulfill the calls to action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples?

It is alarming that the BC government is forcing Treaty 8 Nations to pursue litigation in order to receive rights to their land and to self governance in the Peace.

As Sarah Cox recently wrote in The Narwhal, “Site C Dam would destroy First Nations burial grounds and culturally significant areas, some of Canada’s best farmland, habitat for more that 100 species at risk of extinction and the last intact section of the Peace River Valley still available for Treaty 8 members to engage in traditional practices.”

I challenge the government to respect Treaty 8 and the rights of First Nations across the province by implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), a globally agreed upon declaration of human rights.

I continue to challenge the B.C. government to halt Site C while First Nations rights are unresolved in the Peace and to restore First Nations to their lands and to self-governance instead of forcing them to litigate.

Lorna Louise

Kaslo

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