Saturday, September 20, 2014
Text Size

First Nation behind Supreme Court land title case releases mining policy

James Keller, The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER -- A British Columbia First Nation behind a recent Supreme Court of Canada case that significantly expanded aboriginal land title rights laid out ground rules Thursday for mining projects on its traditional territory, requiring resource companies to minimize the negative impacts of projects while sharing revenue.

The Tsilhqot'in National Government's mining policy also follows the group's successful fight against the New Prosperity mine, proposed by Taseko Mines Ltd. (TSX:TKO), which was rejected by the federal government earlier this year due to the potential impact on a lake considered sacred by area First Nations.

The Tsilhqot'in Nation, located near Williams Lake, B.C., said it isn't opposed to mining on its territory, but resource companies need to respect the rights of aboriginals if they want their projects to proceed.

"The goal is to have proponents actually come through the door of the Tsilhqot'in Nation," Chief Russell Myers-Ross of Yunesit'in, one of the six bands that make up the Tsilhqot'in, said in an interview.

"We had the example of Taseko Mines, who showed us what not to do. We need proponents and industry to begin showing a lot more respect for our people and our nation if they want to build partnerships in our territory."

The 19-page document, published both in English and the Tsilhqot'in language, said mining companies must sign formal exploration and benefit agreements before getting Tsilhqot'in support, and those agreements must include resource revenue from mining projects.

The document also states the Tsilhqot'in people must be given priority when it comes to training and jobs, and it promises a "clear, certain process" for mining companies to engage with the nation.

The policy applies to a large area of land in northern and central B.C. that the Tsilhqot'in Nation considers its traditional territory. The policy is in addition to an existing stewardship agreement between the Tsilhqot'in and the provincial government, which sets out consultation processes for resource projects in that area.

"The intent is to put the expectation out there and show people what our needs are, that we need benefits in our area, that we have high standards for our environment and respect for our culture," he said.

The Tsilhqot'in has a long history of asserting its rights when it comes to resource development.

The nation won a decades-long legal battle in June when the Supreme Court of Canada issued a landmark rule that rewrote aboriginal title rights. The decision recognized the Tsilhqot'in's right to aboriginal title over 1,750 square kilometres of territory in a case that began as a dispute over logging. The area is only a small portion of what the Tsilhqot'in consider its territory.

The Supreme Court victory came several months after the federal government rejected the New Prosperity mine, which the Tsilhqot'in had spent years opposing.

The Tsilhqot'in warned the proposed mine would harm water quality and fish habitat in a body of water known as Fish Lake, or Teztan Biny to First Nations. A review panel report agreed, which convinced the federal government to block the project, though the company has launched a legal challenge of that decision.

Chief Joe Alphonse of Tl'etinqox, who is the Tsilhqot'in tribal chair, said the policy will ensure future projects are handled differently.

"There are dozens of mineral exploration projects in our territory and this policy will clarify for those proponents, government officials and anyone else thinking of staking claims that Tsilhqot'in laws remain in force in our territory, as they have since time immemorial," Alphonse said in a news release.

"With our recent victory at the Supreme Court for title, we will continue to enforce Tsilhqot'in law throughout our territory."

The Tsilhqot'in plans to hold consultations with governments, the mining industry and the public for the next two months before finalizing the policy.

Whatever Trevor

Dis is Trevor.

Education & Training

Blast from the past: FP archive

When is Consultation, Consultation?

Ovide Mercredi

National Chief – AFN

During a Treaty Roundtable meeting of the Alberta Chiefs, I took note of a federal government document outlining their strategy to define and ultimately impose their own form of self-government. Read more...

Letting go of residential schools

by Gilbert Oskaboose, Nov 1993 First Perspective

There is a lot of "unfinished business" in Indian Country. Garbage that we as a people have never really dealt with. Chief among them is the whole issue of those infamous residential schools and their impact on people. Read more...

OBIDIAH

obidiah picture

ANALYSIS - Bill Gallagher

gallagher picture

Under the Northern Sky by Xavier Kataquapit

Under the Northern Sky by Xavier Kataquapit

JOBS

Regional Media Officer– Temp (Until Nov 2015) –F/T Position

Office of the Leader of the Official Opposition / NDP Research Office

Location:131 Queen Street, Suite 10-02, Ottawa, ON

Responsibilities

Communicate regularly with regional media outlets (community newspapers, radio stations, student media, ethnic media, etc.) to propose ideas for interviews and opinion content Read more...

Canadian Chamber of Commerce Aboriginal Workforce Report

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce released a report that highlights initiatives to improve the workforce participation of Aboriginal peoples. 

Opportunity Found: Improving the Participation of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada’s Workforce (December 2013)  

click image to download report

Tue Sep 23 @ 3:00PM - 04:15PM
FNHMA National Conference 2014
Sun Oct 05 @ 9:00AM - 05:00PM
INIHKD & Manitoba NEAHR Conference 2014

EVENTS

September 2014
S M T W T F S
31 1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 1 2 3 4
imageimageimageimage
cartoonscartoonscartoonscartoons

Current Video

RIP Percy Tuesday

 

Thanks to Althea Guiboche for allowing The First Perspective to share her video taken at the Manitowapow book launch at McNally Robinson. 

Percey sings Freddy Fender's "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights" and people join in to harmonize. 

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO): The Washington Redskins