First Nation calls on B.C. to respect, follow court ruling on industrial developments

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VANCOUVER — The chief of a British Columbia First Nation that won a landmark court case over development in its territory called on the provincial government to recognize the rights set out in the ruling.

Chief Marvin Yaheh of the Blueberry River First Nation says industrial development without regard for the nation's treaty rights has been going on for decades.

The court found the provincial government breached the Treaty 8 agreement signed with the Blueberry River First Nation more than 120 years ago because it allowed development such as forestry and natural gas extraction without the community's approval.

Yaheh says if the provincial government was truly committed to reconciliation, it would not appeal the B.C. Supreme Court ruling that found the province failed in its treaty promise to maintain the nation's rights to hunt, fish and trap without interference.

The trial heard that over 84 per cent of Blueberry territory is within 500 metres of an industrial disturbance, and Yaheh says while they aren't against development in their territory, they want to be consulted.

A spokeswoman for B.C.'s Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation says in a statement that it is reviewing the ruling, and will be reaching out to the First Nation to discuss the next steps.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 8, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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