Nisga’a Nation will be temporarily stopped from purchasing the Nasoga Lands, a 22,000-hectare parcel of land at the mouth of the Nass River, following an injunction from the B.C. Supreme Court on May 25.
In the case of Reece v. Canada, members of the Allied Tribes of Lax Kw’alaams and Metlakatla, who represent nine historic tribes of the Coast Ts’msyen requested the injunction. They stated that their primary objective for the injunction was to give the parties time to engage in a dispute resolution process before the final decision was made.
In 2016, Nisga’a Nation publicly announced its plan to buy the land and its intentions to develop a liquefied natural gas (LNG) project there. Under the Nisga’a Final Agreement, a modern-day treaty that came into effect in 2000, the Nisga’a have a non-exclusive right to pursue the purchase of the land in question.
However, both the Coast Ts’msyen and Nisga’a Nations have historical claims over the disputed land.
The Coast Ts’msyen stated during the court case that it would like to declare aboriginal title over the Nasoga Lands.
“With respect to the public interest, I agree that there is a public interest in furthering the goals of the (Nisga’a) Treaty. However, there is an equally compelling public interest in maintaining the honour of the Crown in its relationship with Indigenous nations which have not yet had their claims of title and rights adjudicated,” stated Justice W. A. Baker in the report.
The hearing took place on March 8, 9 and 10 in Vancouver.
The injunction was granted for 18 months with the opportunity to apply for an extension if good faith negotiations between the province, Canada, Nisga’a and the Allied Tribes are not complete in that time.
Kaitlyn Bailey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Rupert Northern View