Lheidli Tenneh Band Council really wants to sell the Nation
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Lheidli Tenneh Band Council really wants to sell the Nation

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John Ahni Schertow
June 20, 2007
 

The Lheidli T’enneh Treaty, one of several ‘new treaties’ being pushed forward in British Colombia, is said to be worth about $73 million. Supporters of this treaty allege that, if it went forward, it will provide the Lheidli T’enneh with self-government and secure for them land and ‘rights to resources.’

The reality however, is that this treaty will reduce the Lheidli T’enneh to little more than a token idea, with no land whatsoever. This will be followed by the Lheidli T’enneh having no authority and no ability to self-govern, because the Lheidli T’enneh will cease to be separate or distinct from Canada. The nation will become just another Canadian municipality.

As we should expect, this has been very carefully omitted from public discourse—Or atleast from the mouths of anyone who supports this new treaty.

The Treaty will let the Lheidli T’enneh “assume [their] rightful place in Canada” – Jim Prentice.

In order for the Treaty to go ahead, however, it had to be ratified by the Lheidli T’enneh People. And so plans were made for the people to vote either YES or NO.

The Lheidli T’enneh have set the bar very high for ratification. They want approval by 70% of all votes cast in order to ratify the deal. If the agreement fails that test, there is no treaty. source

Just a few short months ago the vote was held as promised… 53% of the Lheidli T’enneh who voted said NO.

So then, as far as we all understand, that means the treaty was not ratified, so then there is just “no treaty”, right?

The Lheidli T’enneh band council and the federal and provincial government doesn’t think so. In fact they are now committed to enticing the Lheidli T’enneh to change their minds.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LHEIDLI T’ENNEH BEING BRIBED TO VOTE YES ON BCTC FINAL AGREEMENT
(Prince George, BC) – June 19th, 2007
On April 3rd, 2007, the Lheidli T’enneh band held a Community Treaty Meeting to discuss options following their rejection of the proposed Lheidli T’enneh Final Agreement. A total of only 20 Lheidli T’enneh band members attended this meeting – approximately 7% of the 272 who
are enrolled to vote on the proposed treaty settlement. Following this meeting, the chief and council pronounced that they had been given a mandate to stay in the British Columbia Treaty Commission (BCTC) Process.

This purported “mandate” to continue treaty negotiations flies in the face of the rejection of the Final Agreement in March by Lheidli T’enneh First Nation members (only 47% voted for the agreement). Since when does a “No” vote mean “Maybe”?

The Lheidli T’enneh band council and the federal and provincial government negotiators refuse to accept the results of the ratification vote. Instead of respecting the voice of the people, the chief and council and the BCTC and federal and provincial governments have devised this new “mandate” to entice the Lheidli T’enneh to change their minds and support the Final Agreement. The centrepiece of the scheme is a proposal to negotiate a slice of funding out of the proposed financial payment in the agreement. This money is to be used as a one-time compensation payout of $3000.00 (three thousand) to each member and $5000.00 (five thousand) for those 55 years of age and older. Lheidli T’enneh band members are being offered cash in their pockets in exchange for a “Yes” vote on a bad deal that they have already rejected.

Lheidli T’enneh band members are now being tempted to benefit today at the expense of their grandchildren. The Lheidli T’enneh Final Agreement was rejected because it does not provide security for future generations of Lheidli T’enneh. Tribal Chief David Luggi of the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council, spokesperson for the Indigenous Rights Alliance, stated: “The BCTC platform is designed to bankrupt our future generations, our nationhood, self- sufficiency, and inherent rights to the land. B.C. is the big jurisdictional winner in treaties; Indigenous Nations are proposed to be the major losers.”

The attempt to force the ratification of this failed agreement by offering personal compensation to individuals is a bold-face bribe and a desperate tactic that betrays the true nature of the BCTC and federal and provincial governments, and exposes the questionable loyalties of the
chief and band council. Who does the Lheidli T’enneh band council work for? The Lheidli T’enneh? Or, the governments who sit across the table from them in the BCTC negotiations?

– 30-
CONTACT: Indigenous Rights Alliance
c/o Tribal Chief David Luggi
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council
Prince George, B.C. V2L 3N2
Phone: 250.562.6279 or 1-800-280-8722
Fax: 250.562.8206

Further Reading

BC Treaty Monster Grows 3 Heads
New Relationship or Final Solution? (pdf)
Recognition and Coexistence of Aboriginal Land Rights in Canada
It is time to walk away from the BC Treaty Process

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