Nadleh Whut’en prepared for a blockade

Nadleh Whut’en prepared for a blockade

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John Ahni Schertow
September 9, 2007
 

On Thursday, the Nadleh Whut’en posted signs warning non-native logging contractors to leave the Vanderhoof District west of Prince George. They’ve also begun positioning themselves for a blockade, which they originally intended to set up on August 31st.

At the time, Chief Martin Louie said they don’t really want to set up a blockade, but they’re being left with no choice, because the contractors just won’t leave.

“We are going to go in first and ask the [non-native logging contractors] to leave and if they don’t, then we’ll do what we have to do,” he said. “We never wanted to do this. We feel like we’ve been pushed into these things.”

Together with the Saik’uz and Stellat’en, the Nadleh Whut’en are also currently working on a position paper for the government to resolve their concerns over monies lost from previous forestry licences.

From the Prince George Citizen – The Nadleh Whut’en Indian Band were putting the finishing touches Friday on a position paper that they hope will help resolve their concerns over a money-losing forestry licences.

The band, which is being joined by two other northern B.C. First Nations, the Saik’uz and Stellat’en First Nations, expects to have the paper on the desks of senior bureaucrats in Victoria by Monday. Their hope is it will pave the way for meetings with Forest Minister Rich Coleman and Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Minister Mike de Jong next week.

The Nadleh Whut’en band has taken steps to position themselves to blockade logging roads on their traditional territory, about 160 kilometres west of Prince George.

However, Nadleh Whut’en chief Martin Louie says they will continue to hold off while they are making progress with Victoria. Originally, the band had set Aug. 31 as a deadline for the province to address their concerns, after a year of talks had led to no resolution.

Louie will be in Vancouver on Monday to meet with the B.C. First Nations Leadership Council, which includes Ed John, a representative of the B.C. First Nations Summit and hereditary chief of the Tl’azt’en Nation northwest of Prince George.

Louie said the leadership council, which also includes Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs Stewart Phillip, has offered to help the band get their concerns addressed.

The Nadleh Whut’en is looking for both short-term relief, perhaps through stumpage (Crown timber fees), and a long-term solution that will address the viability of forestry licences awarded to First Nations.(source)

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