Nak’azdli First Nation goes to court, evicts company

Nak’azdli First Nation goes to court, evicts company

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John Ahni Schertow
June 26, 2009
 

The Nak’azdli First Nation filed a petition against the province of British Columbia this week, in an effort to defend their rights and block a copper and gold mine project from being developed on their Traditional lands.

“The petition states that Nakazdli were promised a government-to-government process by the Ministry of Mines before the decision on the mine proceeding was made,” explains a June 24 Press Release from the Nak’azdli. “The province has since proceeded to approve the project and has started the permitting process for the company to begin activity on the proposed mine site. This petition has been filed against the province of British Columbia for its failure to properly consult and accommodate Nak’azdli regarding the proposed Mt. Milligan project.”

Nak’azdli Chief Fred Sam says they’ve been left with no choice but to file a petition against the proposed mine, which is licensed to the Vancouver-based company Terrane Metals. Cheif Sam says the also plane to serve Terrane Metals “with an eviction notice, demanding that they remove all their infrastructure and equipment from Nak’azdli territory.”

“The province has broken a significant promise to Nak’azdli,” Chief Sam continues. “We have been reasonable and proactive in proposing a government-to-government process, and the BC government has failed to respect our decision-making authority on our lands. The Nak’azdli people and the Nation River keyoh holders, are angry that Terrane Metals and the Government of British Columbia continue to ignore their aboriginal rights and title interests. Nak’azdli has a duty to protect our lands, and we are forced to act on that duty.”

The Naka’zdli put out a warning last March that they were “prepared to consider all options” to protect their rights and concerns, and that the govenrment was blatantly ignoring recent court decisions about their duty to consult, as well as their own promises about a “new relationship” with First Nations.

Cheif Sam goes on to say, “Nak’azdli has been patient. We have given Terrane Metals and the government of British Columbia reasonable opportunity to seek an agreement to operate within Nak’azdli Territory in a manner that respects our aboriginal rights and title interests, but they have failed to do so. “Nak’azdli has presented the environmental, social and cultural impacts and concerns to the government and the company. According to independent studies conducted over the past two years it is apparent that this proposed project will cause damage to our land, and infringements to our aboriginal right and title. Nak’azdli will not sit idly by as our lands are exploited without our consent.”

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