B.C., Blueberry River First Nations reach agreement
January 20, 2023 By CFI Staff
The B.C. government and Blueberry River First Nations have reached a historic agreement that will guide them forward in a partnership approach to land, water and resource stewardship that ensures Blueberry River members can meaningfully exercise their Treaty 8 rights, and provide stability and predictability for industry in the region.
“This agreement provides a clear pathway to get the hard work started on healing and restoring the land, and start on the joint planning with strong criteria to protect ecosystems, wildlife habitat and old forests,” said Chief Judy Desjarlais of the Blueberry River First Nations. “With the knowledge and guidance of our Elders, this new agreement will ensure there will be healthy land and resources for current and future generations to carry on our people’s way of life.”
The Blueberry River First Nations Implementation Agreement responds to a B.C. Supreme Court decision on June 29, 2021, that found the province had infringed upon Blueberry River’s Treaty 8 rights due to the cumulative impacts of decades of industrial development. The court prohibited the provincial government from authorizing further activities, which unjustifiably infringe Blueberry River’s rights and directed the parties to negotiate a collaborative approach to land management and natural resource development that protects the Nations’ treaty rights.
“I’ve always believed that negotiation, rather than litigation, is the way forward for achieving reconciliation and strengthening vital government-to-government relationships,” said Premier David Eby. “This historic agreement between British Columbia and Blueberry River First Nations not only brings more predictability for the region and local economy but it helps ensure that we are operating on the land in partnership to ensure sustainability for future generations.”
The agreement will transform how the province and First Nations steward land, water and resources together, and address cumulative effects in Blueberry River’s Claim Area through restoration to heal the land, new areas protected from industrial development, and constraint on development activities while a long-term cumulative effects management regime is implemented. In addition, it supports and advances the province’s climate change strategy.
Learn more: B.C. government news.
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