TORONTO | TRADITIONAL TERRITORIES OF THE HURON-WENDAT, THE ANISHNAABEG, HAUDENOSAUNEE, CHIPPEWAS AND THE MISSISSAUGAS OF THE CREDIT FIRST NATION — A court victory for Blueberry River First Nations in northeastern British Columbia means their lands and way of life must be protected from further provincially sanctioned industrial development. Rachel Plotkin, boreal program manager with the David Suzuki Foundation, issued the following statement:
“This is a hard-earned win for Blueberry River First Nations. Their traditional territory, like so many other First Nation territories, has been devastated by industrial resource extraction for decades. Blueberry members have been leaders in fighting for a sustainable approach to land management, but it is a fight that never should have happened in the first place. The province failed to uphold its treaty obligations, and this ruling finally confirms it.
“Other provinces should take note: the practice of aggressively authorizing resource extraction activities without regard for cumulative ecological impacts and treaty rights is unjust and must change.
“This verdict has restored hope to the people of Blueberry, and is a long-overdue wake-up call to the rest of the country. A new, court-sanctioned model of decision-making will be developed over the next six months, and it will set a precedent for this country. Indigenous Peoples must be at decision-making tables across Canada.
“As people throughout this country reflect on our national journey toward truth and reconciliation, let this decision remind us that the lands we inhabit are shared. We must treat them, and each other, with the respect and care they deserve.
“We look forward to continuing to support Blueberry River First Nations as leaders in restoring their degraded territories and setting a new path forward for land management.”
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The David Suzuki Foundation (davidsuzuki.org) is a leading Canadian environmental non-profit organization, collaborating with all people in Canada, including government and business, to conserve the environment and find solutions that will create a sustainable Canada through evidence-based research, public engagement and policy work. The Foundation operates in English and French, with offices in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.