*Update Jan.8th-First Nations prepare for arrest to stop Site C dam, ask Prime Minister to suspend Federal approval
UPDATED January 8th-2016 – new release by Grand Chief Stewart Philip
January 8th, 2016
UBCIC Calls on BC Hydro to Back off from Peaceful Site C Protestors in Treaty 8 Territory
(Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver, B.C.- January 8th, 2016) The Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) is denouncing BC Hydro’s deliberately provocative and reckless attempts at fast tracking construction on the proposed Site C project despite the legal uncertainty of the project moving forward.
Treaty 8 Stewards of the Land have been camped out at the historic Rocky Mountain Fort Camp since late December to defend their traditional territory in the face of the proposed $9 billion Site C dam, which would flood 107 kilometers of the Peace River and its tributaries. Local landowners have also joined in the fight.
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of UBCIC, stated, “We are absolutely outraged that BC Hydro is working at the proposed dam site when critical court proceedings are in motion and a decision on Site C proceeding has yet to be determined. Yesterday, BC Hydro moved equipment in toward the camp, despite publicly saying they are speaking with Site C dam protestors and local authorities to try to peacefully end the standoff. The RCMP made three arrests at the north bank entrance of the project yesterday morning including a former regional district director. We are deeply concerned that BC Hydro’s actions are increasing tensions on the ground.”
Through formal resolutions, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs fully supports the efforts of Treaty 8 First Nations to ensure that their Aboriginal and Treaty Rights are honoured and preserved.
Grand Chief Phillip concluded “We continue to urge the provincial and federal governments to immediately cease proceeding with the proposed Site C dam project until such time as the Site C court proceedings are complete and the Site C Dam proposal is properly reviewed by the BC Utilities Commission. Further provocations on the part of BC Hydro will only serve to escalate tensions in an already volatile situation.”
For further information, contact:
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip
President, Union of BC Indian Chiefs
Phone: (250) 490-5314
Treaty 8 Stewards of the Land call on Trudeau to stop megadam in B.C.’s Peace Valley
ROCKY MOUNTAIN FORT CAMP, BC, Jan. 7, 2016 /CNW/ – First Nations members camped out at an historic fort site slated for destruction by the Site C dam say they are prepared to face arrest to protect their traditional territory.
Joined by local landowners, Treaty 8 Stewards of the Land say they will not permit BC Hydro to proceed with plans to clear-cut forests around the Rocky Mountain Fort site on the west side of the Moberly River. The site, selected by explorer Alexander Mackenzie, was the first trading post in mainland B.C. and is situated in the traditional territory of Treaty 8 First Nations.
The $9 billion Site C dam would flood 107-kilometres of the scenic Peace River and its tributaries, including the traditional hunting and fishing grounds of Treaty 8 First Nations. In late December, despite three on-going First Nations court cases against the dam, BC Hydro built a bridge across the mouth of the Moberly River in preparation for logging in the proposed reservoir area.
In addition to its legal, economic, political and archaeological significance to indigenous and non-indigenous people, the camp is the gateway to the rest of the threatened Peace Valley. BC Hydro has served notice that the camp must be dismantled.
“Logging and flooding this part of the Peace Valley will irreversibly harm our ability to hunt, fish, trap and exercise other constitutionally-protected Treaty Rights, especially since much of the rest of Treaty 8 Territory has been devastated by other hydro-electric, oil and gas and industrial developments,” said Art Napoleon, “To have any meaning, these treaty rights require a land base and waterways where there are wildlife and fish, and which is capable of supporting a diversity of plant life. Treaty rights also include management level decision-making to protect moose calving grounds, medicine harvesting and berry picking, and spiritual practices – all of which will be obliterated by Site C.”
A delegation of First Nations chiefs told Prime Minister Trudeau’s key Cabinet members in December that suspending federal approval of the Site C dam is a critical litmus test of his government’s promised new relationship with Indigenous Peoples.
“The Prime Minister says that Canada’s most important relationship is with its Indigenous Peoples and that he promises to uphold and respect Treaty Rights,” said Helen Knott, “This is what we are trying to do at a grassroots level. I speak as Great Great Granddaughter of Chief Bigfoot, the last to sign Treaty 8 in 1911, and I am trying to honour my Grandfather’s original intent and uphold those rights he meant to protect. I ask Prime Minister Trudeau to also honour that original intent.”
“We applaud the court cases being brought by West Moberly, Prophet River and others, but they take time to wind their way through the courts. Meanwhile, before the court cases are even heard, BC Hydro is destroying the very valley that these court cases are intended to protect. The way I see it, they are stealing from future generations, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous. We are not here just for us but for the ones that will come after us,” said Helen Knott. “As individual Treaty 8 First Nation members, we cannot stand by. Do I want to be arrested? No, I am here peacefully doing what I believe is right and needed but this land is a part of who I am and I will take a stand for it. Prime Minister Trudeau can stop BC Hydro from destroying the Peace Valley. Until he does, we will”.
SOURCE Treaty 8 Stewards of the Land
For further information: Helen Knott, Prophet River First Nation member and Treaty 8 Steward of the Land, at (250) 280 2277; Art Napoleon, Saulteau First Nations member and Treaty 8 Steward of the Land, at (250) 818 5626
1) BC Hydro issues eviction notice under cover of New Years Eve https://lailayuile.com/2016/01/02/bc-hydro-issues-rocky-mountain-fort-campers-at-site-c-a-24-hour-eviction-notice-on-new-years-eve/
2) A litmus test for ‘Real Change’ : where is Justin Trudeau on Site C? Why isn’t new federal government investigating why Harper invoked cabinet secrecy on Site C decison? https://lailayuile.com/2016/01/04/the-litmus-test-for-real-change-where-is-prime-minister-justin-trudeau-on-sitec/
3) ( photos of demonstration here) Separate demonstration at Site C BC Hydro gates results in three arrests, including Arthur Hadland- long time former Peace River politician https://lailayuile.com/2016/01/06/longtime-peace-river-politician-and-site-c-opponent-arthur-hadland-arrested-at-site-c-demonstration-today