The BC Government is taking steps towards healing its relationship with the Cheslatta Carrier Nation located in the northwest region of the province.
Premier Christy Clark signed a framework agreement Monday with the Cheslatta people to help shape a better future. It’s been more than 60 years since the Cheslatta people were displaced from their homes and cultural sites as a result of the Kenny Dam being constructed.
During a visit with the Cheslatta community, Clark was on hand to see one of the graveyards that has been subject to flooding. “With goodwill and commitment we are working to chart a new path to reconciliation and the agreement we’ve signed today moves us closer to that goal,” she said.
Cheslatta Chief Corrina Leween, says she feels re-assured the two parties can now move forward. “The recognition and willingness of the provincial government to resolve this on-going issue between the Cheslatta t’en and BC give me confidence that, as a community leader, I can move my people forward with dignity toward a long term resolution.”
The framework agreement between Cheslatta and the province is set to explore economic opportunities in the resource sector, support future infrastructure developments, and training initiatives. In addition, potential transfers of Crown Land and resource-use tenures for economic and social development will also be reviewed.
Sales of private land for community expansion and economic development will also be considered, but only on a willing seller or buyer basis.
Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, John Rustad, says the framework agreement provides the Cheslatta with early befits up to a maximum of $2.3 million. “We are working with Cheslatta to create new social and economic opportunities,” he said. “In true partnership, we’re going to be looking at ways to address flooding issues in Cheslatta lands and seeking agreement on measures to improve their economic prospects and quality of life.”