The Blueberry River First Nations says its land is being overrun by non-stop industrial development in BC’s northeast.
Chief Marvin Yahey says a report released this week shows that up to 84 per cent of BRFN traditional territory is now negatively impacted by activities like fracking, forestry, and road building.
“Elders and land users give me daily reports of continuing damage to our lands and water,” says Yahey. “Development has extinguished our traditional way of life on wide areas of our land.”
Yahey says the 2016 Disturbance Atlas shows that the BC government has continued to authorize development at an accelerated rate and scale despite knowing of its worsening effects on Blueberry River traditional territory.
An emailed statement from Aboriginal relations minister John Rustad says the province is aware of the concerns expressed by the Blueberry River First Nations.
“We welcome participation from Blueberry River First Nations. We are committed to reaching a respectful, government-to-government relationship that ensures Blueberry River has both economic opportunities and a strong role in environmental stewardship within their traditional territory,” says Rustad.
He says several attempts have been made to get the nation involved in the northeast cumulative effects program and the Regional Strategic Environmental Assessment project.
Rustad says there will be a renewed attempt to have the Blueberry River First Nations to join regional initiatives which other Treaty 8 Nations are involved with.