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Settlement for Cheslatta Carrier First Nation 60 years later

BC’s Aboriginal relations minister says a new agreement with a small First Nation will right the wrongs of more than 60 years ago.

John Rustad says the people of the Cheslatta Carrier Nation near Burns Lake have been waiting for years for the government to acknowledge that the construction of a hydroelectric dam flooded their traditional territory.

He says despite the flooding, it’s always been a goal of the Carrier Nation to return.

The Kenney Dam was built to supply power to the Rio Tinto Alcan aluminum smelter but it destroyed hunting, fishing and living areas and dried up parts of the Nechako River.

Rustad says consultations were non-existent when the dam was built.

He says while the province still has to iron out details with Rio Tinto and the federal government, Rustad reaffirms the province’s commitment to working with the Cheslatta Carrier Nation to conclude a settlement.

The area still experiences regular flooding and water from the dam often flows through the graveyard, exposing coffins and remains.

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