Lake Babine First Nation concerns

Lake Babine Nation concerned with claims to its traditional territory.

Members of Lake Babine Nation (LBN) in Burns Lake received an update on the current state of treaty negotiations under the six-stage B.C. Treaty process last week.

Members of (LBN) are concerned that their own treaty negotiations may be compromised by the competing claims of a neighbouring First Nation – the Yekooche Nation – near Fort St. James.

According to the BC Treaty Commission website, the Yekooche are nearing a final treaty agreement. BC Treaty Commission maps outlining the traditional territories of LBN and those territories claimed as traditional by Yekooche show significant overlap, especially around Babine Lake.

Lake Babine Nation has made considerable progress under an Incremental Treaty Agreement (ITA) toward negotiating title to several parcels of land in the Babine Lake area. The ITA, according to LBN Chief Wilf Adam, is not a treaty agreement and does not diminish any LBN claims or title to their traditional territories.

Lake Babine Nation is in stage four of the treaty process. Yekooche are in stage 5, with an agreement in principle formulated.

“There is a danger for LBN that when Yekooche reach a final agreement we will lose some exclusive rights in the east end of Babine Lake from Old Fort east,” Adam said. “This is because the government may grant rights to Yekooche deep into our territory for their use.”

Yekooche First Nation currently holds a non-renewable forest licence to cut west of Fort St. James. The 49,000 cubic metre per year 5-year license will expire on Nov. 30, 2014.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (MFLNRO) has indicated that the award of a license to cut does not mean the MFLNRO tacitly acknowledges the territorial claims on the part of Yekooche Nation.  According to the MFLNRO, the award of the forest license to cut to Yekooche Nation was the outcome of a normal bidding process.

But Chief Adam remains concerned, and attempts to resolve LBN’s position with the Yekooche have not been fruitful.

“Yekooche is already reaping forestry benefits within our territory because of their false claim within our territory,” he said. “We have made every attempt in finding a fair and correct solution with Yekooche but to no avail. They will not sit down with us in a meaningful manner.”

Although Yekooche Nation is at an advanced stage of treaty negotiations, the B.C. Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation (MARR) cautions that it is not accurate to characterize the situation as a race to reach a treaty.

According to clarification received from MARR, a treaty with one First Nation does not diminish the rights or title of another First Nation with overlapping interests. Treaty provisions with each nation would address overlapping interests or claims.

A complication is that LBN may not recognize the territorial claims made in Yekooche treaty negotiations. Where the treaty commission may see overlap, Adam and the LBN negotiation team may see a false territorial claim.

For concerned LBN members, the dangers of the Yekooche claim are not limited to the recognition of traditional title.

“If that [Yekooche negotiates a treaty for LBN territories] happens, Yekooche will do anything they want in our territory without our consent,” Chief Adam said. “We will never let that happen and will use all means possible to fully protect our territory.”

Yekooche Nation Chief Parent was not available for comment at press time. The Ministry of Aboriginal Recognition and Reconciliation was unable to comment on the specifics of the situation as both LBN an Yekooche are currently engaged in treaty negotiations.

 

Just Posted

Taking bids for the Burns Lake community

Potential buyers attend the 50th Annual Rotary Auction at the Rotary Club… Continue reading

Bulkley-Nechako District gets new Chairperson, Board of Directors

The Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) on Nov. 15 elected a new… Continue reading

B.C. boosts 2018 wildfire recovery aid by $10 million

The British Columbia government has allocated an additional $10 million in support… Continue reading

Burns Lake marks 100 years since Armistice

Burns Lake residents on Nov. 11 held a Remembrance Day ceremony at… Continue reading

B.C. Legions in need of young members to continue aiding veterans into the future

Lest we forget what thousands of men and women did to fight for Canada’s freedoms – but without new membership, many Legion chapters face dwindling numbers

Trudeau offers to help Pacific islands face climate change impact

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with the leaders from the Pacific island nations on Saturday during the APEC Summit in Papua New Guinea

BC Minister of Agriculture loses stepson to accidental overdose

Lana Popham announces death of her 23-year-old stepson, Dan Sealey

Canadian military’s template for perfect recruits outdated: Vance

Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of defence staff says that the military has to change because the very nature of warfare is changing, particularly when it comes to cyber-warfare

‘Toxic’ chosen as the Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries

Other top contenders for 2018 include ‘gaslighting’ and ‘techlash’

RCMP bust illegal B.C. cannabis lab

Marijuana may be legal but altering it using chemicals violates the Cannabis Act

Canada defeats Germany 29-10 in repechage, moves step closer to Rugby World Cup

Hong Kong needs a bonus-point win over Canada — scoring four or more tries — while denying the Canadians a bonus point

Avalanche Canada in desperate need of funding

The organization provides avalanche forecasting for an area larger than the United Kingdom

Quesnel fed up with detour, urges Ottawa to speed up road repair

West Fraser Road has been on detour since spring 2018, with no plans to repair washout until 2020

5 B.C. cities break temperature records

Parts of B.C. remain warm, at 10 C, while others feeling chilly

Most Read