FORT NELSON, B.C. – The Fort Nelson First Nation has responded to a group of members that wants to break ranks and set up a separate First Nation.
According to a letter that was sent to the First Nations’ members from Acting Chief Sharleen Gale and the rest of the Council, the First Nation has learned that member William Capot-Blanc wishes to start his own Nation, the Thecannie Koe First Nation.
In the letter, which was also sent to the Ministry of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, it states that, “After over sixty years of experience in attempting to protect our interests, culture, language, and community by working through the Fort Nelson First Nation, the members of the Thecannie First Nation have, after thorough consideration, decided that our distinctive culture and our interests will be best served by de-amalgamating/separating from the Fort Nelson First Nation.”
The First Nation’s Council responded with a statement that was sent to members, where they stated that they were “greatly concerned” to hear about the claims that have been levelled against them, and that the letter from Capot-Blanc was the first time that they had heard of the allegations. The statement from the First Nation Council also states that Capot-Blanc’s group have not brought their grievances before Council, and “have never made an effort to work through an alternative to separation.”
According to the statement, the Fort Nelson First Nation Council says that the federal government “does not encourage the creation of new First Nations and has a formal policy in place to govern circumstances where a legitimate band separation may take place,” which includes that the ‘parent’ First Nation must support the separation with a Band Council resolution.
Council added in the statement that several members that had signed the petition to separate had asked to have their names removed by Council after apparently being given inaccurate information about the proposed separation.
Energeticcity.ca left a pair of phone messages with the Fort Nelson First Nation to get their comment on the statement last week, but those calls have not been returned.