OTTAWA, O.N. — The Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde announced his support for Treaty 8 First Nations and everyone that participated in the Rally for the Peace River Valley on Parliament Hill yesterday.
“The federal governments’ approach to the Site C dam project in British Columbia is contrary to our rights in Canada’s own Constitution and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” said Chief Bellegarde. “The review process was flawed and the environmental impact assessment said clearly that the Site C dam will undermine Indigenous rights and destroy burial sites, farmland, hunting and gathering places and sacred spaces.”
BC Assembly of First Nations Acting Regional Chief Maureen Chapman said: “There is now an opportunity for a new government in British Columbia to work with us, to correct a faulty decision-making process and ensure that First Nations rights are respected and upheld. We will continue to push for a new approach to development that respects our people and our traditional territories.”
Participants in yesterday’s rally in Ottawa were urging the federal government to break its silence and commit to honouring and upholding the Treaty rights of affected First Nations. Treaty 8 First Nations have taken legal action to overturn approvals of the hydroelectric dam project that will flood thousands of acres of their traditional territories and prevent them from exercising their rights.
The Assembly of First Nations says that if built, the Site C project will worsen impacts from existing large-scale hydroelectric development in the region and further devastate traditional First Nations territory.