AFN National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo issues strong support of Okanagan
Indian Band's actions to protect its community and Territories

OTTAWA, Feb. 20 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo issued the following statement supporting the Okanagan Indian Band in their efforts to protect their people and territory.

"As National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, and on behalf of our executive, I would like to offer my support to Chief Fabian Alexis and the members of the Okanagan Indian Band in their efforts to protect their community's water supply. The health and safety of the citizens of the Okanagan Indian Band must take priority, as should the Crown's duty to consult with First Nations prior to development on traditional territories.

First Nations support a balanced approach to economic development, but we must be involved, as it is our lands, our lives and our communities directly impacted. Development must be responsible and sustainable based on acceptable standards for consultation and accommodation so no one (First Nations or industry) gets caught in the middle.

I encourage all levels of government to work with First Nation leadership to ensure First Nations are adequately consulted and accommodated in any initiative affecting our lands and resources. This includes free, prior and informed consent by First Nations when it comes to economic development impacting First Nation territories."

In response to the imminent threat to the drinking and irrigation water of the Okanagan Indian Band, the community plans to establish a checkpoint Saturday on Westside Road and to hold a community meeting regarding access by Tolko Industries Limited to prevent industrial logging operations at the Brown Creek Watershed.

SOURCE Assembly of First Nations

For further information: For further information: Jenna Young, Communications Officer at (613) 314-8157 or jyoung@afn.ca


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