OTTAWA, Dec. 2 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo and AFN British Columbia Regional Chief Jody Wilson-Raybould continue to call on governments to fulfill the duty to consult and accommodate First Nations and work to facilitate meaningful partnerships prior to any development in First Nation traditional territories.
"First Nations must be directly engaged and involved in any discussions and activities regarding economic development in their traditional territories," said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo. "This is consistent with the duty to consult and accommodate First Nations, as mandated by the Supreme Court of Canada and is consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which was recently endorsed by Canada. To be clear, First Nations are not opposed to development but it must be responsible, sustainable and based on partnership."
National Chief Atleo and Regional Chief Wilson-Raybould's comments support the more than 60 BC First Nation communities that have united against the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline that will impact their traditional territories and Aboriginal and Treaty rights. The proposed pipeline will deliver oil from Alberta's tar sands to the west coast port of Kitimat, BC, crossing through a number of First Nation communities that would be impacted by potential oil spills and tanker traffic.
"Those First Nations whose rights and territories will be impacted by the proposed Enbridge pipeline must have a say," said AFN BC Regional Chief Jody Wilson-Raybould. "Whether through the formal environmental assessment process or otherwise, First Nations are stepping forward and speaking out as stewards of the land and the environment. We must respect the autonomy of our Nations and ensure that the serious environmental and cultural considerations are given full weight and balanced with competing economic interests."
Next summer, the Assembly of First Nations will bring together First Nations, government and industry in the spirit of respect and partnership for a special forum dedicated to importance and benefits to including First Nations in economic development opportunities. The International Indigenous Summit on Energy and Mining will explore sustainable and responsible resource development, current and future best practices in green energy and the many opportunities for First Nations to contribute to the Canadian and world economies.
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nation citizens in Canada.
For further information: For further information:
Jenna Young, Communications Officer, Assembly of First Nations 613-241-6789, ext 401, 613-314-8157 (mobile) or [email protected]
Alain Garon, AFN Bilingual Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 382, 613 292-0857 or [email protected]