OTTAWA, Oct. 26, 2016 /CNW/ - Following a tour of Treaty 8 territory and the areas that will be affected by the proposed Site C hydroelectric dam in northern British Columbia, Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde called for alternatives to the project, saying plans to flood the Peace River Valley will lay waste to sacred burial grounds, traditional territories and agricultural land.
"My visit was an opportunity to see firsthand the devastating social, cultural and environmental damage this project will inflict on Treaty 8 First Nations," said AFN National Chief Bellegarde. "I am standing with Treaty 8 First Nations and First Nations across the country in opposing this project and standing up for First Nations rights. This project ignores the legal requirement under Canadian law to fully assess impacts on Indigenous peoples' rights. Domestic and international law directs Canada to respect our rights. The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples calls for free, prior and informed consent. Canada's approach to planning, managing and regulating development needs an overhaul and First Nations need to be part of that work."
The National Chief toured the area on October 22. The tour began in Fort St. John with leadership from West Moberly First Nation and Prophet River First Nation and included travel along the Peace River and a guided aerial tour of the territory. Treaty 8 First Nations have taken legal action to overturn approvals of the controversial hydroelectric dam project that will flood thousands of acres of Treaty 8 traditional territory and prevent Treaty 8 First Nations from exercising their rights. The Site C project, if built, will exacerbate impacts from existing large-scale hydroelectric development in the region and will devastate traditional First Nations territory.
There are numerous national AFN resolutions calling for action to stop Site C, including AFN resolution 03/2010, resolution 41/2015 and resolution 71/2015. AFN resolutions can be found at: afn.ca/en/resolutions
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.
SOURCE Assembly of First Nations
For further information: Alain Garon, Bilingual Communications Officer, 613-241-6789 ext. 382, 613-292-0857 (cell), [email protected]; Jenn Jefferys, Communications Officer, 613-222-9656, [email protected]