There can be no lasting reconciliation while Indigenous peoples’ rights are being trampled on, diminished and frozen in the past. There can be no trust in your government while the words you say to the public ring false in the court rooms.”

Grand Chief Stewart Philip

Eleven years ago, UNDRIP (The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples) was endorsed by many states, including Canada. Governments have a responsibility to respect, protect and fulfill these rights.

Treaty 8 ensures that the Indigenous peoples of the Peace River Valley have the right to use the land and waters to follow their traditional and ancient practices there. They were granted an injunction to fight for these rights in the court, but the hearing has shown clearly how deeply flawed is the government and BC Hydro’s approach to these Treaty rights.

Despite public commitment to respect Treaty rights, the opposite is happening in the courts. The narrow, one-sided interpretation of the Treaty is so harmful to the rights of Indigenous peoples throughout BC that the Union of BC Indian Chiefs has asked for an apology and retraction.

On October 25, the Supreme Court denied the request to order a halt to construction of the dam while the Treaty hearing was still being heard. It is still possible to turn this shameful and hypocritical process around, and stop trampling on the rights of Indigenous peoples.

Join us in Amnesty to write urgent letters to Premier Horgan to change empty words into a new era of honest and respectful relationship with Indigenous peoples.

A letter-writing session will take place in the Courtenay Library meeting room on Monday, November 12 from 6pm to 8pm.

 

Vivien Adams