Aboriginal group agrees to industry talks

Horses graze on Skeetchestn territory near Kamloops Lake. The band's business ventures include a western village movie set.

The Skeetchestn Indian Band on Kamloops Lake has called off its “peaceful service disruption” that was set to target large resource companies starting this week, and allowed two months to make progress in its demand for resource sharing agreements with public and private companies.

(An earlier version of this story gave an incorrect deadline set by the band council.)

Objecting to logging and other resource activity on its asserted territory around the community of Savona, the band gave notice late last week that it was targeting West Fraser Mills, International Forest Products, Teck Resources, BC Hydro, CN Rail,  CP Rail, Pembina Pipeline Corp. and Spectra Energy. The Skeetchestn council called on aboriginal bands all over B.C. to support them.

Skeetchestn Chief Rick Deneault said Monday he has had offers to meet with seven of the eight companies and his council will not take any action before May 13. The only company he said hasn’t responded was Teck, which operates the Highland Valley copper mine in the region.

In a statement last week announcing the roadblock plan, Deneault cited a recent case of a logging road being constructed by West Fraser, so logs that used to go to a mill in Kamloops can be trucked to 100 Mile House instead.

“The Skeetchestn should receive some financial benefit from those who use our lands, and we should be able to co-manage some of the activities on our lands,” Deneault said. “Companies and governments and their agencies should demonstrate a respect for our opinions about our lands.”

Deneault told CKNW radio on the weekend that the Skeetchestn are not involved in treaty negotiations and don’t have resource sharing agreements for timber such as have been established for Crown timber around the province.

The Skeetchestn maintain that their reserve area was much larger when it was assigned by colonial officials after the Cariboo gold rush of 1858 saw an influx of U.S. miners. Their band’s official history says the reserve area was reduced during the 1860s when Joseph Trutch was B.C.’s Chief Commissioner of Land and Works.

Smallpox reduced the Skeetchestn to the point where only 82 people recorded in the 1877 census, a year after the Indian Act was put in place. The band has since rebuilt its numbers to about 450 people and operates a store and other business ventures.

Just Posted

Charges laid in Vanderhoof hotel homicide

A 24-year-old woman from Spirit River, Alta. has been arrested in connection… Continue reading

Rocky days ahead for Vanderhoof

But sometimes rocky days are the best days

Shovel Lake wildfire grows to 5,000 hectares

The Shovel Lake wildfire has seen substantial growth in the last 24… Continue reading

Four more evacuation alerts, one evacuation order issued

Island Lake newest wildfire of note in the Burns Lake area

Locals come out for a concert in the park

Local musicians and bands featured throughout the day

Average Canadian family spends 43% of income on taxes: study

Fraser Institute’s consumer report shows taxes accounting for larger chunk of income each year

‘It’s like a party in your mouth’

B.C. creator’s Milkshake Burger makes its debut at the PNE

Get involved in the Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count

Environmental organization develops app to help with the nationwide count

Pesticides linked to bee deaths will be phased out in Canada, sources say

Neonicotinoids, or neonics, are a class of pesticides used by farmers and hobby gardeners alike

Wildfire smoke blankets B.C. and Alberta, prompting air quality advisories

About 25 new wildfires were sparked between Monday morning and midday Tuesday

Big bucks for painting of small B.C. town

A 1965 painting of Ashcroft by E. J. Hughes exceeded its pre-auction estimate at a recent sale.

Column: Mother orca’s display of grief sends powerful message

The grief of this orca mother may not be visible anymore, but we must not forget.

Seven people with ties to Red Scorpions gang arrested in B.C. drug bust

Delta police have secured 94 charges against seven people, including drug and firearm offences

Most Read