Premier and Cheslatta First Nation sign framework agreement for development

Approximately 200 people gathered by the shore of Cheslatta Lake on Sept. 12, 2016 to welcome the first premier ever to visit the Southside.

Cheslatta Carrier Nation Chief Corrina Leween (left) and B.C. Premier Christy Clark high five after signing a historic framework agreement

Cheslatta Carrier Nation Chief Corrina Leween (left) and B.C. Premier Christy Clark high five after signing a historic framework agreement

Flavio NienowLakes District News

 

Approximately 200 people gathered by the shore of Cheslatta Lake on Sept. 12, 2016 to welcome B.C. premier Christy Clark, the first premier ever to visit the Southside.

Clark was there to sign a framework agreement between the provincial government and Cheslatta Carrier Nation (CCN), which was designed to help heal historic wounds and shape a better future.

It has been more than 60 years since the Cheslatta people were displaced from their homes and cultural sites to make way for construction of Kenney Dam in northwestern B.C. Over the past 63 years, CCN regularly recover skeletal remains of their ancestors on the lakeshore and estimate that more than 60 Cheslatta graves have been destroyed.

The premier’s visit included seeing first-hand one of the graveyards that has been subject to the almost yearly flooding.

“What an incredible honour to be welcomed so warmly by a community that was treated with such profound injustice by a previous provincial government,” said Clark. “We cannot change history, but working together, we can create more opportunity and sustainable prosperity for the Cheslatta people.”

During her visit, Clark connected with Cheslatta members – including children -, offering to take photos with them and asking about their lives. The historic framework agreement was signed on the hood of a truck, honouring a longtime Cheslatta tradition.

Cheslatta Carrier Nation Chief Corrina Leween said she believes this agreement is a significant milestone for the Cheslatta community.

“I’m excited, emotional and pleased,” said Chief Leween. “The recognition and willingness of the provincial government to resolve this ongoing issue between the Cheslatta and B.C. gives me confidence that, as a community leader, I can move my people forward with dignity toward a long-term resolution.”

Through the framework agreement, CCN and the province will explore economic opportunities in the resource sector, power infrastructure to support future industrial development, cultural, heritage and training initiatives and financial payments. The potential transfers of Crown land and resource-use tenures for economic and social development will also be examined.

The purchase of private land for community expansion and economic development will be considered, but only on a willing seller, willing buyer basis. Overall, the framework agreement provides CCN with early benefits up to a maximum of $2.3million.

Regional Chief of the B.C. Assembly of First Nations Shane Gottfriedson, First Nations Summit’s Grand Chief Edward John and John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, were on hand and also spoke during the event.

“In true partnership, we’re going to be looking at ways to address flooding issues in Cheslatta lands and seeking agreement on measures to improve their economic prospects and quality of life,” said Rustad.

Lakes District News asked premier Clark if she believes the provincial government and Canada will eventually be able to undo the harm that was done to Aboriginal Peoples by previous governments and help heal those relationships.

“I think we are heading in the right direction,” said Clark. “What I see is more and more First Nations like Cheslatta, who want to go down the path of reconciliation. It takes two to want to do it. And we have to, we have to heal these wounds. We should never forget them, but we have to find a way to get past them and change the future.”

“I think we’re on the path to a great future together, but it takes two sides, and Cheslatta have the courage to do that.”

Just Posted

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

The Binche Fishing Derby at Stuart Lake is fast approaching. (Binche Fishing Derby Facebook photo)
Binche shares excitement for upcoming fishing derby

“It’s more than just fishing,” says Dave Birdi

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Local youth vaccination clinics underway

Pfizer vaccine will be used

Priya Sharma. (Submitted)
Column: Why ultimatums don’t work

By Priya Sharma It is a common misconception that people can choose… Continue reading

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Fans watch the warm-up before Game 6 between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens in NHL playoff hockey action Saturday, May 29, 2021 in Montreal. Quebec’s easing of COVID-19 restrictions will allow 2,500 fans to attend the game for the first time in fourteen months. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Two-thirds of Canadians say governments shouldn’t lift all COVID-19 restrictions

Poll reports Canadians who gained pandemic weight say they have gained 16 pounds on average

Paul Bernardo is shown in this courtroom sketch during Ontario court proceedings via video link in Napanee, Ont., on October 5, 2018. Teen killer and serial rapist Paul Bernardo is set for a parole hearing today. The designated dangerous offender, has been eligible for full parole for more than three years. Bernardo’s horrific crimes in the 1980s and early 1990s include for kidnapping, torturing and killing Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy near St. Catharines, Ont. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Greg Banning
Killer rapist Paul Bernardo faces parole hearing today; victim families opposed

Designated dangerous offender has been eligible for full parole for more than three years.

People look over the damage after a tornado touched down in Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal, Monday, June 21, 2021. Dozens of homes were damaged and one death has been confirmed. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
One dead and extensive damage as tornado hits Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal

Damage reported in several parts of the city, and emergency teams dispatched to sectors hardest hit

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

Most Read