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Prophet River First Nation, BC Hydro, B.C. reach agreements, settle litigation

Prophet River First Nation, BC Hydro, B.C. reach agreements, settle litigation

August 5, 2020 at 2:30 pm  BC, News, Politics

The Province of British Columbia, BC Hydro and Prophet River First Nation have reached two agreements that result in the discontinuation of the Nation’s civil claim against BC Hydro and the Province on alleged infringement of Treaty 8 rights related to the Site C project.

The Province will work with Prophet River to improve land management and restore traditional place names in certain areas of cultural significance. Prophet River will also receive ongoing payments during the operation of the Site C project and the transfer of provincial Crown lands, as well as a woodland licence for community forest management.

The Province and Prophet River will engage with local governments, stakeholders and neighbouring First Nations during land management discussions and prior to any Crown lands being transferred. The next steps will include identifying specific parcels of Crown land to propose for potential transfer.

The components of the agreements between the three groups include:

  • an impact benefits agreement between BC Hydro and Prophet River First Nation;
  • a tripartite land agreement between BC Hydro, the provincial government and Prophet River First Nation; and
  • a letter of commitment signed by the Province.

The Province and BC Hydro are committed to implementing the agreements with Prophet River First Nation in recognition of the Nation’s cultural values and Treaty rights.

Prophet River First Nation is a proud community of Dunne-za (Beaver people), whose ancestors have lived in northeast B.C. since time immemorial. Prophet River joined Treaty No. 8 in 1910.

Quotes:

Councillor Beverly Stager, Prophet River First Nation –

“Site C has painfully impacted Prophet River and other Treaty 8 Nations. These agreements cannot undo the past, but we are ready for a new future. We accept the promise of a better relationship with B.C. and BC Hydro and have faith that these agreements will help to protect what remains of the Treaty 8 lands and waters cherished so deeply by our people.”

Councillor Jacqueline Reno, Prophet River First Nation –

“These agreements will not prevent Site C from flooding the Peace River or address impacts of the previous dams. But they are a new start with B.C. and BC Hydro, a chance to move forward with mutual respect and common purpose using Treaty 8 as our guide.”

Chris O’Riley, president and CEO, BC Hydro –

“BC Hydro, the Province of British Columbia and Prophet River First Nation worked collaboratively to reach these agreements. These agreements represent an important step in resolving differences through good-faith dialogue and will help build a long-term, collaborative and mutually beneficial relationship.”

Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation –

“Our preference is always to resolve issues at the table rather than through the courts, and we appreciate the commitment by leadership from Prophet River First Nation and BC Hydro to keep talking so we could come to a resolution. By having everyone at the table and working together with collaboration and respect, we can move away from uncertainty and conflict, and create opportunities that benefit everyone in B.C.”

Quick Facts:

  • Prophet River First Nation is signatory to Treaty No. 8 along with seven other First Nations in northeast B.C.
  • Prophet River First Nation is located south of Fort Nelson and has approximately 292 members.
  • Prophet River First Nation members have rights to hunt, fish, trap and carry out other traditional practices under Treaty 8 in areas that include the Peace River and the location of the Site C project.

Learn More:

Site C Project Tripartite Land Agreement:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/environment/natural-resource-stewardship/consulting-with-first-nations/agreements/2020-03-27_bc-bch-prfn_landagreement.pdf

Ministerial Commitment Letter:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/environment/natural-resource-stewardship/consulting-with-first-nations/agreements/2020-03-27_bc-prfn_ministerialcommitment.pdf

Prophet River First Nation: https://prophetriverfirstnation.com/

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