Call on our governments to respect Indigenous rights
Our federal and provincial governments have committed to reconciliation with First Nations, but right now they’re betraying that commitment.
Canada and BC are re-negotiating the Columbia River Treaty with the United States, and they are excluding the Ktunaxa, Secwepemc and Syilx Okanagan Nations.
The Nations have joined Canada and BC at pre-negotiation preparatory meetings. However, they are being excluded from the Canada-US CRT negotiations.
These nations were not consulted when the treaty was negotiated to build large dams on the river in the 1960s. Their territories were deeply affected by the flooding and they continue to deal with the impacts of this injustice to this day.
Now’s our chance to leave behind this faulty 1960s thinking and do things differently. First Nations must have a real say, by participating directly in the negotiations.
BC has committed to the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Yet Premier Horgan and Minister Katrine Conroy, BC’s Minister Responsible for the Columbia River Treaty, have been complicit in the exclusion of the Columbia River Basin First Nations.
British Columbia and BC Hydro are being given a direct role in the negotiations, while the Indigenous Nations are excluded from the room. This is disrespectful and is inconsistent with a rights-recognition approach and reconciliation agenda. It sidelines the Indigenous Nations’ rights and interests, including governance role in their own Territories.
Please call on Premier Horgan, Minister Conroy and federal Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland to include First Nations in an active role at the negotiating table!
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