West Moberly First Nations

West Moberly First Nations
Prophet River First Nation

Prophet River First Nation

May 10, 2016 15:07 ET

Federal Liberals Implementation of United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples a Hypocrisy in the Making

FORT ST. JOHN, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - May 10, 2016) - Prophet River First Nation and West Moberly First Nations support Canada's change of heart in its declared intent to drop Canada's permanent objector status and "fully adopt" the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), but say it is time for concrete action to implement this almost decade old agreement in a serious and meaningful manner.

Ground zero for meaningfully implementing UNDRIP and addressing impacts to First Nations' rights is the Peace River Valley; currently under the threat of the Site C dam. If the Federal Liberal government is serious about meaningfully implementing UNDRIP, stopping Site C is a pivotal first step.

The Site C dam in Treaty 8 Territory in northeast British Columbia is an infringement on First Nations Treaty rights. "The Peace River Valley is an incredibly important place for the practice of Treaty rights and its cultural significance to our people cannot be put into words." says West Moberly Chief Roland Willson. "This sentiment is echoed by Prophet River Chief Lynette Tsakoza, "The destruction of the Peace River Valley will have a devastating impact on our peoples' ability to maintain our traditional mode of life and cultural identity."

Article 8 of the UNDRIP states, "Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right not to be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of their culture." The Federal government allowing Site C to proceed is a violation of the UNDRIP and of the Liberal party's election promise to rebuilt its relationship with Canada's First Nations. It shows the adoption of the UNDRIP is nothing but lip service to First Nations people of Canada.

The First Nations are frustrated by the position of the governing Liberals that hides behind the approval of Site C by the previous government, a government which refused to fully adopt or implement UNDRIP. The current Federal government is issuing Site C permits without meaningful consultation with First Nations, and without even responding to the First Nations' request for a moratorium on permits until final resolution of their court challenges to the project. Canada has informed the First Nations that it intends to wrap up consultation on the key permits for Site C's construction and operation, despite the fact that they have yet to meet with the First Nations.

It is time for the Federal government to put its words into action. Anything short of stopping Site C is confirmation that Canada's adoption of the UNDRIP is nothing short of a hypocrisy in the making.

Contact Information

  • West Moberly First Nations
    Chief Roland Willson
    (250) 783-0733

    Prophet River First Nation
    Chief Lynette Tsakoza
    (250) 783-0733