Lake Babine Nation

Lake Babine Nation

December 05, 2011 12:51 ET

Lake Babine Nation Demands an Apology from the Gitxsan Treaty Office for Infringing on its Territory

BABINE LAKE, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Dec. 5, 2011) - The Lake Babine Nation is demanding an apology from the Gitxsan Treaty Office (GTO) for signing an agreement with Enbridge that could impact the Lake Babine Nation's lands and resources without first consulting with the Lake Babine Nation.

Chief Wilf Adam, speaking for the Lake Babine Nation states, "The pipeline will not cross Gitxsan territory. They will not bear any of the risks or the costs. It is us, along with the other Nations through whose territories the tar sands oil will be transported, who will suffer the consequences. It is us who stand to lose our resources, our way of life. By supporting Enbridge the GTO has potentially encouraged an infringement upon our Rights and Title. And they have done so without any prior consultation."

Chief Adam goes on to say, "The GTO has shown an incredible disrespect for their neighbouring First Nations. The Lake Babine Nation demands an immediate apology and a commitment to consult with us in the future."

It is also seeking a formal retraction and apology from the Gitxsan Treaty Office for the statements their Chief Negotiator, Elmer Derrick, gave to the media December 2. Mr. Derrick described five streams that flow into Babine Lake, and the salmon they support, as, "an important resource to the Gitxsan. He also said that the Gitxsan, "want to be at the same table with Enbridge to have a say in how the pipeline will be built".

Chief Adam declares, "The streams, Babine Lake, and the salmon resources they support, are all within the territory of the Lake Babine Nation. These are the Lake Babine Nation's resources, not the Gitxsan Treaty Office's. Neither Mr. Derrick, nor the GTO, has any right to speak to anyone about our resources or the way that may be developed."

The Lake Babine Nation demands a retraction of Mr. Derrick's statement and an apology from the Gitxsan Treaty Office for Mr. Derrick's remarks. Chief Adam continues, "People know I oppose the Enbridge's Gateway project. And I am appalled that the GTO would support Enbridge at the expense of other First Nations. But this is not why I am angry. I am angry because the GTO is encouraging resource development on Lake Babine Nation's territory, and has done so without any prior consultation with our Nation."

Chief Adam concluded by saying that, "The Enbridge pipeline will come within 200 feet of my house. It won't come within 50 miles of Gitxsan territory. It is the Lake Babine Nation, along with many, many others that will bear all the risks and costs, not the GTO."

The Lake Babine Nation's territory lies north of Highway 16, stretching from east of Burns Lake to well west and north of Smithers. It encompasses Babine Lake, the second largest sockeye producing system in the Province. Salmon remains a vital contributor to the Lake Babine Nation's culture and economy. In 2011 the Lake Babine Nation's commercial fishery was the second largest sockeye fishery in British Columbia producing almost 200,000 selectively harvested sockeye.

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