Xwémalhkwu (Homalco) First Nation

January 25, 2005 15:48 ET

MEDIA ADVISORY: Rally for Xwémalhkwu Court Case

Chief Darren Blaney Challenges BC Government to Move Beyond Sleazy Consultation Attention: Assignment Editor, Business/Financial Editor, Environment Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor VANCOUVER, BC--(CCNMatthews - Jan. 25, 2005) - First Nations leaders participated in a news conference today to discuss the recent BC Supreme Court decision ordering Marine Harvest Canada to remove Atlantic Salmon from their fish farm in Xwémalhkwu (Homalco) territory. In addition, the participants spoke about the Court's decision to grant a judicial review of the process that led to the approval of the fish farm in the first place. The 5-day judicial review process commenced today with a broad base of First Nations support:

Vice-Chief Shawn Atleo - Assembly of First Nations, BC Region
Chief Bill Cramner - Namgis First Nation, Musgamagw Tsawataineuk Tribal Council
Chief Stewart Phillip - Union of BC Indian Chiefs
Dave Porter - First Nations Summit
Grand Chief Ed John - First Nations Summit

To honour the Xwémalhkwu , a "Long Live Aboriginal Rights and Title!" Rally in Support of the Xwémalhkwu Court Case will be held WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 26 at the Court House (Nelson & Hornby) at 4:00 PM.

Emcee: Willie Seymour

· Chief Darren Blaney, Xwémalhkwu First Nation
· Denise Smith, Sliammon First Nation
· Bill Cramner, Musgamagw Tsawataineuk Tribal Council
· Glen Williams, Gitanyow Hereditary Chief
· Doug Kelly, First Nations Summit
· Arnie Narcisse, BC Aboriginal Fisheries Commission
· Stewart Phillip, Union of BC Indian Chiefs
· Eric Blueschke, Georgia Strait Alliance
The following is the statement issued at the press conference by Chief Blaney:

Thank you, Vice-Chief Shawn Atleo. I want to thank everyone for coming out today. And I want to acknowledge the Aboriginal Title on the Land that we stand on. I thank the Musqueam, Squamish and Burrard First Nations for allowing us into their territory.

I want to start off by thanking the First Nations leadership that put their support behind this very significant case. I want to thank
· Union of BC Indian Chiefs
· First Nations Summit
· Assembly of First Nations
· BC Aboriginal Fisheries Commission
In additions to the leadership, we have received a lot of calls of support and encouragement from other First Nations, as well as community groups, resort owners, commercial fishermen and environmentalists.

I would like to focus on the particulars of the Xwémalhkwu case in Bute Inlet. I will leave the broader questions of Aboriginal Title and the duty to consult the First Nations leadership present here today.

The court case that we are faced with today comes as a result of the BC government's refusal to (i) provide us with the information that we have requested; and (ii) therefore their refusal to consult with Xwémalhkwu on Marine Harvest's application to introduce Atlantic stocks into Church House.

The BC Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries (MAFF) have said that their field team found no clam beds from Johnson Bluff until they got to Church House. If they had read our submissions on our Traditional Use Study, they would have known about all of our traditional harvesting areas.

I am very disturbed by the level of certainty about Atlantic salmon that the Fish Farm industry had in Bute Inlet, our Traditional Territory. With MAFF providing summary approval at the initial stages of Marine Harvest's application, consultation with Xwémalhkwu First Nation did not even figure in BC's process. This is exactly what the Haida refer to as "BC running roughshod" in the consultation with Xwémalhkwu.

Xwémalhkwu First Nation was notified a full week after Marine Harvest began placing Atlantic smolts into the Church House site.

Premier Campbell, Mr. Van Dongan, Mr. Plant - This is our opportunity to move beyond the sleezy consultation process you presently engage in. Let's move into something more meaningful that will be respectful to all. /For further information: Chief Darren Blaney, Xwémalhkwu (Homalco) First Nation - 250-287-0204 Eric Blueschke, Georgia Strait Alliance – 250-334-6482 Chief Bill Cramner, Namgis First Nation – 250-974-8460 Shawn Atleo, Assembly of First Nations, BC Region – 250-720-9003 Chief Stewart Phillip, Union of BC Indian Chiefs - 250-490-5314 Dave Porter, First Nations Summit – 604-990-9939 Ed John, First Nations Summit – 604-990-9939 Peter Grant, Hutchins Grant and Associates – 604-209-1662 (cell) or 604-685-1229/ IN: ENVIRONMENT, FISHERIES, FOOD, POLITICS, SOCIAL

Contact Information

  • Darren Blaney, Chief, Xwémalhkwu (Homalco)
    Primary Phone: 250-287-0204