Chehalis Indian Band

March 16, 2009 09:01 ET

Reminder: Chehalis Indian Band Announces Canada and BC Agree to Consultations

Chehalis Indian Band wants to announce that Canada and British Columbia have agreed to enter into a process of consultation to accommodate Chehalis aboriginal rights and title

Attention: Assignment Editor, Business/Financial Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor AGASSIZ, BC, PRESS RELEASE--(Marketwire - March 16, 2009) - Pending announcement by British Columbia and In-SHUCK-ch, the Chehalis Indian Band wants to announce that Canada and British Columbia have agreed to enter into a process of consultation to accommodate Chehalis aboriginal rights and title and ensure that there is no adverse impact on our aboriginal rights and title as a result of the In-SHUCK-ch treaty.

The Chehalis Band's most recent meeting with Canada and British Columbia occurred on Friday, March 6, 2009. Chief Willie Charlie stated: "We are very happy with the commitment made by Canada and British Columbia after such a long period of time in which it appeared that after the signing of the In-SHUCK-ch AIP, Canada and British Columbia were leaving all discussions solely between In-SHUCK-ch and Chehalis. As a result of our most recent meeting with In-SHUCK-ch, it was clear that the In-SHUCK-ch do not wish to engage in a process where our serious concerns with respect to the impact on our aboriginal title will be addressed."

Chief Charlie further stated: "Less than one week after our March 6 meeting with Canada and British Columbia, we were shocked to see the In-SHUCK-ch announcement that there will be a signing of the Bilateral Agreement on Monday, March 16th at the In-SHUCK-ch Nation office in Deroche." The In-SHUCK-ch press release states that the agreement with British Columbia "will demonstrate the In-SHUCK-ch Nation has completed treaty talks on all substantive issues with the Province." Canada will not be a signatory to this agreement.

Chehalis is very concerned that British Columbia, by signing this agreement without addressing the very serious issues including a proposal of giving away land in the heart of the Chehalis territory to In-SHUCK-ch, is ignoring its constitutional duty to consult with the Chehalis. Chief Willie Charlie has responded by stating: "I carefully explained to the chief negotiator for Canada and British Columbia how St'epsum (20 Mile Bay) is in the heart of our territory. It has always been part of Chehalis territory and the Chehalis have protected our traditional territory since before the arrival of the first white man. Chehalis has repeatedly told Canada and British Columbia that they must address critical issues of protection of Chehalis sites at the north end of Harrison Lake and they can not be assuming control in any way of parts of the Chehalis territory in the heart of our territory at St'epsum, which is one of Chehalis' ancient village sites."

It is a relief to Chehalis that Canada recognizes that the agreement with In-SHUCK-ch has not been substantially completed. It is a very sad day that British Columbia is ignoring the very clear concerns of Chehalis by signing this agreement on March 16 with the In-SHUCK-ch. /For further information: Gordon Mohs, Aboriginal Rights & Title, Heritage Resource Advisor, at 604-796-2116 (gordon.mohs@chehalisband.com). / IN: POLITICS

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