Settlement of Cheslatta Concerns Near
Prince George B.C. – The Cheslatta First Nation will be getting some good news on Monday.
The word came as Premier Christy Clark addressed the third annual Gathering of First Nations Leaders and the B.C. Cabinet.
Specifically she addressed her comments to Cheslatta Chief Corrina Leween “On Monday, we will finally get a chance to put to right, the wrongs that were done to the people of your community over half a century ago. I want to take a moment to remember how difficult it is to set aside long held legitimately founded grievances and decide instead to work toward resolving them.”
It was July of last year that the Cheslatta and Province of B.C. signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at finding solutions to the decades old issue of flood waters washing out gravesites. There has also been an outstanding grievance about natural resource activity.
The Premier said sometimes the longest held grievances are the ones that are the hardest to let go. “Chief you and your community decided to take that harder path, and I know you did this because you wanted to create a better future for your community.”
Ever since the Kenney Dam was built more than 60 years ago, the Cheslatta Lake and River system have been uses as a spillway channel to link RioTinto Alcan’s reservoir to the Nechako River. When there is flooding, the high water levels have washed out graves, and the Cheslatta regularly discover skeletal remains on the shore .
The MOU included the provision of $400 thousand dollars for short term watershed restoration projects in the Cheslatta’s traditional territory.
Details have yet to be reveled, but Monday’s announcement is likely to present a cash settlement as well as natural resource opportunity and benefits for the Cheslatta.