Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs stated “When a community is compelled to protect their territory and the health of their community, the UBCIC will stand firmly beside them. The Halalt First Nation is a community fighting to protect the Chemainus River and the runs of salmon that they have depended upon for generations. The UBCIC is calling upon all First Nations and the general public to assist the Halalt First Nation, in any manner possible, to protect the ecology of the Chemainus River.”
The Halalt First Nation is asking for a judicial review of a water project of the District of North Cowichan. The District of North Cowichan have continued construction of the water project. On February 25, the Halalt First Nation blocked the portion of Chemainus Road that runs through their community to draw attention to protest the lack of consultation. The Halalt First Nation held an emergency General Band Meeting where Elders and band members unanimously supported the continuation of their protest to protect the Chemainus River and their Title and Rights.
“Water is the issue. Across this province, we are seeing Indigenous Peoples defending their territory and the health of their communities. Like the Halalt First Nation, the Okanagan Indian Band is protecting the Browns Creek watershed, the source of their drinking water. Like the Halalt First Nation, the Tsilhqot’in are fighting to protect their territory by opposing the draining of Teztan Biny by Taseko Mines,” said Grand Chief Phillip. “Like the victory of the Tsay Keh Nay, who prevented the destruction of Amazay Lake from the proposed Kemess North project, the determination and the knowledge that their actions are for the health of their children’s children, will ensure that the Halalt First Nation will prevail.”
Grand Chief Phillip concluded “As Indigenous Peoples, we are increasingly alarmed when third party interests are granted access to the resources of our territories, especially fresh water, government and the courts protect those corporate interests at the expense of our Aboriginal Title and Rights and of the environmental values that many British Columbians hold dear. The UBCIC fully supports a process to resolve this situation that protects the Halalt First Nation’s community drinking water, the Chemainus River and their Title and Rights.”
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Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, Union of BC Indian Chiefs
Phone: (604) 684-0231
UBCIC is a NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.