URGENT - All First Nations Support Lytton First Nation

For Immediate Release - July 12, 2007

(Vancouver/Coast Salish Territory - July 12, 2007) The Union of BC Indian Chiefs is urgently calling all First Nations to immediately offer support the Lytton First Nation. The UBCIC urges all First Nations to immediately offer evidence of written support in the form of letters and resolutions to the Provincial Government and the BCGEU and/or cash/in-kind donations. In the event the situation escalates, we request that First Nations immediately organize solidarity actions such as demonstrations, rallies or simultaneous road closures in their respective territories, and/or send support delegations to Lytton to assist the Lytton First Nation.

Tomorrow, residents of the Lytton First Nation and township of Lytton will continue to demonstrate their deep concerns with the ongoing Lytton Ferry dispute.

A community rally has been organized for Friday July 13 in Lytton. All supporters will gather at the Lytton First Nation Band Hall at 1:00 PM.

Chief Byron Spinks, Lytton First Nation, Mayor Chris O’Connor, Village of Lytton and Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President, Union of BC Indian Chiefs will be participating in this action.

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For more information:
Chief Byron Spinks (250) 455-2740 or (250) 455-2304
Mayor Chris O’Connor (250) 455-2355 or (250) 455-2561
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip (250) 490-5314 or (250) 455-2304


Backgrounder attached

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BACKGROUNDER

As a start of an ongoing and escalating situation, a two-hour blockade of the Trans-Canada Highway occurred on July 11 and an information picket was organized on July 10. Both actions provided the general public information about the VSA Highway Maintenance strike, which began April 23, 2007. The strike has critically shortened the ferry service between the communities on the west side of the Fraser River to the Village of Lytton and Highway 1.

The ferry service is an essential service for 400 residents who rely on this ferry on a daily basis for health, social and safety reasons. Communities were never properly consulted to reflect the appropriate essential service level for the ferry service. Without the ferry the alternatives are an access routes are a four-hour detour along a rough logging road or illegally walking across a long, narrow and elevated railway bridge outside the reserve.

The closure of the Lytton Ferry due to the VSA strike is a highly dangerous and unacceptable. The BC Government must immediately intervene and declare the Lytton Ferry Service to be an essential service. The Elders, children, members and residents have suffered grievous hardship; we need to support their courageous stand.

For more information go to: www.lyttonferry.com

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PDF Copy at:
http://www.ubcic.bc.ca/files/PDF/UBCICMediaAdvisory_LyttonFerry_071007.pdf 

UBCIC is a NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.