Leadership Council Welcomes Funds to Combat Beetle Epidemic

September 19, 2005

Dakelh Traditional Territory/Prince George, B.C. – BC First Nations leaders are discussing the announcement of a BC-Canada implementation plan for $100 million provided by the federal government over three years to fight the Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic that is spreading across First Nations’ territories and communities in British Columbia.

The announcement was made by BC Forests Minister Rich Coleman today.  Minister Coleman will be in Prince George tomorrow where he will be attending an emergency summit organized by the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council and First Nations Leadership Council of BC, which is composed of the executives of the First Nations Summit, Union of BC Indian Chiefs, and the BC Assembly of First Nations.

"We welcome any and all investment and plans to address an issue that is having a severe environmental, ecological, social, cultural and economic impact on First Nations and communities across British Columbia,” said Grand Chief Edward John, of the First Nations Summit Task Group.

“It is absolutely essential that the Leadership Council knows what federal and provincial programs are in place to mitigate the impacts of the Mountain Pine Beetle crisis,” said Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.

“First Nations need to be involved in the long-term strategy and implementation plan for our current and future generations to combat the Mountain Pine Beetle.  We must undertake a coordinated effort to be effective in fighting this threat to First Nations and communities in BC,” said Shawn Atleo, BC Regional Chief of the Assembly of First Nations.

Representatives from over 80 First Nations are attending the Mountain Pine Beetle Forum in Prince George September 19 and 20, to review and participate in the implementation strategy and receive an update on the federal and provincial programs in place to mitigate the impacts of the crisis.

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For more information:

Chief Stewart Phillip, UBCIC, (604) 684-0231
Grand Chief Ed John, FNS, (604) 926-9903
Regional Chief Shawn Atleo, BCAFN, (604) 922-7733

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