The Hereditary Chiefs’ Council of Lax Kw’alaams Issues Statement on Lack of Government Consultation for Use of Traditional Lands
LAX KW’ALAAMS, BC, Sept. 20, 2017 – The Hereditary Chiefs’ Council of Lax Kw’alaams (http://www.laxchiefs.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/Lax-Kwalaams-Hereditary-Chiefs-Council-1289649001133054/) represents the Nine Tribe of Lax Kw’alaams whose traditional territories extend along the coastline from the Alaskan border to include the city of Prince Rupert.
We release this declaration today out of frustration with governments who have not consulted with us in relation to the establishment of the Great Bear Rainforest or the proposed Oil Tanker Moratorium Act—which will have significant impacts on our members ability to eke out a living and precludes our leadership from selecting balanced holistic options in the productive use of their traditional territories. As Indigenous peoples, we want to preserve the right to determine the types of activities that take place in our territories and do not accept that the government should tell us how to preserve, protect, and work within our traditional territories.
As the most responsible environmental stewards for millennia, we categorically reject interference of outside environmental NGOs (especially those foreign-based) who appear to bedictating government policy in our traditional territory. We are further appalled that such actions would be taken bygovernments who claim a reconciliation agenda, and support for indigenous common law in Canada and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples—which dictate there must be indigenous consent for such determinations affecting indigenous lands or territories. We will protect our inherent rights by exercising the full authority of indigenous, Canadian, and international law.
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