The Nadleh Whut’en and Stellat’en First Nations near Fraser Lake have proclaimed a new aboriginal water management plan.
The First Nations will require industry to follow the regime before being allowed to develop their traditional territories.
“It’s a higher standard of protection rather than a process of engagement to make money, that’s what it is; basically protection of water rather than how we will make money.” Nadleh Chief Martin Louie says
Louie says they have been working on the plan for about 5 years and that it was inspired by the Nation’s long running fight with the now dormant Endako Mine over its use of the watershed.
“We are not here to stop progress or anything like that. We just want to put it out in a better way that will protect the land for the future generations.”
The First Nations have invited the Province of BC to collaborated on the water management plan.
Louie says it will be far reaching, and affect the whole water cycle. For example, pesticides and herbicides used by industry will also be targeted using the new aboriginal laws.
“These are the standards we are going to use, and if nobody wants to abide by them, then let them just try to come in and do it”
Last year, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled the Stellat’en and Saik’uz First Nations were allowed to sue Rio Tinto Alcan over the construction of the Kenny Dam in the 1950s.