The Lheidli T’enneh First Nation (LTFN) is affirming the ‘Rights and Title’ to its territory.
The LTFN made a public declaration this morning, outlining their history as a First Nation in Canada.
“For the past few years, council and administration have been discussing our nation’s future, and what it will take to realize our vision for the future,” said Chief Dolleen Logan.
“But before we can move forward, and build a brighter future for our members and everyone else, we need to reinstate our starting point.”
The full declaration read by LTFN Councillor Joshua Seymour can be read here.
“In simple terms, we are, and have always been, owners of the territory,” Logan said.
“We have never signed away our rights, or title to our territory. Many years ago, Canada and BC asserted sovereignty over our lands. Court decisions after court decisions in recent decades have concluded both governments had no legal right to do this.”
“What we are saying to the public released today, is our declaration, is what our past Chiefs and council have said for many years. Lheidli T’enneh First Nations are the rights and title holders of our unceded lands.”
According to LTFN Councillor Crystal Gibbs, governments and industry will need the LTFN’s free, prior, and informed consent to conduct business in the territory.
“Our hope is that our declaration will be seen by governments and industry as an opportunity to right the wrongs from the past, and work with us to move forward towards a positive future for our members, and all who live, work and play in our unceded, ancestral lands,” Gibbs said.
Chief Logan said this declaration will only affect the big businesses coming into our area.
“With Sephora coming, it doesn’t affect them, home ownership it doesn’t affect anybody, this for us doing business with the major proponents coming in, and all the government red tape,” Logan explained.
“If we work together with the federal government, provincial government, we can move things forward, hopefully grow Prince George faster than years down the road.”
The declaration came on Indigenous Peoples Day, during a celebration in Lheidli ‘T’enneh Memorial Park.