(Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver, April 27, 2007) Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, stated today “The UBCIC fully supports the efforts of the Sliammon First Nation to defend their Aboriginal Title and Right interests in their territory.”
Sliammon First Nation filed court papers on April 25 to put three tenures on hold. The BC Ministry of Agriculture and Lands has offered geoduck aquaculture tenures to Underwater Harvesters Association, Fan Seafoods, and Manatee Holdings. The tenures reportedly cover over 642 acres of prime seabed near Savary and Hernando Islands.
“The Province of British must do more than merely pay 'lip service' to its legal obligations to meaningfully consult and accommodate the Aboriginal Title and Rights interests of the Sliammon First Nation especially in an active harvest area with a long history of community use like Savary Island,” said Grand Chief Phillip.
“We share the frustrations of the Sliammon and agree that the continuing rush to sale or to tenure the land and resources gives rise to the fear that we will have nothing left for our future generations,” commented Grand Chief Phillip. “Too many large-scale development projects in BC are proceeding without any genuine or credible efforts to accommodate the Aboriginal Title and Rights interests of the affected First Nations. This is absolutely unacceptable and has directly contributed to rising tensions and frustrations within First Nations communities across the Province.”
Grand Chief Phillip concluded “The Union of BC Indian Chiefs is fully prepared to offer its full and unconditional support to the Sliammon First Nation.”
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FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip
Union of BC Indian Chiefs
UBCIC is a NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.