Cheslatta Reconciliation Agreement

Kathy Brookes and Canadian Press

   More than 65 years after members of the Cheslatta Nation were ordered off their lands to make way for creation of the Nechako Reservoir, the nation has signed an agreement providing restitution for their losses.

     Chief Corrina Leween, two band councillors and Indigenous Relations Minister Scott Fraser recently signed a settlement and interim reconciliation agreement at a private ceremony in Victoria.

     Under terms of the agreement, the Cheslatta will propose certain lands for transfer and tenures and extensive talks will be held with neighbouring First Nations before final land parcels are determined.

Cheslatta Lake
(Cheslatta Lake)

     In 1952, on just two weeks' notice, the Cheslatta were evicted and forcibly resettled outside their traditional territory before their lands, villages, cultural and spiritual sites were flooded by waters behind the Kenney Dam.

    Last month, 60% of Cheslatta members, including those not living within the nation, voted unanimously to ratify the settlement.

     The Province says money and lands provided by the agreement will create a base for future community, social, and economic development. 

     Four-million dollars over 10 years are included for joint fish and wildlife management and watershed and heritage restoration projects. 

June 2013
 (June 2013)    
     The agreement also commits to work on cultural rejuvenation and language revitalization.

     A B.C. government news release also says the Cheslatta agreed the deal constitutes a full and final settlement of their claims against B.C. related to the impact of the reservoir on their rights and title.

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