A new agreement between the B.C. government and the Cheslatta Carrier Nation will help guide reconciliation talks on a variety of issues, including flooding impacts to Cheslatta lands and cultural sites.
Through the memorandum of understanding (MOU), $400,000 is being provided to support the Cheslatta for short-term watershed restoration projects in their traditional territory.
Since the construction of the Kenney Dam in 1952, and the creation of the Nechako Reservoir, the Cheslatta Lake and River system has been utilized as a spillway channel, linking the reservoir with the Nechako River. The resulting flows have caused annual flooding issues in the lake and river. Over the last 63 years, the Cheslatta regularly recover skeletal remains on the shore and estimate that over 60 graves have been destroyed.
The MOU establishes guiding principles to support joint work toward reconciliation between the Cheslatta and the Province, including economic and environmental interests related to the development of natural resources. Central to the agreement is consideration of options for the management of the Nechako reservoir and Cheslatta watershed to address flooding impacts to Cheslatta lands and cultural sites.
John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation -
“We cannot change history, but we can work toward building a more positive future and find new opportunities that will provide significant social and economic benefits for the Cheslatta. That is our goal and this MOU is an important step toward that goal.”
Chief Corrina Leween, Cheslatta Carrier Nation -
“For decades we have proposed solutions to this and other outstanding issues and no one was willing to listen. Finally, we have a government committed to formally work with us to design and implement creative options that will lead to an acceptable reconciliation and give us certainty moving forward. We can no longer tolerate the status quo.”
Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation
Senior Policy Advisor
Cheslatta Carrier Nation