ABORIGINAL RELATIONS: Taku agreement in northern BC highlights co-operation, not conflict

BRITISH COLUMBIA - The Taku River Tlingit First Nation and the Government of British Columbia have signed two major agreements on land use planning and shared decision-making. These agreements offer the potential to avoid the conflict and...

BRITISH COLUMBIA - The Taku River Tlingit First Nation and the Government of British Columbia have signed two major agreements on land use planning and shared decision-making. These agreements offer the potential to avoid the conflict and uncertainty that has hindered government and mining industry relations with First Nations in British Columbia.

The agreement creates 13 new protected areas and provides resource development opportunities and investment certainty over 3 million hectares (30,000 km2) across the diverse range of major ecosystems in the Atlin Taku region of northwest British Columbia.

The two plans - Wooshtin Wudidaa (Flowing Together) Land Use Plan and Wooshtin Yan Too.aat (Walking Together) government-to-government agreement - will guide future resource-related decisions. Together they make commitments based on conserving some of the most important fish and wildlife habitat on the west coast in the context of First Nations rights.

"While it is important to remember that different First Nations have different issues and concerns, this is an encouraging example of how First Nations are rightfully taking the lead on land and resource use planning and decision-making," said Larry Innes, executive director of the Canadian Boreal Initiative. "The result is a land use plan and shared decision making agreement that conserves critical cultural and ecological landscapes and important salmon and wildlife habitats for future generations, while establishing a framework that promises to deliver greater certainty and clarity as to where and how development might occur. We congratulate the Taku River Tlingit and the Province of British Columbia, and support their balanced vision for this truly extraordinary region of Canada."

(The preceding was provided by the Canadian Boreal Institute, www.BorealCanada.ca.)

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