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Province thanked for Cheslatta settlement agreement

Cheslatta Chief Corrina Leween and Indigenous Relations Minister Scott Fraser.

The Cheslatta have extended their thanks to the province this week for a settlement agreement, negotiated earlier this year.

Those thanks were given directly to Scott Fraser, minister of Indigenous relations and reconciliation who travelled to Cheslatta IR#7 (Scilchola) Wednesday.

The agreement includes a monetary payment for Cheslatta lands lost to flooding in 1952 when the Nechako Reservoir was created to generate electricity to power the Alcan aluminum smelter in Kitimat. Cheslatta families from seven villages were forced out of their homes which were later burned to make way for the reservoir. The financial terms of the settlement agreement will remain confidential while negotiations on a lands package continue. Cheslatta members voted unanimously in March to accept the monetary settlement which will be managed by the Cheslatta Community Trust.

“On behalf of all Cheslatta members, I want to thank you Mr. Minister and your government for supporting the negotiations which resulted in the settlement agreement that we signed in late March,” said Cheslatta Chief Corrina Leween. “The negotiations were not always easy and required great dedication by negotiating team members on both sides but we reached a mutually acceptable deal for a financial settlement and we continue to work towards a settlement for lands lost to the flooding in 1952. This is an important step forward for all Cheslatta members. It signifies a willingness on the part of government to right past wrongs. It is a clear signal that your government is serious about adopting the principles Outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples or UNDRIP as it is commonly called. With this settlement agreement, the Cheslatta Carrier Nation can move forward to implement our Comprehensive Community Plan and continue to build a better life for our members and our nation.”

The Cheslatta Carrier Nation has held an annual campout since 1991. The week-long event allows Cheslatta members living off-reserve to visit family and friends and stay connected to the nation.