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Saik’uz chief clarifies position on Kenney Dam

Saik’uz Chief Priscilla Mueller says her community has never suggested that the Kenney Dam needs to be dismantled.

The clarification comes after Stellat’en Chief Archie Patrick said, during the two bands’ Rally for the River Monday, that dismantling the dam could be an option. He added, however, that the goal of the two bands’ court case against Rio Tinto (Alcan) is to improve the state of the fishery in the Nechako River which can be accomplished by increasing the level of water in the river.

Mueller reiterated that position Tuesday.

“We’ve been clear from the start that this court case is about restoring the fisheries and overall health of the Nechako River,” said Mueller. “We’ve also said that our Aboriginal rights were violated in the late 1940s when Canada and B.C. gave away water rights to 70 per cent of the water flows in the Nechako without consultation or our approval to do so.

“We’ve never said that we want the Kenney Dam to be dismantled as part of a legal outcome or settlement. We respect Chief Patrick if this is his view. We also understand his deep frustration with the historical legacy of this ongoing battle.  Unfortunately, the media story suggests that our community also shares this view. I want to make it perfectly clear that the Saik’uz First Nation has never said that it believes the Kenney Dam must be dismantled.”

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