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Stó:lo Tribal Council rejects decision on Yale First Nation


Compiled by Debora Steel







The Yale First Nation is entitled by virtue of their collective rights and title to enjoy the area known as the 5 mile fishery, reads a press release entitled the Stó:lo people reject Canada and BC decision to give exclusive title of 5 Mile Fishery to Yale First Nation.” But if Yale’s treaty is ratified, it will grant Yale constitutionally-protected authority to “gate-keep an area that has for thousands of years belonged to all of the Stó:lo people,” said Grand Chief Doug Kelly of the Stó:lo Tribal Council. “This is a divide and conquer strategy by the federal and provincial governments and will result in conflict between Aboriginal people and non-Aboriginal people,” said Kelly.  “All we are asking for is that the 5-mile fishery be a protected area where all Stó:lo, including Yale, could continue to exercise their rights in perpetuity. We have a long-standing history of protecting our lands and rights. Our people are united and will not stand by and let this happen.” The Governments of Canada and BC are prepared to compromise the rights and title of the Stó:lo – almost 10,000 people – in order to demonstrate that the treaty process is working, the press release contends. There are fewer than 200 members of the Yale First Nation. “Treaties were meant to bring certainty and harmony for First Nation and non-First Nation people. The Yale treaty totally misses the mark in that regard, and worse yet establishes a harmful precedent for all remaining treaty tables in BC. You have 68 people who voted in favor of a treaty for Yale that will essentially rob or steal the rights of a collective group of almost 10,000 Stó:lo people. There is something fundamentally wrong with this. All parliamentarians must take ownership of their decision to ignore the sensitive issues surrounding the Yale treaty and will be held accountable for any conflict that arises.”