B.C. First Nations serve notice to CN Rail to leave their territory

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On Thursday, the Gitxsan Nation of British Columbia served an eviction notice to CN Rail, logging companies and sports fisheries to halt activities along the Skeena River and leave.

In the wake of the Supreme Court ruling two weeks ago, an easier route was paved for Aboriginals to claim land title. The Gitxsan Nation believes it is time to take action and confront the Crown on their lack of consultation that has resulted in the “huge trespass on Gitxsan lands.”

The Gitxsan Nation has given CN Rail and all other companies in the area until Aug. 4 to leave.

“CN Rail uses pesticides and creosote that leaks into our water systems,” said Gwaans Bev Clifton Percival, chief negotiator for the Gitxsan.

Vancity Buzz tried to contact CN Rail for questions but only the following statement was received:

CN has long-standing, cooperative relationships with Gitxsan hereditary chiefs and we are currently in discussion with them about this matter. CN has no further comment.

Percival also explained there is no way of regulating the number of sports fishermen that come and go every year, as they are not kept in legal documentation; though every time a community member of the Gitxsan wants to fish, heads need to be counted.

“Last year the ration of fish were low and we were not able to get fish, yet the sports fishermen still continued” said Percival. “If everyone believes in conservation then we should all act like it.”

Happening simultaneously with this case, the Kwikwetlem First Nations are also demanding title of the land over Riverview Hospital in Coquitlam. Another Aboriginal group—the Gitxaala Nation—have said Friday that they are launching a court case against the federal government for their approval of the controversial Northern Gateway pipeline that would put their land at risk.

A surge of legal action has been taken by First Nations across the province since the granting of land title to the Tsilhqot’in Nation on June 26. More cases are expected to be brought forth in the near future.

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Behdad Mahichi is currently an Editorial Assistant at Vancity Buzz and a journalism student at Ryerson University. He writes about anything from entertainment and politics to his misfortunately extreme caffeine addiction.
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