Yale treaty going ahead despite protests

Sto:lo delegation after meeting with B.C. officials (from left): legal advisor Jean Teillet

VICTORIA – The B.C. government intends to endorse a treaty with the Yale First Nation in the Fraser Canyon next week, despite continued protests that the settlement includes fishing sites that have belonged to the Sto:lo Nation for thousands of years.

A delegation representing the 29 Sto:lo communities in the Fraser Valley met with Aboriginal Relations Minister Mary Polak Thursday, to warn her that approval of the Yale treaty will likely lead to violence on the Fraser River this summer.

Sto:lo representatives said there was already a shooting incident last summer at one of the disputed fishing sites in the canyon north of the village of Yale. The fishing and rack drying sites in that portion of the canyon have been a vital food source for aboriginal people for thousands of years, and the Sto:lo have compiled a detailed record of their occupation.

Sto:lo Nation president Joe Hall said his dispute is not with the Yale people, but rather the federal and provincial governments who are imposing the treaty.

“I don’t want to be like Donald Trump and look at people’s birth certificates, but the Yale are a Sto:lo band,” Hall said. “They would have been chased out of there a long time ago if they weren’t.”

Polak said in an interview Thursday that every one of the more than 200 traditional territories in B.C. has competing claims from adjoining bands, except the islands of Haida Gwaii. The Maa-Nulth Treaty on Vancouver Island involved five bands and their differences were worked out, she said.

Yale Chief Robert Hope led a delegation to the legislature May 18 to celebrate the completion of the treaty, where they were congratulated by Premier Christy Clark. Hope has denied any relationship between the 150-member Yale band and the Sto:lo communities to the south.

Hall said the Yale treaty was actually supported by only 66 voting members, and it has profound implications for 10,000 Sto:lo people. If the federal and provincial governments ratify it as planned, court action is one option the Sto:lo will consider, he said.

Attorney General Barry Penner, MLA for Chilliwack-Hope, said the B.C. Treaty Commission has offered to mediate the long-running dispute to seek a solution.

Just Posted

BM&TS show ‘a tale as old as time’

The theatre group produced Beauty and the Beast.

Video: MP hears pot, pipeline and politics concerns

South Okanagan-West Kootenay MP hosts town hall forum in Penticton

Needles killer frightened many in our town: BC author

Roy Bugera disrupted life in a quiet Vancouver Island village before moving to Arrow Lakes

RCMP investigate stabbing incident

Injuries were non-life threatening, RCMP report

Health Minister says coming changes will make difference in rural communities.

“As a government, Premier Horgan is committed to improving the ambulance service.”

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Anti-pipeline protestors block Kinder Morgan tanker near Seattle

Protest was spurred on by the 28 anti-Kinder Morgan activists arrested in Burnaby

Some surprises in new book about B.C. labour movement

“On the Line” charts history of the union movement back to the 1800s

B.C. cyclist races to first win of the season in New Zealand

Casey Brown captures Enduro title by more than two minutes at Crankworx Rotorua

Notorious Russian troll farm also took swipes at Canadian targets

Targets included oil infrastructure and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Cirque du Soleil aerialist dies after fall during Florida show

Longtime performer fell while performing in VOLTA

Canada earns second Paralympic Games silver in 20 years

Held 1-0 lead in para hockey game from 12:06 of first to dying seconds of third and lost in overtime

LETTERS: Two views of oil pipeline protests

U.S. and other petroleum-rich countries aren’t cutting production

Most Read