An open letter from Penticton Indian Band Chief Chad Eneas:
The Penticton Indian Band re-affirms our complete rejection and opposition to the recent decision for the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion Project and the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines Project.
We would also like to take this opportunity to register our complete rejection to the statement from the Federal Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr, that Canada only needs to inform and accommodate the concerns, interests and rights of First Nations regarding the approval of proposed resource development projects.
The protection of our territorial lands against downstream environmental and cultural infringement is paramount within our title lands and your governments recent decision requires our full involvement and complete consent.
The Delgamuukw, Haida and recent Tsilhqot’in Nation Supreme Court decisions confirm what we have been saying for generations that title rights govern our lands and the province does not have jurisdiction. Consent is part of Canadian law which obligates the province to prove whether it has sufficient jurisdiction to provide a legally certain tenure for all proposed projects.
Also as stated in our previous letter, the law in Canada is clear and is also based on Canada Supreme Court decisions that prior to proof of aboriginal rights and title, your governments have an obligation to consult with our nations whenever you contemplate a decision that may impact our asserted aboriginal rights and title. The content of this duty varies with the circumstances, but the evidences is clear that the Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Expansion Project and Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines Project will have a significant adverse effect on our strong claims of aboriginal rights and title, and therefore your governments are at a minimum required to fully engage our nations in agreed on processes and legally required consent.
We need to remind you of your open letter to Canadians, your commitment to bring real positive change and a renewed nation-to-nation relationship with indigenous peoples across Canada based on recognition of rights, respect, reconciliation, co-operation and partnership. Our Okanagan Nation member bands were encouraged and had hopes for a more open and honest government under your leadership.
The Penticton Indian Band is bitterly disappointed in your governments broken promises and failure to follow through with your commitment in building a renewed nation-to- nation relationship.
Penticton Indian Band Chief Chad Eneas penned this open letter to the Prime Minister of Canada, Minister of Natural Resources and the Premier of British Columbia on Dec. 1.