The Assembly of First Nations’ national chief has weighed in on the controversial dam proposed on the Peace River in northern British Columbia.
Perry Bellegarde says the Site C Dam approval is contrary to Canada’s laws.
Bellegarde toured Treaty 8 territory and the areas that will be affected by the proposed Site C hydroelectric dam Oct. 22.
After, he called for alternatives to the project, saying plans to flood the Peace River Valley will lay waste to sacred burial grounds, traditional territories and agricultural land.
“My visit was an opportunity to see first-hand the devastating social, cultural and environmental damage this project will inflict on Treaty 8 First Nations,” says Bellegarde in a news release.
“I am with Treaty 8 First Nations and First Nations across the country in opposing this project and standing up for First Nations rights. This project ignores the legal requirement under Canadian law to fully assess impacts on Indigenous peoples’ rights.”
Specifically, he refers to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which calls for free, prior and informed consent.
“Canada’s approach to planning, managing and regulating development needs an overhaul and First Nations need to be part of that work.”
His tour included leadership from West Moberly First Nation and Prophet River First Nation.
Treaty 8 First Nations have taken legal action to overturn approvals of the dam that will flood thousands of acres of Treaty 8 traditional territory.
AFN has also passed several resolutions calling for action to stop the dam.