Aboriginal group agrees to industry talks

Horses graze on Skeetchestn territory near Kamloops Lake. The band's business ventures include a western village movie set.

The Skeetchestn Indian Band on Kamloops Lake has called off its “peaceful service disruption” that was set to target large resource companies starting this week, and allowed two months to make progress in its demand for resource sharing agreements with public and private companies.

(An earlier version of this story gave an incorrect deadline set by the band council.)

Objecting to logging and other resource activity on its asserted territory around the community of Savona, the band gave notice late last week that it was targeting West Fraser Mills, International Forest Products, Teck Resources, BC Hydro, CN Rail,  CP Rail, Pembina Pipeline Corp. and Spectra Energy. The Skeetchestn council called on aboriginal bands all over B.C. to support them.

Skeetchestn Chief Rick Deneault said Monday he has had offers to meet with seven of the eight companies and his council will not take any action before May 13. The only company he said hasn’t responded was Teck, which operates the Highland Valley copper mine in the region.

In a statement last week announcing the roadblock plan, Deneault cited a recent case of a logging road being constructed by West Fraser, so logs that used to go to a mill in Kamloops can be trucked to 100 Mile House instead.

“The Skeetchestn should receive some financial benefit from those who use our lands, and we should be able to co-manage some of the activities on our lands,” Deneault said. “Companies and governments and their agencies should demonstrate a respect for our opinions about our lands.”

Deneault told CKNW radio on the weekend that the Skeetchestn are not involved in treaty negotiations and don’t have resource sharing agreements for timber such as have been established for Crown timber around the province.

The Skeetchestn maintain that their reserve area was much larger when it was assigned by colonial officials after the Cariboo gold rush of 1858 saw an influx of U.S. miners. Their band’s official history says the reserve area was reduced during the 1860s when Joseph Trutch was B.C.’s Chief Commissioner of Land and Works.

Smallpox reduced the Skeetchestn to the point where only 82 people recorded in the 1877 census, a year after the Indian Act was put in place. The band has since rebuilt its numbers to about 450 people and operates a store and other business ventures.

Just Posted

Community profiles show social determinants of health

Reports depict life in Campbell River and other Strathcona communities

‘Free Willy’ bill to end whale captivity supported by MP Blaney

Blaney says law would have died without efforts by New Democrat MPs

VIDEO: Pickup truck smashes into Campbell River home

No injuries reported in Friday morning incident

Help needed in locating concrete pump stolen from Campbell River business

The pump is considered a very high value item to the business

As sea levels rise, Campbell River considers raised buildings and roads, extended breakwaters

City planning for one-metre sea level rise by 2100 amid human-caused climate change

VIDEO: First Nations, developer call for return and protection of sacred B.C. burial site

Dozens of First Nations leaders gather on grassy plateau to call on action by provincial government

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

Teen stabbed after end-of-night limo dispute in downtown Vancouver

A young man, 19, is in serious condition following a dispute between two groups

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

No business case for Trans Mountain expansion, says former environment minister

Cabinet is expected to announce its decision on the expansion of the Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline by Tuesday

LETTER: British Columbia’s forest industry crisis being made worse

Andrew Wilkinson warns of regulatory overload by John Horgan’s NDP

Convicted B.C. child abductor Randall Hopley back in custody 6 months after release

Correctional Services Canada could not provide further details due to privacy concerns

Most Read