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

Volunteer needed to empty dog poop can in Saanich Park

Local volunteers do the work of irresponsible dog owners at Mount Doug

Sexual assault charge dropped against from CFB Esquimalt member

Navy Lt. Ronald Clancy was charged with two counts of sexual assault in August 2018

Vancouver Island overdue for the big one, can also expect mega-thrust tsunami

The last big earthquake was 70 years ago in Courtenay

BC Ferries considers passenger only ferry between West Shore and Victoria

Royal Bay, Esquimalt and Ship Point considered as part of study into new route

Sentence handed down for sex assaults committed more than 30 years ago

Man in his 80s will serve a conditional sentence in the community

VIDEO: RCMP ask kids to help name soon-to-be police dogs

13 German shepherd puppies will be born this year

No injuries, pollution in Vancouver Harbour ship collision: Transport Canada

Transportation Safety Board says it has deployed a team of investigators look into the incident

Budget 2019: Five things to watch for in the Liberals’ final fiscal blueprint

Finance Minister Bill Morneau will release the Trudeau government’s final budget on Tuesday

New concussion guidelines launched for Canada’s Olympians, Paralympians

The guidelines will be in effect at this summer’s Pan American, Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru

Alphonso Davies doubtful for Canada game against French Guiana in Vancouver

Canada will be without injured captain Scott Arfield and veteran Will Johnson

Watchdog called after man who yelled racial slurs at B.C. vigil hurt during arrest

BC RCMP say man was ‘acting suspiciously’ at prayer vigil for victims of New Zealand mosque shootings

NDP’s Jagmeet Singh steps into the House of Commons, making history

Burnaby South MP becomes first visible minority to lead a federal party in the House of Commons

Reeling Port Alice about to lose its only bank

Scotiabank branch closure follows latest mill setback, bad for business and the elderly

Most Read