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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Blueberry First Nation will continue their court case against the Province of B.C. starting Monday.

The provincial government announced in October of 2018 that they had reached an agreement with the Blueberry River First Nations to further adjourn a pending Treaty infringement lawsuit until April 29, 2019, to allow for continued collaboration on addressing the effects of resource development in Blueberry River traditional territory.

Just over three years ago, the Blueberry River First Nations sued the B.C. government, claiming that the cumulative impact of industrial development on its traditional territory has breached the government’s obligations under Treaty 8. The First Nation claims that its members are no longer able to exercise their treaty rights as originally intended.

In a post on the Blueberry River First Nation Website Friday, the First Nation “Instead of pursuing reconciliation and negotiating a solution, we are forced to seek a court imposed order to protect our treaty rights, which may prohibit any further taking up of land in our territory until our treaty rights are met.”

The First Nation claims more than 73% of our territory is within 250 metres of a clear-cut, oil and gas well, processing plan, road, dam or other industrial infrastructure.

A spokesperson for the B.C. Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation told the Globe and Mail they are still working to reach a settlement. “The issues we are discussing are difficult and complex, but we’ve made good progress and remain hopeful that we will still be able to reach a lasting resolution together.”

A map of cumulative industrial development in the Blueberry River First Nations traditional territory. Photo by Blueberry River First Nations.

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