FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Doig River First Nation and Blueberry River First Nation will sign negotiated Treaty Land Entitlement settlements Monday afternoon after voting to accept the settlements last week.

Each Nation’s Chief and Council will proceed with signing settlement agreements with the federal government and provincial governments of B.C. and Alberta, as well as with each other.

The claim for land promised by the Crown in Treaty 8 but never received by the First Nations was submitted in 1999. It was accepted for negotiation by the federal government in 2004. 

Both bands will gather this afternoon at the Doig River First Nation Arbour for the signing and a celebration and barbecue.

“We’re having a tea dance to celebrate for our two nations,” Doig River Chief Trevor Makadahay said.

“I think it’s great for me specifically because I was a young councillor when we put in the claim to Canada.”

Chief Makadahay says 23 years later, he is now the chief, and they finally got to finish the settlement and put it behind them.

“We’re going to get compensated too. That will never cover the pain of losing so many elders that actually went through those tough times and being pushed off your reserve, told you’re not welcome back there cause you have new reserves,” he explained.

He emphasizes the amount of heartache they went through but adds that they’re overwhelmed with happiness that it’s finally finished.

Makadahay would like to thank everybody involved in the beginning and “recognize all the people that have gone ahead of us that didn’t get to see us finish the TLE.”

“I just wanna really think about and recognize those people that aren’t going to be able to enjoy the cultural lands and what it means to finally be finished and have that promise rectified, basically. True reconciliation is happening with that being put behind us,” said Chief Makadahay.

Spencer Hall is a news reporter for energeticcity.ca and a recent graduate of the British Columbia Institute of Technology’s Radio Arts & Entertainment program. Growing up in Northwest B.C. made Spencer aware of the importance of local journalism, independent media, and reconciliation. In his spare time, you can find Spencer reading, playing video games, or at the FSJ dog park with his dog, Teddy.

Shailynn Foster

Shailynn Foster is a news reporter for energeticcity.ca. Shailynn has been writing since she was 7 years old, but only recently started her journey as a journalist. Shailynn was born and raised in Fort St. John and she watches way too much YouTube, Netflix and Disney+ during the week while playing DND on the weekends.