Tŝilhqot’in, Lake Babine & Carrier Sekani Territories: Our Nations call on the Province to significantly rethink and revise the Forestry Intentions Paper content that is intended to address Crown Indigenous reconciliation, and commit to a process to co-draft a revised version of the Paper with our Nations, other interested First Nations, and the First Nations Forestry Council. The revised version of the Paper must set out how forestry laws and policies will be changed to address our Aboriginal title and rights in a manner consistent with the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (the “Declaration”) and BC’s own Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (“DRIPA”).
The Forestry Intentions Paper was developed without Indigenous participation. This contravened the Province’s own best practices, and the requirements of s. 3 of DRIPA, of co-developing legislation and policies with Indigenous peoples that deeply affect our Aboriginal title and rights and futures as Indigenous nations. the Forestry Intentions Paper only contemplates increasing the share of Indigenous participation in the forest sector without addressing the following more fundamental changes that are required:
• shifting from longstanding denial of Aboriginal title to actively implementing Aboriginal title and jurisdiction, including through the transition towards land returns to Indigenous peoples and joint Crown-Indigenous forestry management:
- managing forestry in a way that protects and enhances the ability of Indigenous nations and our members to be able to meaningfully exercise our rights and uphold our cultural values, including by understanding and taking into account cumulative effects; and
- significantly improving forestry revenue-sharing with affected Indigenous nations.
The province needs to begin working with our Nations to co-develop a substantially revised Forestry Intentions Paper that takes into account the issues outlined above.