"We will make every effort to protect our territories and our rights"
The Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta are calling on the Government of Alberta to suspend new forestry legislation until concerns about impacts on our Inherent and Treaty rights are addressed.
In December 2020, Alberta enacted Bill 40, which amends the provincial Forests Act. The new legislation includes provisions which reduce ministerial oversight, streamlines the licensing process, and increases the amount of timber that can be harvested annually.
"Bill 40 will have a direct impact on our territories and on our Inherent and Treaty rights" said Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta Grand Chief Arthur Noskey. "The Province should have consulted with us from the outset on a government-to-government basis to make sure that our rights were protected. Instead, it went ahead and passed the bill into law without talking to us."
Treaty 8 First Nations in Alberta holds Inherent and Treaty rights in relation to lands and waters in Treaty No.8 recognized and affirmed under Canadian law. The Nations are responsible under our own laws for ensuring that our territories remain healthy and protected for current and future generations to pursue their traditional way of life and livelihood.
"We entered into Treaty No. 8 based on the Crown's promise that we would be able to continue to hunt and fish as we had before the treaty," said Grand Chief Noskey. "The Province is responsible for fulfilling those promises and upholding the honour of the Crown. It is not honourable to blindside us by enacting new laws without open and sincere consultation with our nations, we expect the Province to suspend the new Forest Act immediately, and to meet with the Treaty 8 Chief’s to address how the province intends to uphold their obligations under Treaty. Until that happens, no further steps should be taken under this legislation."