Will land claims never end?

Premier Darrell Pasloski has been taking a lot of flack lately on many First Nation related issues. I would like to thank him for standing up for the rights of other Yukon people. I was born here and feel that many of my inherent rights have been infringe

Premier Darrell Pasloski has been taking a lot of flack lately on many First Nation related issues. I would like to thank him for standing up for the rights of other Yukon people. I was born here and feel that many of my inherent rights have been infringed upon by over 40 years of land claim negotiations and fall-out. Many pages could be filled with all the various issues related to this subject.

Several years ago, I decided to stop writing letters to the editor and live with blinders on, as many others do. The recent controversy about the Peel, Liard, and White River subjects have finally got me annoyed. I will not pretend to understand the full complexity of these subjects.

I get to vote in a Yukon election every few years, but do not get to vote for First Nation leadership. On the other hand, First Nations do get to vote in Yukon general elections.

It appears to me that a lot of controversy revolves around the right of First Nations to administer governance over “traditional territory.” Traditional territory was meant to create some form of area distinction between various First Nations. First Nations only have the right to govern over type A settlement lands as described in the Umbrella Final Agreement.

My traditional area is in the Kluane/Aishihik portion of Yukon. I was raised at Canyon Creek and Haines Junction. When Champagne and Aishihik members got compensation for the low lake levels due to the Aishihik Hydro project, I was not included. I recall catching rainbow trout at Otter falls, for example.

I spent some time at the Baptist Mission school in Porter Creek. I sent a letter about this to Larry Bagnell, but he never bothered to respond.

I could ramble on about a real big list of other things but do not want to bore anyone. First Nations need to consider helping to create a positive investment climate in Yukon. The handouts from government are hopefully not going to continue for eternity. Part of the problem appears to be lack of communication between all the different First Nations, Yukon government and the federal government.

As usual, the government of Canada made a great, big mess and then left. How can the Yukon government be expected to negotiate with over a dozen First Nations all going in different directions? Perhaps we need to think outside the box. Eliminate Yukon and create 14 new territories instead.

Brad Mackinnon

Haines Junction

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