Yukon First Nations sign pact to protect resources

Three Yukon First Nations have signed an agreement to work together to ensure development on their traditional territories is sustainable and protects their values.

Three Yukon First Nations have signed an agreement to work together to ensure development on their traditional territories is sustainable and protects their values.

The chiefs of Tr’ondek Hwech’in, Vuntut Gwitchin and Na-cho Nyak Dun First Nations signed the North Yukon First Nations Accord last Thursday evening.

The accord is intended to help the First Nations protect renewable and non-renewable resources on their land. Under the agreement, the First Nations will meet three times a year, though it’s unclear how that could affect consultation and negotiations on development proposals.

“These resources have sustained us for generations,” Vuntut Gwitchin Chief Roger Kyikavichik said in a news release. “The alliance between the northern nations is a significant step forward. We will work together to protect and preserve our renewable and non-renewable resources for future generations.”

Chief Roberta Joseph of the Tr’ondek Hwech’in First Nation insisted that the accord is not intended to obstruct development.

“Tr’ondek Hwech’in has always been pro-sustainable development, not anti-development,” she said in the release.

These First Nations are the three plaintiffs challenging the Yukon government’s Peel watershed land-use plan. The government recently appealed a Yukon Supreme Court decision stating that it had breached its responsibilities to the First Nations under the Umbrella Final Agreement with last-minute changes to the plan. A decision on the appeal has not yet been delivered.

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