Sep 8/97: Deh Cho evict illegal resource extractors


Gatt Watchdog
September 8, 1997

At the fifth annual assembly of the Deh Cho, the delegates passed a resolution to be effective immediately. The Deh Cho territory is closed to any oil, gas, forestry and mining activity. The Deh Cho area is in the northern part of Canada covering approximately an area the size of France. In 1921 and 1922, the ancestors of the Deh Cho entered into a Peace and Friendship Treaty with the British Crown. In a subsequent court case in 1974, Mr. Justice Morrow found that the Treaty was a peace and friendship Treaty and not a land surrender treaty. The Judge at that time urged the state of Canada to enter into negotiations with the Deh Cho Peoples to establish the parameters for Canadian use of their lands and resources.

From the middle of the 1970s, the Deh Cho Peoples and the state of Canada were engaged in discussions. However, in the early 1990s the Deh Cho and other Dene Peoples walked away from a $500 million dollar offer from the state of Canada which would have required the Deh Cho Peoples and other Dene Peoples to surrender and give up their title to their lands and territories. The Deh Cho Peoples cannot sell their birthright.

In the meantime, the state of Canada has been operating as if they owned the lands of the Deh Cho and have been licensing mining companies, oil and gas companies and logging companies to go into the Deh Cho territory with out the consent of the Deh Cho. When the Deh Cho Peoples have requested that Canada cease and desist in this activity there has been no response.

As a result of the past actions by the State of Canada to not honour and protect the territories and lands of the Deh Cho, the citizens of Deh Cho felt the need to protect their territory for the future generations.

Included in the resolution are provisions for the enforcement of the resolution. However, the Deh Cho hope that the citizens and the state of Canada will respect the provisions of the Treaty and act in an honourable fashion.

For more information regarding this release please contact:

Grand Chief Gerald Antoine - Deh Cho Territory, Denendeh
Tel: (403) 695-2355
Fax: (403) 695-2038

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