Aboriginal group agrees to industry talks

Horses graze on Skeetchestn territory near Kamloops Lake. The band's business ventures include a western village movie set.

The Skeetchestn Indian Band on Kamloops Lake has called off its “peaceful service disruption” that was set to target large resource companies starting this week, and allowed two months to make progress in its demand for resource sharing agreements with public and private companies.

(An earlier version of this story gave an incorrect deadline set by the band council.)

Objecting to logging and other resource activity on its asserted territory around the community of Savona, the band gave notice late last week that it was targeting West Fraser Mills, International Forest Products, Teck Resources, BC Hydro, CN Rail,  CP Rail, Pembina Pipeline Corp. and Spectra Energy. The Skeetchestn council called on aboriginal bands all over B.C. to support them.

Skeetchestn Chief Rick Deneault said Monday he has had offers to meet with seven of the eight companies and his council will not take any action before May 13. The only company he said hasn’t responded was Teck, which operates the Highland Valley copper mine in the region.

In a statement last week announcing the roadblock plan, Deneault cited a recent case of a logging road being constructed by West Fraser, so logs that used to go to a mill in Kamloops can be trucked to 100 Mile House instead.

“The Skeetchestn should receive some financial benefit from those who use our lands, and we should be able to co-manage some of the activities on our lands,” Deneault said. “Companies and governments and their agencies should demonstrate a respect for our opinions about our lands.”

Deneault told CKNW radio on the weekend that the Skeetchestn are not involved in treaty negotiations and don’t have resource sharing agreements for timber such as have been established for Crown timber around the province.

The Skeetchestn maintain that their reserve area was much larger when it was assigned by colonial officials after the Cariboo gold rush of 1858 saw an influx of U.S. miners. Their band’s official history says the reserve area was reduced during the 1860s when Joseph Trutch was B.C.’s Chief Commissioner of Land and Works.

Smallpox reduced the Skeetchestn to the point where only 82 people recorded in the 1877 census, a year after the Indian Act was put in place. The band has since rebuilt its numbers to about 450 people and operates a store and other business ventures.

Just Posted

Last of southern Selkirk caribou relocated to Revelstoke area

One cow from the South Selkirk herd and two from the Purcells were moved this week

How to stay safe in the Nakusp backcountry: BCSARA

The B.C. Search and Rescue Association recommends planning, training and taking the essentials

Skier caught in backcountry avalanche near Rossland

‘The man was lucky he had the ‘A-Team’ of ski patrol people able to respond as quickly as they did,’ says Rossland rescue spokesperson

Kootenays unemployment rate best in B.C.

In one year, the region has gone from highest unemployment rate to lowest, at 3.1 per cent

Nakusp search and rescue group seeks volunteers

Senior Nakusp SAR member Ross Shkuratoff says the group is on the lookout for new members

B.C. opioid crisis to get same world-renowned treatment approach as HIV/AIDS

A program that focuses on treatment as prevention will roll out Jan. 17

Olympian snowboarder Max Parrot diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Each year in Canada, approximately 900 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery accused of sexual assault, harassment

Emery denied the allegations, but a Toronto woman says she is not the only one speaking out

Vancouver Island photographer makes National Geographic’s 2018 elite

Rare double honour for Marston from the 36 best Your Shots out of nearly 19,000 photos

Ex-Liberal candidate in Burnaby, B.C., says volunteer wrote controversial post

Karen Wang dropped out following online post singling out NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s ethnicity

Asteroids are smacking Earth twice as often as before

The team counted 29 craters that were no older than 290 million years

Canada’s arrest of Huawei exec an act of ‘backstabbing,’ Chinese ambassador says

China has called Canada’s arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou ‘politically motivated’

BREAKING: Jury finds man accused of killing B.C. girl, 12, guilty

Twelve-year-old Monica Jack disappeared in May 1978 while riding her bike along a highway in Merritt, B.C.

In limbo: Leftover embryos challenge clinics, couples

Some are outright abandoned by people who quit paying storage fees and other couples struggle with tough decisions

Most Read