The Tsilhqot’in Nation is in the BC Court of Appeal today and tomorrow (Nov. 22 and 23).
The Nation is seeking to protect its sacred site of Teztan Biny (Fish Lake) and surrounding areas from an extensive drilling program by Taseko Mines Ltd.
Chief Jimmy Lulua said in the wake of the exoneration of their War Chiefs and the visit by Prime Minister Trudeau, they still continue to fight for what is right.
“What is at stake with the court hearings this week is more than a drilling permit for our sacred lands and gathering spaces – what is at stake is the ability of the courts and government to do the right thing when faced with a direct threat to indigenous ways of life and our basic needs,” Lulua said in a news release.
A permit authorizing Taseko Mines to undertake the extensive drilling program was upheld by the BC Supreme Court in August.
The Tsilhqot’in Nation obtained an injunction prohibiting the drilling program until the appeal is heard and decided.
“In spite of the exoneration by the Province and Canada, the political and legal landscape has changed since the Supreme Court of Canada decision but the protection of Aboriginal Rights and our ability to exercise authority in our territory continues to be challenged,” Chief Russell Myers Ross said.
“If there was anything meaningful in the exoneration, it was recognizing that the Tŝilhqot’in were justified in defending their people and territory from malicious intruders. The Tsilhqot’in Nation faces a similar scenario today.”
“Our intent is to shift away from conflict and responsibly look for ways of reconciling by presenting the Dasiqox Tribal Park as an alternative vision for the region.”