12 February 2019
The Council of the Haida Nation is intervening in Ahousaht fisheries appeal in support of Nuu-Chah-Nulth commercial fishing rights
The Council of the Haida Nation is joining eight Nuu-Cha-Nulth Nations at the BC Court of Appeal this week. The Nuu-Chah-Nulth seek further recognition of their rights to commercially fish within their territory.
In 2009 the BC Supreme Court affirmed the Nuu-Chah-nulth commercial right to fish, but a subsequent 2018 decision redefined and narrowed that affirmation. This week’s appeal challenges this subsequent decision. Today CHN will intervene to address the reconciliation process. In 2004, in the Haida Nation v British Columbia case, the Supreme Court of Canada held that the duty to consult and accommodate rests with the Crown. Third parties and commercial interests cannot displace constitutionally protected Indigenous rights.
“All Indigenous Peoples have a fundamental human right to access, use, develop, and control their territorial lands, seas, and resources. Canada must fulfill its commitment to Indigenous Peoples, reconciliation, and UNDRIP by meaningfully recognizing and respecting Nuu-Chah-Nulth authority to make decisions about fisheries in their unceded territories,” said Gaagwiis Jason Alsop, President of the Haida Nation.
“The continued denial of Nuu-Chah-Nulth rights carries strong implications for reconciliation of the marine area and impacts all coastal Indigenous Peoples. The Haida Nation has a long track record of advancing reconciliation to Haida Gwaii. In our experience the Crown must step up and address past infringements of fisheries management regimes that have failed Indigenous communities and fish populations along the coast. For those against the advancement of indigenous rights, we encourage you in the spirit of Truth and Reconciliation, to learn more about Canada’s poor track record with Indigenous rights and recognize that our cultures and laws have evolved to achieve a respectful balance with fisheries and marine areas for thousands of years,” said Gaagwiis.
CHN is one of four intervenors supporting the Nuu-Chah-Nulth nations. The First Nations Coalition (BC AFN, UBCIC, the First Nations Summit and the First Nations Fisheries Council), the CHN and the Te’mexw Treaty Association will make their submissions later today or tomorrow morning. Other intervenors supporting the eight Nuu-Chah-Nulth nations include the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, the Listuguj Mi’gmaq Government, and the Assembly of First Nations.
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