Cullen speaks on Watson Island Aboriginal title dispute

While Lax Kw’alaams seeks standing in a court case involving Kitkatla and the City of Prince Rupert, a case which now sees the two First Nations groups disputing who has Aboriginal title over Watson Island, Skeena – Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen says it is disputes like this that need to be solved sooner than later.

While Lax Kw’alaams seeks standing in a court case involving Kitkatla and the City of Prince Rupert, a case which now sees the two First Nations groups disputing who has Aboriginal title over Watson Island, Skeena – Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen says it is disputes like this that need to be solved sooner than later.

“If I was given a magic wand to help the economy, rights and title would be the first thing I’d address. This holds up projects from the east to the west in the Skeena – Bulkley Valley riding,” he said during a March 3 media call.

“I believe that if we answered this question, not just in Prince Rupert but elsewhere, investment would take off because it would provide certainty and investors need certainty before moving forward with their plans.”

According to Cullen, the issue of Aboriginal rights and title and which group holds it over which areas is something that people in Ottawa are very aware

of.

“I think the eventual resolution will be for the Federal Government to put their hand on the table as well. I’ve spoken to Minister of State [for Transport] Rob Merrifield because there has been some interest from parties who have a stake in port development on getting a resolution table together to get the land question sorted out so they can proceed with some investments,” he said, noting that he has also been talking to people in the region about the situation as

well.

“I’ve been in contact with the groups trying to get the parties to talk. There has been some progress with Lax Kw’alaams and Metlakatla, but Kitkatla seems to be a bit on the outside during these

talks.”