Representatives from the Nine Allied Tribes of Lax Kw'alaams gather to sign an exclusivity and benefits agreement with Eagle Spirit Energy.

Representatives from the Nine Allied Tribes of Lax Kw'alaams gather to sign an exclusivity and benefits agreement with Eagle Spirit Energy.

Nine Allied Tribes of Lax Kw’alaams sign benefits agreement with Eagle Spirit Energy, question authority of mayor and council

The Nine Allied Tribes of Lax Kw'alaams have signed an exclusivity and benefits agreement in support of the Eagle Spirit Energy project.

The Nine Allied Tribes of Lax Kw’alaams have signed an exclusivity and benefits agreement in support of the Eagle Spirit Energy project, saying Lax Kw’alaams mayor and council have no authority to dictate project support.

“As they have for the last ten thousand years, our tribes hold aboriginal title to their traditional territory directly — not through the colonial invention of the mayor elected under theIndian Act,” read a statement signed by chiefs and matriarchs Randy Dudoward, Arnold Brooks, Merle Hughes, Clifford Musgrave, Beatrice Bryant, Donald Alexcee, Clyde Dudoward, Elaine Hughes, William Sampson and Alex Campbell.

“The authority of the elected mayor and council extends only to the borders of our reserve lands. The tribes have full and final authority to decide what projects and developments will be accepted over their traditional territories. We will provide openness and transparency in relation to all projects with our members and the mayor and his k’umsi’wah [white people] lawyer and consultants should cease and desist all such misrepresentations on our behalf.”

The agreement comes after three years of discussion, community meetings and legal advice and outlines support for a pipeline shipping refined oil to Grassy Point for Export. Elder Jack White said that what earned the groups support was the consultation undertaken by Eagle Spirit Energy.

“Unlike some of the LNG proposals to date, our tribes support this project because Eagle Spirit involved us from the very beginning, providing the very best environmental safeguards, and will provide significant financial, employment, and educational and training benefits that are consistent with the risk we are taking in our traditional territories.”

“With Eagle Spirit everything is transparent and open, unlike now, where discussion are conducted in secrecy behind closed doors and where a few k’umsi’wah [white people] who have no understanding of our tribes and history are making all the decisions.”

Lax Kw’alaams Mayor Garry Reece did not immediately return a request for an interview from the Northern View.