Xeni Gwet'in
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Xeni Gwet’in win round in fight to protect land

After substantial work by the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation and the Friends of the Nemaiah Valley, two forestry companies – Lignum and West Fraser Mills – have at least temporarily agreed to not try and log in the Brittany triangle, land claimed by the Xeni Gwet’in. However, a third company, Riverside Forest Products, is still attempting to get permission from the B.C. government to log in this area.

These developments have unfolded in the shadow of litigation: the Xeni Gwet'in First Nations Government is taking the federal and provincial governments to the Supreme Court of B.C. in March, 2002. There are two actions being heard together. The first, which was launched in 1989, is for the protection of its community trapline from industrial logging. The second is for aboriginal title to the Brittany Triangle. The Xeni Gwet'in believes aboriginal title to this area is necessary to secure the land base necessary to develop sustainable, long-term enterprises that will allow economic security and cultural survival.

Nevertheless, the situation remains tense as a recent interim decision by the courts did not include an order  preventing logging in the disputed area prior to the long-delayed court case.

For more information, contact David Williams at  dawilliams2@home.com.