Northwestern Canada’s First Nation taking legal action against government over ‘unauthorized’ cabins

April Martel, chief of the K’atl’odeeche First Nation, said in a statement that members of the two Métis groups do not have rights on their land, and it will no longer tolerate the ‘disrespectful’ infringement of its treaty rights and titles. (Anna Desmarais/CBC)
The Kátł’odeeche Fırst Natıon says it’s initiating a legal battle with the g​​overnment of the Northwest Territories and two Métis groups over the “unauthorized” construction of new cabins on its traditional territory.

In a news release Thursday, the First Nation says legal action has been initiated against the Northwest Territory Métis Nation, the Hay River Métis Government Council and its president Trevor Beck, to halt the construction on Kátł’odeeche Got’ı̨e Ndehe — its traditional territory.

The First Nation, which has a reserve near Hay River, N.W.T., says it has expressed concerns about the construction to the federal and territorial governments for years. The First Nation has filed a statement of claim in a lawsuit, according to an email from Peter Redvers, who works in negotiations and consultation for the KFN.

The statement says the First Nation provided an inventory of the unauthorized cabins, as well as a management plan to the Department of Lands, and also asked the territorial government to enforce its own obligations to uphold Treaty 8 and the Dehcho Interim Measures Agreement.

“The GNWT has refused to do so and continues to allow new cabins to be established without consultation or authorization,” the statement said.

The allegations have not yet been tested in court. CBC requested comment from the territorial government and the Métis groups, as well as the Kátł’odeeche Fırst Natıon.

The territorial government’s Department of Lands declined to comment, citing the lawsuit before the courts.

Métis have no rights to build cabins on KFN territory: chief

The statement further alleges that the two Métis groups and Beck have started building cabins at several KFN sites, without consent from the Kátł’odeeche Fırst Natıon or the government.

Chief April Martel said in the release that members of those Métis groups do not have rights to build cabins on KFN land, and it will no longer tolerate the “disrespectful” infringement of its treaty rights and titles.

“This group of Métis were never out on our land until they started moving here from other communities for work,” she said in the statement.

“Their asserted rights have not been ‘recognized’ or ‘established’ by any government or in any court, and certainly not by the KFN.”

Related stories around the North:

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Greenland/Denmark: Greenland and Denmark finalize cooperation agreement on marine pollution response, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: New guideline launched for Arctic-specific risk assessment in shipping, Eye on the Arctic

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Russia: Indigenous groups paying the price for Russia’s massive Arctic fuel spill, CBC News

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