Blueberry First Nation in northern British Columbia near the Alberta border has signed a deal with the province worth nearly $300 million.
According to the agreement, $200 million will go into healing the land from industrial disturbances. Another $87 million over three years is from a revenue-sharing agreement for oil and gas projects.
“This agreement will provide a new approach to the responsible resource development, protection of treaty rights and the management of cumulative effects in our territory,” said Chief Judy Desjarlais. “These changes are positive for everyone in the northeast and British Columbia.
“By working together, Blueberry, the province and industry, we will be providing a pathway to address cumulative impacts and stability for resource development.”
The deal was a response to a 2021 ruling from the B.C. supreme court that said the province infringed on the First Nation’s Treaty 8 rights because of decades of industrial development on its territory.
Premier David Eby said the path towards reconciliation is through negotiation – not litigation.
“Full partnership and respect is the only way forward for the northwest and the entire province, not endless court battle and short-term transactional relationships,” he said. “The future lies in a partnership approach to land, water and resource stewardship.”
The deal will also place limits on future oil and gas developments and provide land protections.