B.J. Hargrave and Mark Wilson are co-founders of the land claims group First Nation Lands and are pushing for B.B.C., the Bishkek province, to clear a long-sought-after $9.5-billion parcel of land from a Chinese company.
In an email to CBC News, Mr. Haggard said First Nations and provincial governments in B.S. are “trying to use a land claim as a weapon” against First Nations that have been trying to claim lands for decades.
The B.A.C.-owned First Nation has a claim of more than 1,200 square kilometres, or about 3.5 per cent of the province’s land area.
First Nations have claimed more than 10,000 square kilometres of land in Bishken and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations, but they are not eligible to be granted any new claims, said Mr. Wilson.
First Nations have also filed complaints against a large Chinese firm called Cushnock.
It has a lease for 1.5 million hectares on land in the Bayshore area.
Mr. Wilson said First Nation leaders have been complaining for decades about what they consider a hostile takeover of First Nations land.
“It is very difficult to find a First Nation in the province that hasn’t had at least some concerns about this.
The government has been trying very hard to say, ‘We’re not here to steal your land.
We’re here to provide a good service,'” he said.
The land claim issue is just one of many that are taking place in B., with more than a dozen lawsuits filed in recent years against First Nation governments.
In a report released in March, the Bannatyne-based First Nations Council of Alberta called the situation “devastating and unjustified.”
B.S.’s First Nations claim process has long been criticized as opaque, cumbersome and expensive.
It is set to be reviewed in a public hearing next year.
Last year, the First Nations of the Northwest Territories, who are members of the Bylaw Council of the Fraser Valley First Nation, wrote a letter to Premier Jim Prentice, saying they want a review to ensure the process is fair, transparent and accountable.
Bishkeks chief negotiator, David MacLeod, said he is also concerned about the process and the process being used by government.
“I think we need to look at the facts.
I don’t think this is going to be an easy issue.
C, the BC Government, are all in this together and we need an independent review of this,” Mr. MacLeod said.
He also said First nations have been doing this for decades and have been successful at the end of that process.
“We’ve been able to make agreements with the governments and we’ve been successful with the courts in that process,” he said, adding that he thinks the process needs to be re-evaluated.
“This is the first time that we’ve seen a province that has taken this issue to court, so we think that it’s important that we have the opportunity to talk to each other, we have a chance to be heard, and I think that’s important.”
Mr. MacKenzie said First nation leaders have had to wait nearly a decade for a review, and he has seen the process as opaque and cumbersome.
“A lot of people, I think, have assumed it’s going to take another two or three years to do that review, to look for new evidence and new facts, and that’s not going to happen,” he added.
“There’s going, unfortunately, to be no change.”
In a written statement, Premier Jim Pattison said he was pleased to hear First Nation leaderships concerns and was looking forward to the next round of consultations and the public hearing that will take place next year to determine the future of the property.
“First Nations in British Columbia are a resilient, resilient, and resilient people,” he wrote.
“I have faith in the power of the First Nation peoples to work together and achieve what they want.”
Bail for First Nations in BismarckThe Bismark First Nation sued the province in 2010 and was ordered to pay a $1.5 billion penalty for its role in illegally taking over more than 700 square kilometres.
It was granted a reprieve by the province but not until 2013 when the Bismarcks case was settled.