Action on James Street Bridge Needed
THUNDER BAY – The James Street Bridge remains a closed barrier to people, and vehicles. The CN Rail traffic is continuing to use the bridge.
Fort William First Nation Chief Georjann Morriseau states, “The permitting FWFN has addressed is within legal context. Contrary to what may have been expressed; there are currently NO agreements that address or provide these permits for any right of ways”.
FWFN asserts that CN has tracks that are trespassing on their lands.
“We are looking to meet/speak with AANDC on the matter to reaffirm this. To date, no real substantial or meaningful solution has been proposed to open the bridge. Very one sided in my opinion,” adds the Chief.
Evicting CN Rail in British Columbia
The move comes as British Columbia Anishinabek communities have issued eviction notices to CN Rail and forestry companies.
Simgiigyet’m Gitwangak and Gitsegukla issued eviction notices Thursday, to all Sports Fisheries, Forest Industry and CN Rail to leave Gitxsan lax yip by August 4, 2014.
“This notice is pursuant to ayokim Gitxsan supported by the decision by the Supreme Court of Canada that the Crown must obtain consent and preserve the interests of the Gitxsan before carrying on any activities on Gitxsan lax yip, 33,000 sq km of territory in northwestern British Columbia,” stated the Gitxsan Treaty Organization.
In a statement released on Thursday the GTO state, “This eviction notice affects all sports fisheries on the Skeena River and tributaries, all forest activities authorized by BC Timber Sales and FLNRO, and CN Rail. All are expected to vacate and cease activities on August 4, 2014 until both Crowns have obtained the required consent of the Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs.
“The Crowns have carried on what the Gitxsan Chiefs believe to be a fraudulent consultation process by FLNRO BC Timber Sales and have not implemented any consultations before permitting sports fisheries and transportation of goods by CN Rail. This is a huge trespass on Gitxsan lands by the Crown and makes futile any efforts by the BC LNG Team to develop any meaningful relationship or reconciliation with the Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs”.
Sagum Higookw, Vernon Smith stated “In line with our ayookw, the Supreme Court of Canada says repelling trespassers is a necessary element of our title.”
“The Crowns refuse to abide by the rulings of BC courts that the Gitxsan have strong prima facie rights and good prima facie title to these lands since contact in 1846. “There is no legislative authority,” says Negotiator Beverley Clifton Percival, “for these government bureaucrats to make determinations regarding Gitxsan strength of title and rights. Without the consent by the Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs they are trespassers.”
“The Crown has never been honourable in their engagement with the Gitksen since 1997,” says Tenimgyet, Art Mathews, “Harvesters of trees and fish are now evicted.”
Fort William First Nation on Off-roaders
The Fort William First Nation has set in place a precedent as well. Off-roaders have been banned from the community lands. The move came after the Pow Wow grounds in the community were damaged by four-wheelers.
The senseless act came in 2012, and led to action by the Chief and Council. No one has tried to fight the restrictions.