Carry the Kettle Nakoda Nation Files Judicial Review Application Against the Government of Saskatchewan

Carry the Kettle Nakoda Nation Files Judicial Review Application Against the Government of Saskatchewan

by ahnationtalk on March 22, 2022144 Views

REGINA, SK, March 22, 2022- The Carry the Kettle Nakoda Nation (“CTK”) has just filed a judicial review in the Court of Queen’s Bench against the Government of Saskatchewan (“GoS”) over its failure to meaningfully consult and accommodate CTK in its recent decisions to sell and lease Crown lands.

CTK says that the Crown failed to live up to its legal obligations under Treaty 4 and the consultation case law when it decided to sell or lease Crown lands within CTK’s Traditional Territory by refusing to consider the cumulative adverse effects on CTK’s Treaty rights.

The GoS maintains that CTK (and other Indigenous Nations) can only exercise their Treaty rights on unoccupied Crown lands or lands they have the right to access. However, since signing Treaty 4, successive governments have sold off and leased vast amounts of Crown land in CTK’s Traditional Territory.

The CTK people now only have access to approximately 13% of their Traditional Territory left to exercise their Treaty rights, practice their culture, and maintain their way of life, and much of the remaining land is not suitable for these purposes.

CTK made its best efforts to engage with the GoS and identify the issues, risks, and impacts of the GoS’s decisions to dispose of the lands, however, CTK says that the GoS failed to live up to the principles and directives issued by the courts and required by the Treaty. The GoS stated it would only consider “site specific” impacts to specific parcels of land.

CTK claims that the GoS relied on a process which was overly narrow and focused on site-specific impacts. The GoS failed to take into account the lived experience of CTK people struggling to maintain their way of life and culture on the little remaining Crown land.

CTK Chief Brady OWatch states:

“The Crown’s refusal to consider cumulative adverse effects on our Treaty rights from the disposition of Crown lands is of grave significance to the CTK people and  should be of great concern to all citizens, businesses, and investors in Saskatchewan and western Canada interested in ensuring that the Treaty relationship be honoured. We don’t want to be in the courts, but the GoS has left us with no other place to go. The land in our territory has already diminished to such an extent that practice of our Treaty rights is near impossible. In the face of our reality, further disposing of Crown lands without any consideration of the adverse impact such a decision has on the ability of our members to meaningfully practice their Treaty rights is contrary to the Treaty, consultation obligations on the Crown, and the entire Treaty relationship.”

CTK Councilor Conrad Medicinerope adds:

“Our people need Crown lands to exist in our Territory for their Treaty 4 rights to remain meaningful or capable of being exercised. We can barely do that now as  governments have sold off and leased so much of the Crown land base. That’s why we asked the GoS to work with us in the consultation process in a good way and to    look carefully and consider the serious impacts and risks that further sales of the remaining Crown parcels would have on our people.”

Chief Brady OWatch adds:

“The Crown was made aware of these significant issues and concerns when the community filed a legal action in 2017. However, the GoS didn’t change its basic approach with us and or its overly limited view of our rights and its simplistic consultation process. Over the last two years, the GoS just charged ahead and sold and     leased more Crown lands as if it was dealt a blank map. It’s playing a thoughtless and unfair shell game.”

CTK is asking the court to order the GoS to properly consult with CTK on cumulative adverse effects of its land dispositions. The Supreme Court of BC recently found that the Government of BC had infringed the Treaty rights of the Blueberry River First Nation by failing to take into account cumulative effects in its decision making and ordered the Crown to work with the Nation to find solutions. The situation that CTK faces in southern Saskatchewan is in many ways more dire.

For further information: Ms. Karey Brooks, Q.C., at (778)-990-8129, [email protected]

NT5

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