VANCOUVER, B.C. (CN) – Years of neglect by the British Columbian government has a Native American community without adequate access to medical care or clean drinking water, the Kelly Lake Cree Nation claims in B.C. Supreme Court. The plaintiffs says their ancestors, from the Cree, Iroquois and Beaver tribes, have lived near Kelly Lake since 1795, but the government still refuses to recognize their title to the land.
“B.C. has engaged and continues to engage in strategic planning decisions, without fulfilling its duty to consult with the plaintiffs, including failing to consult on use, management and control of natural resources, failing to respect their sacred sites, destroying their archeological sites, and destroying their way of life,” the complaint states.
The tribe and its members claim that government discriminated by “deliberately not recognizing the existence of the plaintiffs as aboriginals in the province of British Columbia.”
People in the region do not have the same access to education, employment, and medical services as other citizens of the province, and continued interference with plaintiffs’ traditional lands has caused the destruction of sacred burial grounds and spiritual sites, vegetation and wildlife, according to the complaint.
Plaintiffs seek $60 million in damages, an injunction compelling the government to provide reasonable access to medical care and a declaration of aboriginal title over the disputed territory.
The Kelly Lake Cree Nation is represented by Priscilla Kennedy and Angeline Nyce with Davis LLP.