Karen Ogen-Toews. Photo supplied

Karen Ogen-Toews. Photo supplied

First Nations economic development is complex, nuanced

It is no longer acceptable to relegate First Nations into poverty

Dear Editor,

The days when First Nations take a back seat on how their territories are managed are past.

In fact it is dismaying to find that some environmental activists are trying to control First Nation territories, just as governments and corporations have done so in the past, and using the same old divide-and-conquer tactics.

There are many First Nations in BC who support responsible economic development in their territories and for many in the north that means LNG development.

It is no longer acceptable to relegate First Nations into poverty or to criticize the many that rightfully want the benefits that flow from LNG development. Many First Nations that relied on the projects like the now-cancelled Pacific NorthWest LNG project are reeling from the negative impacts of the lost opportunity. Because once these projects are gone, well, that’s just it – they’re gone.

Of course, not all First Nations leaders, peoples, or communities support resource development, and they absolutely have every right to oppose it.

But if you hear of eco-activists’ support for Indigenous rights and title, be wary because the support seems to apply only if First Nations oppose development. It looks as if the real green agenda does not really support the full expression of Indigenous decision-making.

It is imperative that we support First Nation decision-making in relation to the development of their territories and remember that it’s they who hold Aboriginal Title, not political organizations or industry.

Karen Ogen-Toews

CEO, First Nations LNG Alliance