BY MANAVPREET SINGH ● LOCAL JOURNALISM INITIATIVE ● APRIL 25, 2023
Source: Energetic City.ca
The Montney Reserve, famous for oil and gas, represents a conflict that resulted in a lengthy legal battle for land and Treaty rights following a complicated history between Canada and Indigenous people.
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — The Montney Reserve, famous for oil and gas, represents a conflict that resulted in a lengthy legal battle for land and Treaty rights following a complicated history between Canada and Indigenous people.
In 1945, the Department of Indian Affairs forced the Fort St. John Beaver Band from the Montney Reserve, and the land was given to returning veterans from the Second World War, according to the Doig River website.
Doig River First Nation members said First Nation leaders during the 1940s couldn’t read or write English — an essential factor in the loss of the Montney Reserve land.
Sandra Apsassin, the Elders coordinator for Blueberry River First Nations, talked about the loss of the Montney Reserve in the Before the Peace podcast, saying it “breaks her heart” every time she thinks about it.
“Our place of happiness was taken away from us by wrongdoings of the Indian affairs, which changed everything for our First Nation communities,” Apsassin said.
According to Elder Gerry Attachie, a former Chief of Doig River First Nation, their ancestors were the guardians of the Montney Reserve. Attachie was one of the first people to fight for the land rights of Montney Reserve, and both Doig River and Blueberry River First Nations received compensation.
The Beaver people used the Montney Reserve area to celebrate births, settle disputes and participate in traditional singing and drumming, according to Attachie.
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Doig River First Nation Chief Trevor Makadahay. (Manavpreet Singh, Energeticcity.ca)