May 26, 2020
Dear Honorable Premier Kenney and Minister Wilson,
RE: Fort McKay First Nations vs. Prosper Petroleum Ltd and Alberta Energy Regulator
We write as the Sovereign Nations of Treaty 8 Chiefs regarding the recent Alberta Court of Appeal ruling on April 24, 2020. We are delighted with Court’s ruling, which affirms that the Government of Alberta must act in a manner which advances the intended purposes of Treaty 8 when making decisions about our territory and rights.
As the Treaty 8 Chiefs, we represent the collective interests and rights of the Nations in Treaty 8. The Nations are the original Nehiyaw, Denesoline and Tsattine peoples who have been connected to our lands, waters, environment, animals and spirit beings since time immemorial. Today we continue to assert our decision-making authority in our lands in accordance with our laws and our responsibilities. We have been stating this position for 121 years with all levels of government. However, the Government of Alberta has repeatedly disregarded our Inherent and Treaty rights and failed to respect our authority over our territory.
The Court of Appeal’s decision affirms what we have always known -that the Government of Alberta must treat us as partners in decisions about Treaty 8, and that no decisions should be made which are contrary to the intended purposes of our Treaty.
The Court’s decision also reaffirms our commitment to protecting and advancing our Inherent and Treaty rights. We have consistently held that Treaty 8 constitutes a Nationto- Nation relationship with the Crown, and that no decisions about the use and disposition of lands in our territory should be made without the full and complete participation of our Nations.
We reiterate our expectation that the Government of Alberta must act in accordance with the direction of the Court and the spirit and intent of our Treaty, including by immediately suspending decisions relating to the disposition of our Treaty lands.
Feel free to contact me to arrange a meeting to discuss these matters further.
Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta