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Posted: June 24, 2019

Indigenous observers join Columbia River Treaty talks

After the seventh round of Columbia River Treaty negotiations on June 19 and 20, in Washington, D.C., Katrine Conroy, Minister Responsible for the Columbia River Treaty, and the Ktunaxa, Syilx/Okanagan and Secwepemc Nations observer team have issued the following statements.

“This round of negotiations marked a historic moment as representatives of Columbia Basin Indigenous Nations were present as observers for the first time. Representatives of the Ktunaxa, Syilx/Okanagan and Secwepemc Nations had already been collaborating with the governments of British Columbia and Canada on negotiation positions and strategies; but this week, they were present in the negotiating room and participated in breakout discussions with Canada and B.C. during negotiations,” stated Conroy.

“This is a very significant step forward – not just in terms of the Columbia River Treaty, but also in supporting our government’s commitment to reconciliation and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. During the latest round of negotiations, the American and Canadian delegations took stock of progress of negotiations since the Columbia River Treaty modernization process began in May 2018. The latest discussions focused on flood-risk management, power and adaptive management.”

The following is a joint statement from the observer team representing the Ktunaxa, Syilx/Okanagan and Secwepemc Nations: “While a great deal of work remains to be done, we are very pleased with what we have observed and participated in to date. This precedent-setting role as observers builds on and enhances our important work with Canada and B.C. over the last two years. We are confident that we can continue to contribute positively to these negotiations and help realize the First Nations’ goals for meaningful outcomes from these negotiations that are of critical importance to our nations and homelands.”

The talks will return to British Columbia in the fall, with the next round of negotiation meetings scheduled to take place in Cranbrook on Sept. 10 and 11.

To share views on the treaty, email: [email protected] (mailto:[email protected]) or write to the Columbia River Treaty Team, Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, PO Box 9314 Stn Prov Govt, Victoria, B.C. V8W 9N1.

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