Four First Nations in northern British Columbia are banding together to support energy exports as they work to attract economic investment in the region despite opposition from other Indigenous groups.
The elected leaders of the Haisla, Lax Kw’alaams, Metlakatla and Nisga’a signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on balancing their desire for economic growth with backing climate action.
Three of the four leaders unveiled the accord on Wednesday while in Vancouver attending the World Indigenous Business Forum. They presented their pro-resource views amid opposition from other First Nations, including a campaign led by eight Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs who have been vocal in fighting against energy exports from the West Coast.
Haisla Chief Councillor Crystal Smith, Lax Kw’alaams Mayor John Helin and Nisga’a President Eva Clayton are among the nearly 500 delegates attending the forum, which is being held this week to encourage greater participation by First Nations in the economy, including resource development.
Metlakatla Chief Councillor Harold Leighton couldn’t attend Wednesday’s news conference, but he recently signed the memo and asked Mr. Helin to speak on his behalf as the Lax Kw’alaams and Metlakatla are both Coast Tsimshian members.