The Gwich'in Tribal Council is rejecting proposed changes to the Mackenzie Resource Management Act. The unanimous decision was made at a meeting held in Inuvik by community leadership representing all four Gwich’in communities.

The federal government wants to merge regional land and water boards into one superboard. That would eliminate the Gwich’in Land and Water Board.

But Gwich'in Tribal Council president Robert Alexie Jr. says the Gwich'in Land and Water Board was set up so people could have a meaningful say in development in the settlement area. In a statement, he calls the draft legislation a step backwards.

“My people have spoken, and what Canada is proposing is clearly unacceptable,” Alexie Jr. said.

He says the federal government plans to finalize amendments to the act by the end of the month.

The decision to reject the changes was made following meetings held across the Mackenzie Delta last week. Senior officials of the council travelled to Aklavik, Tsiigehtchic, Fort McPherson and Inuvik to discuss the issue with Gwich’in residents and key stakeholders.