A new agreement between Yukon's three northern first nations aims to ensure sustainable development on their traditional territory.
The Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in, Vuntut Gwitchin and Nacho Nyak Dun signed the North Yukon First Nations Inter-Governmental Accord in Dawson City Thursday.
Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in chief Roberta Joseph says the accord will help ensure First Nation rights under the umbrella final agreement are respected.
"We need to ensure that activities in our traditional territories are conducted in an environmentally sustainable way to ensure that our traditions and our values remain intact," Joseph said Friday.
Joseph says under the agreement the three First Nations will push for changes to territorial and federal legislation that affect their land claims. The goal, she said, is for the three nations to benefit from development on their terms.
"These resources have sustained us for generations," said Vuntut Gwitchin chief Roger Kyikavichik. "The alliance between the northern nations is a significant step forward. We will work together to protect and preserve our renewable and non-renewable resources for future generations."
Joseph says industry should not consider the accord a barrier to development, saying the First Nations are simply protecting their interests.
"I don't feel that anybody should look at this as a hurdle," she said.