Liard First Nation criticized by anti-fracking protesters

Group called 'Kaska Concerned about Land Protection and Good Government' questions First Nation leadership

Kaska protesters say First Nation has not consulted its members, fear 'backroom deal'

Alfred Chief of the Liard First Nation is part of a splinter group called Kaska Concerned about Land Protection and Good Government. (Archive)

A group of Kaska protesters joined a small demonstration against fracking today in Whitehorse. 

Kaska protesters complained of a lack of consultation — not only from the Yukon government but also their First Nation's leadership. 

Alfred Chief, a member of the Liard First Nation, read a letter addressed to the Premier from George Morgan, who was until last year the Executive Director of the Liard First Nation. Morgan's letter was written on behalf of a group called Kaska Concerned about Land Protection and Good Government.

"We remind the Premier that aboriginal rights are a collective right not held by our titular leadership," he said.

"Fracking cannot proceed in the traditional territory of the Kaska unless there is widespread community support. We can assure you if you are planning a backroom deal with our current leadership — we have not been consulted or accommodated by them either." 

Daniel Morris, chief of the Liard First Nation, could not be reached for comment.

Neither the chief or any other official representative of the Liard First Nation attended a public consultation held on fracking in the community of Watson Lake in June 2014.

LFN chief 'hasn't come forward' with a position

Alfred Chief says Morris  — who has not talked with CBC since being elected in 2013 — has not held meetings with LFN members to discuss fracking.

"I really don't know what his issue," Chief said. "He hasn't come forward saying he's for or against it. I'm thinking he's for it."

Rose Caesar of the Liard First Nation echoed that view. "I am really requesting that we be consulted properly," she said.

Monday's demonstration also included Maude Barlow of the Council of Canadians. She urged Yukoners to protect their water by rejecting any plans for fracking.

"I'm here in solidarity," Barlow told the demonstrators. "The Yukon has not yet started this process. I beg you — don't start it. The water here is so precious."

The Yukon government has said it will permit fracking only in the Liard River basin, and only with the support of affected first nations. The Liard River basin falls within the traditional territory of the Liard First Nation.

The Liard First Nation does not have a settled land claim. It is currently under third-party management to deal with outstanding debts, is being audited by the federal government and has failed to meet requirements of the federal First Nations Transparency Act. 


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