Federal gov't ordered to negotiate over Taku River Tlingit's Yukon land claims

The Yukon Supreme Court has ordered the federal government to begin negotiations with the Taku River Tlingit First Nation over its transboundary land claim in Yukon. The court action was precipitated by Yukon's plan to build a campground at Atlin Lake.

Yukon Supreme Court finds feds have not dealt with First Nation honourably

The Taku River Tlingit First Nation is based in Atlin, B.C. Its land claim lies 92 per cent in B.C. and eight per cent in Yukon. (CBC)

The Yukon Supreme Court has ordered the federal government to begin negotiations with the Taku River Tlingit First Nation over its transboundary land claim in Yukon.

The Atlin, B.C.-based First Nation filed suit in 2014, asking the court to protect lands it has claimed in Yukon.

Yukon Justice Ron Veale's ruling says the federal government agreed to negotiate a land claim agreement with the First Nation in 1984. 

Most of the claim is in B.C., but about eight per cent is in Yukon — including all of the land about 100 kilometers southeast of Whitehorse around Little Atlin Lake, from Tagish to Jake's Corner.

The First Nation argued that Ottawa has not followed through with promises to negotiate a treaty, and control of the land was devolved to the Yukon government in 2003.

The Yukon portion became contentious after the territorial government decided to build a campground at Atlin Lake, within the First Nation's traditional territory. The First Nation says the federal government has an obligation to protect the First Nation's interests both in B.C. and Yukon, until the claims can be settled.

The federal government had planned to settle the B.C. claim first, but Veale ruled that there is no reason to delay the transboundary negotiations.

Veale said Ottawa has not been dealing with the First Nation honourably. He said Ottawa must negotiate, but left the details up to the parties.