Five years after announcing the intention to establish a tribal park 125 kilometres southwest of Williams Lake, Yunesit’in and Xeni Gwet’in leadership said they hope to develop a management plan within the next three to five years.
Yunesit’in Chief Russell Myers Ross and Xeni Gwe’tin band manager Dalton Baptiste provided an update to the Cariboo Regional District board at its regular meeting Friday, July 19.
Dasiqox Tribal Park is slated for an area separate and distinct from the lands the Supreme Court of Canada acknowledged Tsilhqot’in title to in 2014.
“Our initiative was to start within our community to figure out what we want,” Russell Myers said.
The proposed New Prosperity Mine project in the area of Teztan Biny (Fish Lake), forced the communities to try to develop something they wanted to see there other than a mine, he added.
Baptiste said he also sits on the Title Transition Table that looks at what is title land and how do the Xeni Gwet’in people see the governance of the title lands.
“We’ve been looking at how do we move from B.C. management of title lands to our own management? We’ve started to talk to tenure holders of all sorts, commercial owners, guide outfitters, range operators and private land owners living in the area and enjoying what is there,” Dalton said. “We have been creating relationships with them and finding out who is who, what is their operation and interest in that area, and how long they plan to be in the area.”
Myers Ross said through public engagement sessions they heard concerns about uncertainty, potential impacts on forest and mining industry operations, and current tribal park boundaries.
“Further dialogue is needed to work through these issues,” he added.
Read more: Open to feedback on Dasiqox Tribal Park