Yukon becomes battleground for First Nation rights, leftover Lenins, Hitler's holiday camp

    by Best of the Web
    Wednesday, 8 November 2017 12:33 GMT

People visit apartment-style tombs of their loved ones during the observance of All Saints day at Navotas Public cemetery in Metro Manila, Philippines November 1, 2017. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

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After 7 years of consultation, First Nation tribes in Canada's remote but resource-rich Yukon Territory, reached an agreement with the government.

The indigenous community would allow for industrial development on 20 percent of the sprawling 26,000 square miles of the Peel Watershed, with the remainder to be preserved as a nature reserve.

However, a legal dispute began when the Yukon government claimed the agreement, based on a joint state-indigenous commission, was advisory and non-binding.

The First Nations groups maintain that historic treaties between indigenous groups and the government are worthless if the agreements based on them are disregarded.

""It would destroy the faith of First Nations in these modern treaties if the government can just go back and start over and even then can reject the whole thing," said Thomas Berger, a lawyer who represents the First Nations and environmental groups."

Campaigners have taken their case to court, arguing that Canada's legal system favours resource extraction over indigenous rights, which contradicts Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's promises to bring reconciliation between the government and indigenous peoples.

The case, which has now reached Canada's Supreme Court, could have significant bearing on future land disputes, Dan Levin writes for the New York Times.

""If we win, it will be a huge victory for First Nations across Canada," said Simon Mervyn, chief of the Na-Cho Nyak Dun. "The ruling will set a national precedent for how our final agreements are interpreted.""

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