Federal Cabinet Moves at Last Minute to Extend Dehcho Protected Land

FORT SIMPSON, NT — June 27 — The federal cabinet extended two land use orders-incouncil covering Dehcho land just days before one of the protected areas expired, seemingly timed to influence today’s discussions about negotiations at the Dehcho Assembly.

The Edehzhie (Horn Plateau), a vital and ecologically sensitive area, which had been protected since 2002 was due to expire June 30. Despite many requests since 2006, under the Protected Areas Strategy (PAS), federal officials would not give DFN or the negotiating team any assurances that the protection would be extended until this week. The interim land withdrawal was extended until Oct. 31, 2008.

The federal cabinet also passed an OiC providing interim protection of its traditional area of interest until Oct. 31, 2008 for the Pehdzeh Ki First Nation in the Fort Wrigley area. Both orders are contingent on progress in the negotiations and land selection and are harmonized to have the same expiry date.