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B.C. First Nation evicts CN Rail, logging companies, fishermen from their lands

VANCOUVER - Buoyed by a landmark Supreme Court of Canada decision, hereditary chiefs of the Gitxsan (GIT-san) First Nations have served eviction notice to CN Rail, logging companies and sport fishermen to leave their lands.

Chief negotiator Gwaans (gwons) Bev Clifton Percival says these companies have until Aug. 4 to cease operations and leave 33,000 square kilometres of Gitxsan territory along the Skeena River in northwestern British Columbia.

Clifton Percival says the band has been trying to negotiate a treaty with the Crown since 2001 but hasn't made any progress and hasn't had any negotiations for several years.

She says in 2012, some of the lands awarded to the Gitxsan in an earlier high court ruling were given to the neighbouring Kitsumkalum (kits-um-kalem) and Kitselas (lit-sey-liss) nations in an agreement in principle signed with the provincial and federal governments.

The Gitxsan say because of the Crown's failure to consult them, the companies are trespassing.

Clifton Percival says timber sales, fishing licenses and rail shipments can continue after the Crown has obtained the consent of their chiefs.

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