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Press Release Inuvik NT Tuesday, February 4, 2014 Re: Gwich’in Tribal Council intends to challenge the Yukon’s unilateral development and adoption of a “new” Peel Watershed Regional Land Use Plan through litigation On January 21, 2014, the Yukon government announced its approval of a regional land use plan for the Peel Watershed over the objections of the Gwich’in Tribal Council and contrary to land use planning process requirements. The Gwich’in people have strong ties to the Peel Watershed. This connection was recognized by the Crown through the establishment of the Peel River Preserve in 1921, the creation of the Fort McPherson Group Trapping Area in the early 1950’s and the protection of rights for the Gwich’in within the Yukon in the Yukon Transboundary Agreement of 1992. “The Peel River Watershed is in our shared Traditional Territory with the North Yukon First Nations of Nacho Nyak Dun, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in and Vuntut Gwitchin. Inherent rights to hunt, trap, fish and to have access to water are provided for in the Transboundary Agreement of the Gwich’in Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement. The Gwich’in also has fee simple title to land in the Primary Use Area,” said GTC Vice President Norman Snowshoe. In recognition of these rights, the Transboundary Agreement guarantees the Gwich’in Tribal Council a right to participate in any land use planning process relating to the primary use area in the Peel Watershed. When the Peel Watershed Planning Commission was established in 2004, the GTC was optimistic that it would result in a plan that would protect the exercise of Gwich’in 1|Page

GTC press release Feb 4 2014

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