Yukon First Nation Chiefs met with the federal Minister of Aboriginal Affairs this week in Ottawa. They discussed with the Minister their concerns with Bill S-6, legislation that will change a number of critical sections of the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act (YESAA). This Act is one of the comprehensive pieces of federal legislation necessary to implement chapters of the Treaties agreed to in the 1990s between the majority of Yukon First Nation governments and the two public governments, Canada and Yukon.
These Treaties are a big deal; they are recognized and protected as an expression of Aboriginal rights through s. 35 of the Constitution of Canada, the supreme law of our land. YESAA gives presence and authority to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board, one of the co-management bodies that were agreed to in the Treaties. The Board conducts assessments on all lands in Yukon, First Nation, Crown and even lands within municipalities.