Dakwäkäda/Haines Junction, Yukon – Champagne and Aishihik First Nations (CAFN), the Government of Yukon (Yukon), and Yukon Energy Corporation (YEC) have reached historic agreements for a better future for Äshèyi (Aishihik). The new agreements for a collaborative approach to operation of the Aishihik Generating Station (AGS or dam) were signed Thursday, July 21, during the CAFN General Assembly at Takhini River Subdivision.
“Fifty years since the construction of the Aishihik Generating Station, we are at a major turning point as we sign these agreements. These agreements are built through CAFN asserting Dän K’e – our way. We have built a new collaborative relationship with the Government of Yukon (Yukon), and we have a new path to reduce the impacts by working with Yukon Energy Corporation. We understand the dam is vital to power the Yukon, and we know that together we can do much better to reduce its harms to CAFN lands, water and people. Today we start a new path forward together to stop the harms and begin to restore Äshèyi. The path to true reconciliation and healing is going to be a long one. While this first step is a good indication we’re on that path, it’s only the first step.”
Kaaxnox, Dän Nätthe Äda (Chief Steve Smith)
“The Yukon government is committed to strong Government-to-Government relationships that foster reconciliation and we are pleased to forge a new collaborative partnership with the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations and the Yukon Energy Corporation. Renewable energy is essential to address climate change and meet the Yukon’s clean energy targets set out in Our Clean Future. These agreements establish a shared path forward for the long-term operation of the Aishihik Generating Station so that all Yukoners can continue to rely on this renewable energy source.”
Yukon Premier Sandy Silver
“The Aishihik Generating Station is critical to delivering the energy that Yukon needs today and tomorrow. These agreements chart a path for Yukon Energy, the Yukon government and Champagne and Aishihik First Nations to work together in a manner that respects the interests of the people whose traditional territories and land the facility is located, to maintain the benefits of renewable energy produced by the facility, while minimizing the impacts that come with generating that energy. The work that has gone into developing these agreements has shown us all that long term solutions and improvements to processes require strong relationships built on respect. The result will be a brighter and more successful future for all Yukon people.”
Lesley Cabott, Chair, Yukon Energy Board of Directors
CAFN, Yukon and YEC have carried out a long and thorough process to reach these agreements, and they are founded on years of input and guidance from CAFN Citizens.
The Accord and Agreements are a commitment to a renewed relationship and a shared path forward regarding the long-term operation of the AGS and stewardship of Äshèyi.
The Parties recognize the strong foundation provided by the CAFN Final Agreement and Self-government Agreement and the assessment and licensing processes created through those Agreements. The Parties are committed to working collaboratively and in partnership through these processes and over the long-term operation of the AGS.
The government-to-government Accord is CAFN and Yukon’s commitment to collaborate on shared priorities for the AGS and Äshèyi. The Accord establishes a long-term relationship supported by a combination of bilateral and trilateral Agreements between CAFN, Yukon and YEC. The Accord identifies Senior Officials from both governments who are responsible for the implementation of the Accord and Agreement. These Senior Officials will provide updates and information back to their respective organizations.
CAFN, YG and YEC have created a number of Agreements to guide their relationship regarding the long-term operation of the AGS and bring effect to reconciliation through the implementation of shared priorities. The Parties have identified opportunities for community development, promoting the practice of traditions in and celebrating the cultural history of Äshèyi, focusing on stewardship in the area through research and monitoring, and supporting energy planning and improving energy efficient infrastructure. All these priorities will be realized through working together in collaboration and partnership.
Äshèyi Män (Aishihik Lake) is in the CAFN Traditional Territory in the Yukon. For thousands of years CAFN dän (people) have lived at Äshèyi in areas including Äshèyi village, Chemi and The Yanlin (Canyon). Äshèyi remains of great importance to CAFN dän connection to the land, water, culture and heritage.
Aishihik Generating Station
The AGS is located at the south end of Äshèyi Män, about 110 kilometres northwest of Whitehorse, and has provided electricity to Yukoners since 1975. It is a significant power source for the Yukon’s energy system. The facility is capable of producing 37 megawatts of power, and is critical in meeting peak winter demand.
Over the course of its operations, the AGS has undergone a number of assessment and licensing processes. Most recently, YEC is seeking a 5-year licence to maintain its operations. These processes provide for broad involvement and CAFN dän have actively participated through sharing valuable knowledge and information. The strong relationship foundation created by the Accord and Agreements will guide the Parties over the long-term operation of the AGS, inclusive of any future licensing processes and licence implementation.
CAFN Citizens have participated in every AGS icensing process since the very first Yukon Water Board hearing in 1972.
For more information:
Strategic Communications Manager
Champagne and Aishihik First Nations
Strategic Communications Advisor
Government of Yukon
Champagne and Aishihik First Nations
Yukon Energy Corporation
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