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Tsilhqot'in, B.C. government reconciliation talks to focus on mill and moose

VICTORIA — Restarting a sawmill and rebuilding moose populations in British Columbia's Interior are now the focus of reconciliation talks between the provincial government and Tsilhqot'in Nation.

The talks began last year after the Tsilhqot'in won in court title to 1,750 square kilometres of land in the remote Nemiah Valley.

Aboriginal Relations Minister John Rustad says both sides have signed a letter of intent, paving the way for the next stage of discussions.

He says a working group will examine the possibility of restarting the River West Forest sawmill located west of Williams Lake, which would generate revenue and jobs for the nation.

Rustad says the Tsilhqot'in will also get more time to consult community members, and both sides have agreed to find ways to support the recovery of the region's moose population.

Tsilhqot'in Chief Joe Alphonse said last year that the B.C. government recognized the court ruling as a sign to start wide-ranging negotiations after decades of legal battles.

The Canadian Press

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