Kaska Nation and TransCanada Sign Protocol

Traditional Knowledge Protocol is first of its kind in Canada

WHITEHORSE, Yukon - March 15, 2005 - The Kaska Nation and TransCanada Corporation’s wholly owned subsidiary, Foothills Pipe Lines Ltd., announced today that they have signed a Traditional Knowledge Protocol. The Protocol sets out how Kaska Traditional Knowledge will be integrated into planning, construction and operations of the Alaska Highway Pipeline Project.

“TransCanada is proud to sign this important agreement with the Kaska,” said Hal Kvisle, TransCanada’s Chief Executive Officer. “Our relationship with the Kaska spans more than 25 years, this Protocol is another way for us to demonstrate our commitment to find practical and definitive solutions that address the needs of communities along the pipeline route while meeting our corporate objectives.”

“We believe this is the most comprehensive agreement of its kind in Canada,” said Kaska Tribal Council Chief Hammond Dick. “TransCanada engaged in an open consultation process and together, we produced an agreement that will address needs of both organizations over the long term.”

“This Protocol sets a high watermark both domestically and internationally with respect to Aboriginal peoples' ownership and control over their traditional knowledge,” says Merle Alexander, who serves as Kaska legal counsel and regularly co–chairs United Nations' traditional knowledge–related working group. “The agreement has set a new standard and may serve as a better practice example for other First Nations.”

Highlights of the Protocol include:

  • Recognition of the role Kaska Elders play in decision–making related to gathering, use and management of traditional knowledge;
  • Affirmation of Kaska ownership rights over their traditional knowledge, including intellectual property rights;
  • Specific provisions addressing the appropriate preservation of Kaska sacred sites; and
  • Acknowledgment that the prior informed consent of the Kaska must be obtained prior to access to traditional knowledge.

“This agreement offers value, not just for the Kaska but for all First Nations,” said Kaska Dena Council Chief Negotiator Dave Porter. “It confirms our ownership and control over our traditional knowledge and enables our Elders to lead our efforts.”

The Traditional Knowledge Protocol is a component of the Kaska-Foothills Agreement in Principle signed in January 2004. It will also be a component of the Participation Agreement that will supersede the Agreement in Principle.

The Participation Agreement will specify benefits and opportunities Kaska communities would receive through the advancement of the Alaska Highway Pipeline Project.

The Kaska Nation includes five First Nations in the southeast Yukon and northern British Columbia. Their traditional territory covers about 25 per cent of the Yukon, adjacent areas of Northwest Territories and about 10 per cent of British Columbia. The Kaska land claims are part of the first comprehensive claim accepted by Canada under its 1973 land claims policy.

Foothills Pipe Lines Ltd. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of TransCanada Corporation. The current Foothills system extends more than 1,000 kilometres across Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan. Foothills and its subsidiaries hold the certificates to build the Canadian portion of the Alaska Highway Pipeline Project. The Alaska Highway Pipeline Project will bring Prudhoe Bay natural gas from Alaska to markets in Canada and the United States.

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For further information, please contact:

Media Inquiries:
TransCanada
Kurt Kadatz / Hejdi Feick
(403) 920-7859 or Toll Free (800) 608-7859

Kaska Tribal Council:
Celia Sollows
(780) 903-8577