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Images from a Department of Lands inspector’s report show debris left at the area. (N.W.T. Department of Lands) After several warnings, The Gwich’in Tribal Council is evicting the Government of the Northwest Territories from a patch of land on the Dempster Highway after the territorial government failed to clean up after itself.

The N.W.T. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) leased a plot of land between Fort McPherson and Tsiigehtchic from the Gwich’in and erected a fire lookout tower. The land is part of the ‘s land claim agreement.

An inspector with a separate N.W.T. department, the Department of Lands, went out to the site in June 2016 and discovered that ENR had degraded and rutted the area around the tower with a backhoe, the use of which was against the lease agreement. The inspector’s report was sent to both the Gwich’in Tribal Council and ENR.

Under the lease, if ENR is told its breached the agreement, it has seven days to "remedy the breach" or the lease can be terminated. Debris left at the site on the Dempster Highway. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources, who was leasing the site from the Gwich’in, has been evicted after it failed to remediate the area. (N.W.T. Department of Lands) In September, the Gwich’in Tribal Council wrote a letter to ENR, demanding it clean up the site. A month later, ENR put together a remediation plan and said it was going to clean up the site at the end of October.

That never happened. Too little, too late

In a letter addressed to the Gwich’in Tribal Council on November 1, 2016, Jay Macdonald, a facilities manager for ENR’s forest management division, said the department had hired a contractor to do the clean-up and "although many attempts were made to engage the contractor […]

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