|First Nations Leadership Council Information Bulletin - August 2008
VOLUME 3, ISSUE 6
Children & Families
On July 21 – 23, 2008, the Indigenous Child at the Centre II – BC First Nations Chiefs’ Forum was held at the Chief Joe Mathias Centre. The primary purpose of the Forum was to continue the work arising from the first Indigenous Child at the Centre Forum, held on January 23 – 25, 2008. This second Forum provided the opportunity for First Nations leaders and key technical partners to embark on positive and solution-oriented dialogue concerning the health, safety and well-being of our children, youth, families and communities.
One outcome of the Forum is a “One Heart, One Mind Statement of Solidarity and Cooperation” in which it was affirmed that as Indigenous People, bound by One Heart and One Mind, we affirm our commitment, our unity, and our moral, spiritual, traditional, and political accountability to work together in a Nation-to-Nation and community-driven process to secure the individual and collective survival, dignity and well-being of our children. The Statement will be available at the upcoming meetings of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, the First Nations Summit, and the BC Assembly of First Nations for those that were unable to attend the Forum and wish to sign and support the Statement of Solidarity and Cooperation.
Through this Statement, Chiefs provided qualified support for the Indigenous Child at the Centre Action Plan, subject to the opportunity for further community input through engagement at the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, First Nations Summit, and BC Assembly of First Nations meetings.
The Statement also supported in-principle the establishment of an Interim Chiefs Child and Family Wellness Council that will take primary responsibility: to amend the Action Plan to reflect further input; to develop a workplan to advance and implement the Action Plan; and to develop a Terms of Reference for the First Nations Child and Family Wellness Council. Membership on the interim Council was determined through Regional Caucus sessions during the Forum. To date, the members of the Interim Council are: Chief Betty Patrick, Bev Clifton-Percival, Sandra Jack, Chief Wayne Christian, Chief Robert Pasco, Chief Judy Wilson, Chief Leah George-Wilson, Kathy Bedard Sparrow, Chief Maureen Chapman, and Chief Willie Charlie. The Chiefs of Vancouver Island determined that they would select their member(s) following traditional ceremonies, and their selection(s) will be announced in the near future.
In follow-up to the Forum, the FNLC will be providing a package to all First Nations communities, which will include the draft Action Plan, forum transcripts, and other relevant information. All information and upcoming activities will be made available on the websites of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, First Nations Summit, and the BC Assembly of First Nations.
A joint FNLC-BC Recognition Working Group is tasked with a number of deliverables from the New Relationship document – producing principles & mechanisms for: recognition & Honour of the Crown, consultation/accommodation, shared decision-making, revenue & benefit sharing, and other matters. This group is currently focused on recognition legislation as a priority.
The Province has appointed Geoff Plant to lead the BC negotiating team. There have been meetings since April to discuss the FNLC’s recognition legislation proposal. This is an opportunity to implement real, on-the-ground results of the New Relationship across the province. The FNLC has expressed its expectation that recognition legislation will be announced in the upcoming Fall or Spring session.
Housing and Infrastructure
On May 21, 2008, the FNLC, Province of BC and the Government of Canada signed a Housing Memorandum of Understanding to improve coordination and collaboration, and commit the parties to develop complementary on- and off-reserve housing and infrastructure action plans.
A technical committee representing all parties to the MoU has been formed, and is responsible for overseeing the development of interlinked on and off reserve housing strategies in support of First Nations individuals and families. The political Parties to the MoU will meet annually to discuss progress in implementing the MoU.
The province hosted a series of regional engagement sessions on off-reserve Aboriginal housing across the province. Based on the findings of this engagement, the FNLC, other Aboriginal organizations, and the Province of BC are working to develop the off-reserve Aboriginal housing plan.
The off-reserve Aboriginal housing plan will be coordinated with an on-reserve housing and infrastructure action plan that will be collaboratively developed between First Nations and the federal government in the coming months. A Forum to engage with First Nations on the content of the off-reserve Plan is being targeted for November.
In February 2008, a province-wide First Nations Economic Development Forum was held to review and provide feedback into a draft BC First Nations Economic Development Action Plan. This feedback has now been incorporated, and a revised draft available to all BC First Nations and organizations with an interest and expertise in economic development. We encourage you to comment on this draft, which will be revised again before being considered for approval by resolution in the fall. Please contact one of our offices for a copy of the draft Action Plan.
Frank Paul Inquiry
The Frank Paul inquiry, which began in November, 2007, wrapped up in early May, 2008.
After sitting for over fifty days, the Frank Paul inquiry wrapped up in early May, 2008. Over the course of the inquiry the Commissioner was unable to evaluate all evidence and call all witnesses forward. This was due to the Crown Criminal Justice Branch appealing a decision made by the Commissioner compelling the Crown prosecutors, involved in the Frank Paul case, to testify at the Inquiry. The Criminal Justice Branch believes that no Crown prosecutor should have to testify at this inquiry, as it would have a “chilling effect” on the administration of justice. The appeal of this decision was heard in BC Supreme Court on May 26-28, 2008. In a decision handed down on June 24, Supreme Court Justice Melnick ruled that the Crown had waved immunity and solicitor-client privilege thus allowing the Commissioner discretion as to whether or not Crown prosecutors should have to testify.
Since this decision was handed down, the Ministry of the Attorney General has indicated it will be appealing the Supreme Court’s ruling. The amount of time this appeal will take is undetermined and will further delay a final report from the inquiry.
Updates on the Frank Paul inquiry can be found at the website www.frankpaulinquiry.ca.
In June, the BC Assembly of First Nations, First Nations Summit and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs passed resolutions supporting the Health Governance work of the First Nations Health Council. Specifically, the Chiefs supported the establishment of a Governance Caucus within each of five regions - North, Interior, Fraser, Vancouver Coastal, and Vancouver Island. Each Caucus will be composed of two representatives per First Nation within that region for a total of 406 Caucus members. In addition, each region will appoint a representative to the First Nations Interim Health Governance Committee (FNIHGC) to work alongside representatives from BCAFN, UBCIC and FNS. This will bring total membership of the FNIHGC from 3 members to 8 members.
Regional Governance Caucus meetings will be conducted throughout the late summer and fall of 2008. A provincial meeting of the entire Governance Caucus will take place in fall or winter of 2008 in order to review the findings and direction of the regional sessions and to determine an approach to a new governing structure for First Nations health in BC.
The First Nations Health Council launched a Fit Leadership Program at recent FNS and UBCIC Assemblies. At these assemblies, Chiefs received step-counters and wellness diaries to track their fitness progress as leadership. Physical Activity Specialist Dr. Rosalin Hanna introduced the wellness diaries and discussed fitness with the Chiefs.
On July 2 & 3, in the wake of the federal apology to residential school survivors, the First Nations Health Council, in partnership with Indian Residential School Survivors Society and First Nations and Inuit Health, hosted a two-day forum to map out existing mental health services available to survivors and survivors’ families. The purpose of the forum was to find out what is available, what is working, and where regional and absolute gaps in service exist. The forum is the first of several dialogues aimed at addressing the needs of survivors and intergenerational survivors. The data collected will inform a 10-year mental health plan for First Nations in BC.
BC First Nations Fisheries Council
The First Nations Fisheries Council recently completed a series of community meetings focused on dialogue about long term organizational development and work planning. The Council would like to thank everyone who came out to the meetings in Nanaimo, Prince Rupert, Port Hardy, Prince George, Kamloops, and Abbotsford. A follow up report is currently being completed and will be available by early August.
The First Nations Fisheries Council continues to work with government on issues related to the engagement of First Nations in the development of Pacific Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative (PICFI), moving forward dialogue relating to the requirement to satisfy local First Nations issues relating to access to fish, and working to protect and improve our fisheries resources. The interim members of the BC First Nations Council are Grand Chief Doug Kelly (Tseem Th'ewali) (Stó:lô Tribal Council) – Chairman, Michelle Corfield (Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council), Percy Starr (Kitasoo Nation), Howie Wright, M.Sc., R.P.Bio., (Gitxsan Nation/Okanagan Nation Alliance Fisheries Department), Chief Allan Claxton (Tsawout First Nations) and Chief Thomas Alexis (Tl’azt’en Nation).
The Fisheries Council hosts a bi-weekly information-sharing conference call for the leadership and staff of Regional First Nations Fisheries organizations. For more information, or if you would like to be included in the call, please contact Brenda McCorquodale, Executive Director, at email@example.com.
A master calendar of fisheries meetings and conferences in B.C. is currently being developed. If you would like information about your meetings included please contact the Council or check out the Council’s new website at www.FNFisheriesCouncil.ca.
There may be opportunities related to Communications and Policy Analysis work for First Nations contractors in B.C. If you are interested in getting on an e-mail alert list related to fisheries-oriented contract opportunities, please provide your relevant contact information and a c.v. to the Council at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Council is currently working with governments to facilitate appointments to two important groups:
Coastal Community Economic Development
Western Economic Diversification is developing a new Steering Committee which will make recommendations about economic development funding for coastal communities. They are seeking two First Nations representatives who should have some experience in coastal community economic development, fishing, or other marine-related industries.
Steering Committee members will:
• possess a coast-wide understanding of Aboriginal community economic development issues and aspirations;
• have knowledge of the fishing industry, Aboriginal fishing traditions, or other First Nations marine industry interests;
• will contribute this knowledge to discussions of funding proposals;
• are able to participate in funding decisions at the meetings;
• are willing and able to attend all of the meetings; and
• are willing to review the funding applications prior to the meeting.
The appointment is for 24 months. WED will provide travel expenses for meetings (5 meetings 1 – 2 days each, usually in Vancouver) but does not reimburse Steering Committee members for their time.
If you are interested in becoming a Steering Committee member or would like to nominate someone else who should be considered for these positions, please forward a resume which includes the relevant experience of the candidate to the First Nations Fisheries Council at email@example.com by August 15/08.
Pacific Salmon Commission – Commissioner Position
Fisheries and Oceans Canada is seeking nominations for a vacant First Nations position as a Commissioner on the Pacific Salmon Commission. There are currently two dedicated First Nations Commissioner positions, one currently occupied by Russ Jones from the Haida Nation, and the other position is vacant. Additional details about the position, including a description of the requirements, reimbursement, and term are available on the First Nations Fisheries Council Website at www.fnfishcouncil.ca under the “News” page.
If you are interested in this position or would like to nominate a qualified candidate, please forward a resume which includes the relevant experience of the candidate to the First Nations Fisheries Council at firstname.lastname@example.org by August 15, 08. The First Nations Fisheries Council will work to develop a short list of candidates for the consideration of DFO. Organizations are also able to submit nominations directly to DFO at Attn: Corey Jackson, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Policy Branch, Pacific Region, 200-401 Burrard Street, Vancouver, BC V6C 3S4.
BC First Nations Forestry Council
As forest fires continue to burn across the province, the threat to First Nations communities becomes ever greater, particularly for the 103 communities in the areas of forest destroyed by the mountain pine beetle. All communities should have basic wildfire response and evacuation plans in place and any that do not are urged to contact the First Nations Forestry Council.
The FNFC continues to request that community elders, band councils and youth help persuade the governments to provide better services, for wildfire protection, by writing personal letters to the Prime Minister, Premier, local politicians and media describing the dangers their communities face. Information on how to reach politicians and media, and pointers on the key messages for any letters, has been sent to all communities. Copies can be obtained by emailing email@example.com
Trade Mission to China
The BC First Nations Forestry Council completed a highly successful weeklong trade mission to China in July and returned home with commitments from major Chinese companies to pursue forestry and mining business and education opportunities.
The delegates that participated on this mission were: BC First Nations Summit executive member Grand Chief Ed John, FNFC board members Dave Porter and Cook’s Ferry First Nation Chief David Walkem; Lennard Joe - a First Nations forester from Merritt, and Frank Brown, a member of the Heiltsuk First Nation.
The team met with key Chinese buyers and investors in the Chinese wood industry in Beijing and the major cities of Qingdao, Nanjing, Taiching and Shanghai to promote the wide range of BC First Nations coastal and interior forestry products.
The delegation signed a Letter of Intent to pursue contracts for BC First Nations forestry products with Qingdao Liangmu, which is the largest forestry remanufacturing company in the province of Shandong. The company operates 14 factories in this province of 100 million people and is interested in BC western hemlock, spruce, pine, subalpine fir and Douglas fir.
The delegation also encountered interest in mining opportunities with First Nations. This led to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding Zhongchuan International Mining Holding Company Ltd, which has holdings throughout China and the world, to pursue investment opportunities. The company also accepted an invitation to attend the BC First Nations Mining Summit in Prince George in October.
Discussions were also held with the Zhejiang Forestry University with a view to sending BC First Nations students to China on language and forestry university exchanges.
For more information, including prominent national and international news coverage of the trade mission, please visit our website: www.fnforestrycouncil.com
BC First Nations Energy Working Group
In April 2006 First Nations gathered at the Chief Joe Mathias Centre to develop an action plan on energy. This action plan was developed by nearly 200 First Nations in attendance and was ratified through resolutions at the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, First Nations Summit, and BC Assembly of First Nations assemblies.
Representatives on the First Nations Energy Working Group are: Chief Roland Willson - West Moberly First Nations, Chief Nelson Leon – Adams Lake Indian Band, Vice President Arnie Bellis - Council of the Haida Nation and Dave Porter, First Nations Leadership Council.
In June 2008 the First Nations representatives met with the Deputy Ministers of Energy Mines and Petroleum Resources, Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, and the Climate Change Secretariat. They are working with the three ministries to find mutual interests that are identified in both the BC First Nations Energy Action Plan and the BC Energy Plan to ensure that individual First Nations have access to energy-related information and programs (such as the Remote Community Energy Program, Innovative Clean Energy Fund, Bio-energy opportunities, etc.). A follow up meeting with these three Deputy Ministers is expected in August.
BC First Nations Mining Summit
The Carrier Sekani Tribal Council, Kaska Tribal Council, Taku River Tlingit First Nation, and BC First Nations Leadership Council will co-host a mining summit open to all BC First Nations.
When: October 7-9, 2008
Where: Prince George Civic Centre
Planning is currently underway to develop a draft action plan and background information paper for review by the Chiefs and other First Nations delegates. The intention is to create a First Nations Mining Action Plan that will set a list of principles and goals for sustainable mining development in British Columbia and actions to implement them in a timely manner.
A potential memorandum of understanding(s) with the Crown and industry may be brought to the Chiefs for consideration. This matter will be discussed at the September gatherings of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs and the First Nations Summit.
For registration and more information visit www.bcfnms.ca
Contact Paul Blom, Natural Resources Director,
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council at 250-562-6279 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or Chris Lewis at BC Assembly of First Nations 604 922-7733.
The Walk4Justice campaign seeks to stand for justice, closure, equality, basic human rights and accountability for missing and murdered women and the families and children they left behind.
The National Walk4Justice campaign left Vancouver, BC, on June 25, 2008 with plans to arrive in Ottawa, ON in September for opening day of the fall sessions of parliament.
ALL DONATIONS ARE WELCOME!
NO DONATION IS TOO SMALL!
On behalf of the Walk4Justice, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs is collecting donations.
Cheques can be made out to the Union of BC Indian Chiefs - Walk4Justice and send to:
500 - 342 Water Street
Vancouver BC V6B-1B6
Donations can be deposited at any Scotiabank:
Transit number 10140, Account number 00271-11.
Supported by Amnesty International, BC Government Employees Union, United Native Nations, Union of BC Indian Chiefs, First Nations Summit, Native Women's Association of Canada, Longshoreman's Union Local 500, BC Federation of Employees, and many, many others....
The petition site: Please visit and sign.
Leaving / Arriving
1. Vancouver June 21 / Cheam June 21
2. Cheam June 22 / Kamloops June24
3. Kamloops June 25 / Mount Robson June 28
4. Mount Robson July 1 / Edmonton July 3
5. Edmonton July 6 / Calgary July 8
6. Calgary July 10 / Medicine Hat July 12
7. Medicine Hat July 14 / Swift Current July 16
8. Swift Current July 18 / Regina July 22
9. Regina July 24 / Brandon July 26
10. Brandon July 28 / Winnipeg July 30
11. Winnipeg Aug 1 / Kenora Aug 3
12. Kenora Aug 5 / Ignace Aug 7
13. Ignace Aug 9 / Thunder Bay Aug 11
14. Thunder Bay Aug 13 / Marathon Aug 15
15. Marathon Aug 15 / Wawa Aug 16
16. Wawa Aug 17 / Sault Ste Marie Aug 19
17. Sault Ste Marie Aug 21 / Sudbury Aug 24
18. Sudbury Aug 25 / Toronto Aug 29
19. Toronto Sep 2 / Tyendinaga Sep 4
20. Tyendinaga Sep 8 / Ottawa Sept 12
FNTC has received funding from both GeoConnections and the Integrated Land Management Bureau to develop a Strategy and Action Plan for the development, deployment and long-term maintenance of shared land and resource information services to support First Nations in BC.
The project consists of 4 main sections:
1: Research and documentation of current IM/IT initiatives, mandates, policies, legislation and relationships affecting the Natural Resources sector within the BC provincial government and BC First Nations.
2: Analysis of the policies and legislations that hinder and/or support information management in the natural resource sector between First Nations and BC.
3: Analysis of the key existing systems First Nations in BC have developed for information management in the natural resource sector.
4: Develop a Strategy and Action Plan that will document land and resource IM/IT requirements to be submitted as a Phase II proposal to GeoConnections, ILMB and other funding partners.
The First Nations Leadership Council
The FNLC is comprised of the political executives of the BC Assembly of First Nations, First Nations Summit, and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs:
• BC Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief A-in-chut, Shawn Atleo;
• First Nations Summit Task Group members Grand Chief Edward John, Grand Chief Doug Kelly, Dan Smith
• Union of BC Indian Chiefs President Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, Vice-President Chief Robert Shintah, Chief Lynda Price
The FNLC, through the Leadership Accord, works together to politically represent the interests of First Nations in BC and develop strategies and actions to bring about significant and substantive changes to government policy that will benefit all First Nations in British Columbia.
In the New Relationship, commitments were made to a new government-to-government relationship based on respect, recognition and accommodation of aboriginal title and rights and to reconciliation of Aboriginal and Crown titles and jurisdictions. The New Relationship acknowledges that aboriginal title includes the inherent right for the community to make decisions as to the use of the land.
On September 20, 2007 the FNLC and the Province of BC issued a Joint Statement on the New Relationship highlighting that the Province and FNLC are undertaking work to develop frameworks and tools to assist the Province and BC First Nations to implement the New Relationship. The FNLC and Province respect First Nations autonomy and recognize that First Nations are the holders of Aboriginal Title and Rights. The purpose of the New Relationship is to bring about policy changes and set a course forward that will be of benefit to all First Nations.
The New Relationship must not be used as an excuse not to engage with First Nations directly and the policy level discussions are not intended to impede upon or displace First Nations negotiations with the Crown. In fact, these community-level government-to-government negotiations provide valuable insights and guidance to broader discussions.
Each First Nation has the right to a government-to-government relationship with the Crown, and the authority to enter into negotiations and agreements to suit the unique circumstances of the community.
Calendar of Events
• September 17-19: UBCIC Annual General Assembly (Vancouver)
• September 24-26: First Nations Summit Meeting (North Vancouver)
• October 7-9: BC First Nations Mining Summit (Prince George)
UBCIC is a NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.