BC First Nations Leaders to Assemble for Provincial First Nations Energy Summit

North Vancouver
April 2 - 4, 2007

Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver, BC - The BC Assembly of First Nations, First Nations Summit and Union of BC Indian Chiefs announced today they will jointly host a province-wide First Nations Energy Summit from April 2 – 4, 2007 at the Chief Joe Mathias Centre in North Vancouver.

The first day and a half of the summit will provide a forum for open dialogue with government and industry on both renewable and non-renewable energy issues and opportunities. First Nations leaders will begin work on developing a BC First Nations Energy Action Plan to address challenges and opportunities of the energy sector and lay the foundation for appropriate First Nations participation with government and industry at the early states of all energy proposals within First Nations traditional territories.

“The First Nations Energy Summit will provide a critical opportunity for the Chiefs to assemble and consider the BC Government’s recently released Energy Plan and explore cooperative engagement among First Nations, the federal and provincial governments, industry and stakeholders on all energy issues from on-shore to off shore”, said Regional Chief Shawn Atleo of the BC Assembly of First Nations.

Among those confirmed to speak at the Energy Summit are internationally known environmentalist and climate change expert Dr. David Suzuki, United States Consul General Lewis Lukens and Chinese Consul General Yang Qiang. Others invited to speak at the Summit include BC Premier Gordon Campbell, Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs, Jim Prentice, BC Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Richard Neufeld, and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

“First Nation communities are hopeful that this Summit will be a positive example of the New Relationship in action. We look forward to having senior government officials attend the First Nations Energy Summit and provide First Nations with commitments to ensure the New Relationship between First Nations and the provincial government produces workable on the ground solutions that respect our rights and entitlements at the community level on present and future energy matters”, added Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.

“Climate change is a primary concern of all Canadians including First Nation people. We want to encourage and ensure First Nation voices are heard loud and clear in our efforts to contribute to the national debate on issues of energy development and the environment. The First Nations Energy Summit in April will be an important start to BC First Nations participating in shaping this significant agenda”, concluded Grand Chief Edward John, a member of the First Nations Summit political executive.

-30-

The First Nations Leadership Council is comprised of the political executives of the First Nations Summit, Union of BC Indian Chiefs and the BC Assembly of First Nations. The Council works together to politically represent the interests of First Nations in British Columbia and develop strategies and actions to bring about significant and substantive changes to government policy that will benefit all First Nations in British Columbia.

For more information:
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, UBCIC: (604) 684-0231
Colin Braker, First Nations Summit: (604) 926-9903
Heather Gillies, BC Assembly of First Nations: (604) 922-7733

UBCIC is a NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.