Information Bulletin

VOLUME 4, ISSUE 6
MAY 2010




All Chiefs’ Task Force


The All-Chiefs’ Assembly will take place on May 18-20, 2010 at the Chief Joe Mathias Centre in North Vancouver. The purpose of the meeting will be to review and determine next steps for the work of the All-Chiefs’ Task Force in the following areas: Coordinated Action; Political-Legal; and Operational-Technical. Also, appointments to the new First Nations Health Council structure (3 representatives per region) will take place at this Assembly. Travel costs will be reimbursed for the Chief of each First Nation.

The All-Chiefs’ Task Force – a volunteer group of First Nation leaders from across the province – was established at the August 2009 All-Chiefs’ Assembly to build upon the outcomes and energy of the gathering by drafting and implementing a short-term action plan which addressed two goals:
  • Communicate the urgency and importance of raising awareness and recognition of Aboriginal title and rights at the provincial, national and international levels, as well as with the general public.
  • Strive to maintain unity and increase efficiency by better organizing ourselves internally as First Nations in British Columbia by working together on issues of common concern.

Since that time, the Task Force has undertaken a number of initiatives:

Operational-Technical: Have engaged a contractor to review the Leadership Accord, processes and work to date (for the purpose of improving First Nations political meetings and decision-making processes, and enhancing unity amongst First Nations. A survey and interview process is complete, and the findings will be reported on at the All-Chiefs’ Assembly.

Coordinated Action: Have worked with a public relations firm to develop and implement a strategy to raise awareness of First Nations issues – with particular focus on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, title and rights, poverty/human rights, and missing and murdered women. All information on the campaign can be viewed on the Task Force blog http://firstnationstaskforce.wordpress.com/. Options for a phase 2 of this campaign will be presented at the All-Chiefs’ Assembly.

Political-Legal: Identifying goals and a strategy to achieve a) effective implementation of section 35 constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and treaty rights, court decisions, and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, b) revision of the comprehensive claims policy, and c) implementation of the duty of the Crown to negotiate in good faith and uphold its fiduciary duty.

First Nations Health Council

Regions make appointments to Health Council

Following March 2010 resolutions at the First Nations Summit and Union of BC Indian Chiefs, First Nations leadership have been working within their regions to appoint members to the new transitional First Nations Health Council. The resolution calls for the appointment of 3 members per region (Vancouver Coastal, Fraser, Interior, North, and Vancouver Island) to be confirmed at the May 18-20th All Chiefs Assembly, or at the latest May 31st. The new Health Council is an interim structure and will be in place for two years, pending the health governance negotiations. A Draft Terms of Reference for the new council and Transition Info package was circulated to BC First Nations in late April.

Health Directors Incorporate Society

In the realm of First Nations Health, BC achieved another first this month with the incorporation of the BC First Nations Health Directors Association. BC is the first province in Canada to develop a First Nations Health Directors Association, one of four governance components identified in the Tripartite First Nations Health Plan.

“The biggest benefit of this Association for me as a Health Director is the ability to collaborate and cooperate with other Health Directors. I believe that collectively that we have tremendous knowledge, and together we are going to some amazing things for the communities in BC.” Aileen Prince, Health Directors Board Member (North)

The Associations structure was developed through dialogue at the First Nations Health Directors forum held in October 2008, and refined through a survey administered to Health Directors over the past several months. At the third annual Gathering Wisdom Forum, held November 3-5, 2009 Health Directors voted overwhelmingly in support of the First Nations Health Directors Association. Since the forum, founding Directors have developed bylaws and a constitution, and on April 30th, 2010 were incorporated as a society.

The 13 member board of directors was appointed with directors from each of the five regions North (3 seats), Interior (3), Vancouver Island (3), Vancouver Coastal (2), and Fraser (2). The new board consists of
VANCOUVER COASTAL: Laurette Bloomquist (Sliammon), Allison Twiss (Lil’wat);
VANCOUVER ISLAND: Judith Gohn (Cowichan) Georgia Cook (Namgis), Nora Martin (Nuu-chah-nulth)
FRASER: Virginia Peters (Chehalis) and Jeanine Lynxleg (Sto:lo Nation),
INTERIOR: Patrick Lulua (Xeni Gwet'in), Jim Adams (Scw’exmx), Jackie McPherson (Osoyoos) and
NORTH: Aileen Prince (Nak’azdli), Hertha Holland (Gitxsan), Doreen L’Hirondelle (Treaty 8)

Health Canada and First Nations Health Council partner on 15 new Aboriginal Head Start Sites

Health Canada and the First Nations Health Council have partnered to bring 15 new Aboriginal Head Start Programs to First Nations communities in BC. Aboriginal Head Start Projects provide preschool experiences that prepare young Aboriginal children for their school years. All projects are required to include six core areas: education and school readiness; Aboriginal culture and language; health promotion; nutrition; social support; and must include parent involvement. The projects are designed by each community to meet their families’ needs.

Community selection was prioritized based on the need for early child supports in communities:
  • Rural, remote and isolated communities with no early childhood programs (First Nations and Inuit Child Care Initiative or Maternal Child Health Program), no four year old kindergarten or preschool and a minimum of 10 children 0 – 6.
  • Non-isolated communities with no early childhood programs (First Nations and Inuit Child Care Initiative or Maternal Child Health Program), no four year old kindergarten or preschool and a minimum of 20 children 0 – 6.
  • Rural, remote and isolated communities with no early childhood programs (First Nations and Inuit Child Care Initiative or Maternal Child Health Program), has either a four year old kindergarten or preschool and a minimum of 10 children 0 – 6.

Please feel free to contact Penny Stewart at Health Canada- (604) 666-9143 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (604) 666-9143      end_of_the_skype_highlighting should you have any questions regarding the funding or program.

First Nations Energy and Mining Council and First Nations Forestry Council

1. First Nations Energy and Forestry session. The recent announcements of the Clean Energy Act and amendments to the Forest Act as well as changes to provincial policies have raised many questions about how the Crown will engage with First Nations. These acts will implement very significant changes to the forestry, energy, and utilities sector in British Columbia and there are numerous concerns about the impacts to First Nations title and rights.

Two recent reports, The Forestry Roundtable Report (2009) and the Green Energy Task Force Report (2010) made a number of recommendations to better assist First Nations. Most of these recommendations were either ignored or misconstrued in these Provincial Acts. Many First Nations have contacted our offices to convene sessions to discuss the changes and plan a united response.

On June 8th the First Nations Energy and Mining Council and the First Nations Forestry Council will coordinate back-to-back sessions to gain a better understanding of the proposed changes. Invitations have been sent to the Minister of Forests and Range and the Minister of Energy, Mines, and Petroleum Resources to provide a presentation to the Chiefs. The morning session will be devoted to energy matters and the afternoon will focus on forestry.

2. Industry engagement. The First Nations Energy and Mining Council and the First Nations Forestry Council have recently set up a table to discuss areas of mutual interest. Two meetings have been held which focused on how industry and First Nations can better collaborate.

3. The Province has failed to acknowledge the need for environmental assessment reforms. Recent resolutions were passed by the Union of BC Indian Chiefs and the First Nations Summit to engage the Crown to discuss the First Nations environmental reforms solutions paper. The recent meeting with the deputy minister of environment was not unsuccessful - the Crown feels the current environmental assessment process meets the consultation obligations of the Crown. The Council will update the Chiefs at the upcoming Union and Summit meetings on proposed next steps.

BC First Nations Fisheries Council

Recruitment & Request for Expressions of Interest for Working Group Participation

The First Nations Fisheries Council is currently recruiting for an Executive Director and a Financial Manager. See the FNFC website for job postings. The deadline for applications is June 15, 2010.

The Council is also currently in the process of working with DFO to establish Working Groups that will help to focus the work of the Council on four key priority areas with DFO. The current four working groups operate under the Commitment to Action between the Council and DFO, and were established through a joint priority-setting exercise: Co-Management; Aquaculture; Sec 35 (1) Food Social and Ceremonial Fisheries; and Salmon Shares and Economic Access. The Working Groups are one mechanism that will help to develop strong links between communities and the Council. Other mechanisms will include community meetings, Assemblies, and e-mail and conference calls. The deadline for Expressions of Interest for participation in the working groups is May 21, 2010. More information including the call for EOIs and the Terms of Reference for all of the Working Groups is available on the FNFC website here.

Aquaculture

The FNFC has concluded a series of nine community meetings around B.C. focused on the development of a new B.C. Aquaculture Regulation. The final report is available (it is password protected – confidential to bilateral discussions between First Nations and Canada), or we can e-mail you a copy (please contact info@FNFisheriesCouncil.ca ).

Cohen Commission

The FNFC will be hosting a discussion session at Musqueam on June 11 for First Nations who are interested in participating in discussions relating to recommendations which should be made to the Cohen Commission on the decline of Fraser River salmon. The initial scoping paper from the Commission is due to be released by June 1. Please watch the FNFC website for more details.

DFO Contact information
The Fisheries Council has assembled a list of key contacts within Fisheries and Oceans Canada that First Nations most often request from our office. This material is now available on our website www.fnfisheriescouncil.ca

FNFC Annual Fisheries Assembly

Please mark your calendars for the annual First Nations Fisheries Council Fisheries Assembly. The Assembly will take place in Prince Rupert November 2 – 4, 2010.

Twitter & Monthly Communiqués

If you are interested in receiving more detailed updates on the Fisheries Council’s work you can sign up to receive our Twitter feeds, or ask to be included on our monthly Communiqué e-mail list. The Communiqués are also posted on the FNFC www.fnfisheriescouncil.ca

First Nations Technology Council

FNTC and FNESC have formalized their commitment to working together in an MOU. Some of the projects they’re collaborating on include:
  • FNESC’s Shared Learning initiative – using technology to deliver Math 11 and Creative Writing 12 to five communities;
  • Computers in the Homes (CIH)being led by FNTC where computers are being placed in the homes of high school students in four communities where connectivity to the homes permits; and,
  • data management (FNESC has also endorsed a system called Unification that has been developed by Sto:lo Nation to manage income assistance and education. FNTC has presented a business case to INAC to secure funding so they can share this system with any First Nations who wants a tool to better manage their social programs.

In the CIH project, three of the communities are also involved in the Shared Learning initiative. The CIH project is model developed in New Zealand. By involving the family, not only did the educational outcomes of the students improve, some parents also became actively engaged in on-line learning and some Mothers have gone on to become qualified teacher.
The First Nations of BC Portal has recently gone public (see www.fnbc.info). This is a partnership between FNTC and the New Relationship Trust that will be managed by FNTC. The aim is to support capacity building and share ‘best practices’ by making key documents/initiatives/processes developed in one community available to others. Other features include a space for ‘communities of practice’ or working groups to share information in a private space only available to members; an events calendar, including registration; a job bank; Facebook and Twitter pages; and an opportunities for businesses to buy advertising space. Success is dependent on you sharing the good things going on in your community. To share information about the projects your community is proud of, please contact Heather Bohn (at heather.bohn@fntc.info) or Sue Hanley (at sue.hanley@fntc.info). By phone, contact Heather or Sue at 1-888-921-9939 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              1-888-921-9939      end_of_the_skype_highlighting.

New Relationship Trust

Matching Funds Available for BC First Nation Entrepreneurs

The New Relationship Trust (NRT) is pleased to announce that it has partnered with five Aboriginal Capital Corporations (ACC) in British Columbia (BC) to develop and deliver the Equity Matching Initiative. This initiative will assist BC First Nation entrepreneurs with equity-matching funds up to $5,000 to establish, modernize or expand a business in BC. Through this initiative, the ACCs will be able to leverage the NRT equity-matching funding and provide in excess of $2 million in new lending opportunities to viable BC First Nation business projects.

The five ACCs in BC include All Nations Trust Company (ANTCO), First Nations Agriculture Lending Association (FNALA), Nuu-chah-nulth Economic Development Corporation (NEDC), Tale’awtxw Aboriginal Capital Corporation (TACC) and Tribal Resources Investment Corporation (TRICORP). Each of the ACCs has a specific region or industry that they serve in BC.

The Equity Matching Initiative will roll out in early May 2010. Interested entrepreneurs are invited to contact the appropriate ACC to discuss how to apply for the equity matching funds.

The ACCs are Aboriginal financial institutions that promote Aboriginal self-sufficiency through marketing, financial resources and advisory services. NRT supports First Nation communities in BC in their efforts to build capacity in order to become healthy, prosperous and self-sufficient.

For more information please contact:
Cliff Fregin, CEO Tel: 604-925-3338 or 1-800-922-3338, cfregin@nrtf.ca
Al Little, Executive Director, NEDC Tel: 250-724-3131 or 1-866-444-6332, al@nedc.info or
Ruth Williams, CEO, ANTCO Tel: 250-828-9770 or 1-800-663-2959, 1-800-663-2959, ruthw@antco.bc.ca or
Frank Parnell, CEO, TRICORP, Tel: 250-624-3535, fparnell@tricorp.ca or
Sandy Wong, General Manager, TACC, Tel: 604-926-5626, swong@tacc.ca or
Trevor Kempthorne, General Manager, FNALA, Tel: 250-314-6804, trevor@fnala.com

Equity Fund Launched for BC First Nations

The New Relationship Trust (NRT), All Nations Trust Company (ANTCO) and Nuu-chah-nulth Economic Development Corporation (NEDC) have joined forces to create the BC First Nations Equity Fund limited partnership. The Fund will offer competitively priced equity loans to BC First Nations so they may participate as owners/partners in commercially viable green energy projects.

Each partner contributed $1.66 million in seed money to create an initial $5 million Fund. The partners are looking to leverage additional contributions from government and private sources, with the goal of growing the Fund to $50 million.

Initially the Fund will focus on alternative energy investments such as small hydro run-of-the-river projects. Loans will assist BC First Nations to participate as independent power producers (IPP) by investing directly in green energy projects and thus becoming significant partners in the economies of BC and Canada.

The Fund will begin to roll out in May 2010. Potential investors and First Nation developers may contact any one of the three founding partners for more information.

ANTCO is a trust company and aboriginal financial institution that promotes Native self-sufficiency through marketing, financial resources and advisory services. NEDC operates as an aboriginal financial institution as well as a Community Futures corporation that supports First Nation business.

For more information please contact:
Cliff Fregin, CEO Tel: 604-925-3338 or 1-800-922-3338, cfregin@nrtf.ca or
Al Little, Executive Director, NEDC Tel: 250-724-3131 or 1-866-444-6332, al@nedc.info or
Ruth Williams, CEO, ANTCO Tel: 250-828-9770 or 1-800-663-2959, ruthw@antco.bc.ca

Interim Working Group on First Nations Culture and Heritage

The existing Heritage Conservation Act (HCA) and associated management regime fails to protect First Nations culture and heritage resources, and it prevents First Nations from protecting our sacred and spiritual sites, the sanctity of our artifacts and the remains of our ancestors in accordance with our laws and customs. The UBCIC, BCAFN, FNS, and the Province agreed in 2007 to work together, via the working group on First Nations Culture and Heritage. In early 2010, the Working Group was reengaged and has been meeting with the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Arts to explore options and provide recommendations and solutions for improvements in policy and legislation that will adequately address First Nation issues and interests with respect to the protection and conservation of our heritage sites, sacred sites and heritage objects.

At this time, the working group has started a comprehensive review of the Province’s Archaeology Branch policies, which can be located at http://www.tca.gov.bc.ca/archaeology/library.htm. The working group is continually seeking feedback, comments and support from First Nation community members actively involved in the protection of their heritage resources. We are specifically seeking any input into any issues/concerns that First Nations have when dealing with Archaeology Branch policies. If you have any comments, feedback or would like further information please contact: Maureen Grant or Shannon Cameron, Union of BC Indian Chiefs, Ph: 604-684-0231

Economic Development

The BC First Nations Economic Development Action Plan was adopted by resolution of the BCAFN, FNS and UBCIC in 2008. A volunteer Working Group (composed of First Nations organizations, committees, governments, and educational institutions with mandates related to economic development, and resources to contribute to the Action Plan) is coordinating the implementation of current priorities under the Action Plan.

Recently, an environmental scan was conducted to develop an inventory of economic development related tools, programs, and supports, and make recommendations for the further development of tools for First Nations communities. All of the content from the scan will be posted to the new BC First Nations web portal in the coming weeks, and a launch event will be planned.

The Working Group is also exploring the concept of creating an economic development “SWAT” team pilot program to provide economic development support and advice to communities.

Work on these priorities is resourced through the contributions of First Nations and other partner organizations that have geared their existing resources towards the priorities established by First Nations in the Economic Development Action Plan.

Calendar of Events

  • May 18-20, 2010: All-Chiefs’ Assembly, Chief Joe Mathias Centre, North Vancouver
  • June 2-3, 2010: UBCIC Chiefs Council, Vancouver, BC
  • June 8, 2010: Joint First Nations Forestry Council and First Nations Energy and Mining Council Session, Chief Joe Mathias Centre, North Vancouver
  • June 9-11, 2010: FNS Meeting, Chief Joe Mathias Centre, North Vancouver


Disclaimer:  The views and objectives of the various councils and working groups set out in this Information Bulletin do not represent the views and objectives of the three organizations.



PDF COPY: http://www.ubcic.bc.ca/files/PDF/LC_Information_Bulletin_No40_May_10.pdf

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