BC Assembly of First Nations http://bcafn.ca Wed, 14 Nov 2018 18:39:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.7 NOTICE OF POSITION: NEW RELATIONSHIP TRUST BOARD OF DIRECTOR http://bcafn.ca/notice-of-position-new-relationship-trust-board-of-director/ http://bcafn.ca/notice-of-position-new-relationship-trust-board-of-director/#respond Wed, 14 Nov 2018 17:07:57 +0000 http://bcafn.ca/?p=4689 Applications are being sought from persons interested in participating as a board member for the New Relationship Trust. The BC Assembly of First Nations will be appointing one board member for a three-year term commencing December 1, 2018.

Business and Structure
The New Relationship Trust (NRT) is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to increasing the capacity of First Nations in British Columbia. The NRT was created on March 31, 2006 with the passing of the New Relationship Trust Act and the transfer of $100 million from the Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation to the Trust.

The purpose of the New Relationship fund is to provide money to assist First Nations to build their own capacity to participate in the processes and activities envisioned by, and that evolve out of, the New Relationship between the Government of British Columbia and First Nations in British Columbia by enhancing First Nation governance, leadership and institutional and human resources capacity to address social, cultural and economic needs and priorities.

The Board is responsible to distribute funds to First Nations based on its strategic plan and to manage the remainder under an investment strategy. The main objectives of the Board’s investment strategy are to preserve capital in real terms, generate sufficient annual cash flow to meet expenditure objectives, and increase cash flows to meet rising expenditures over the long term.

The purpose of the New Relationship fund is to provide money to assist First Nations to build their own capacity to participate in the processes and activities envisioned by, and that evolve out of, the New Relationship between the Government of British Columbia and First Nations in British Columbia by enhancing First Nation governance, leadership and institutional and human resources capacity to address social, cultural and economic needs and priorities.

The Board is responsible to distribute funds to First Nations based on its strategic plan and to manage the remainder under an investment strategy. The main objectives of the Board’s investment strategy are to preserve capital in real terms, generate sufficient annual cash flow to meet expenditure objectives, and increase cash flows to meet rising expenditures over the long term.

The organization’s web site can be found online at www.newrelationshiptrust.ca

The New Relationship Trust Act requires the board of directors to prepare a three- year rolling strategic plan. NRT’s Strategic Plan is directly based on community feedback, which has consistently established a clear mandate and strategic direction for NRT. In particular, NRT is directed to:

  • Ensure the fund is available to support future generations by balancing spending with investment; and
  • Support capacity building for First Nations communities in five priority areas:
    • Governance Capacity
    • Economic Development
    • Education
    • Language & Culture
    • Youth & Elders

The 2017 – 2020 Strategic Plan builds on the successes of NRT to date, with ongoing initiatives under each of the five strategic areas of priority.

Mission: Investing in First Nations in British Columbia to assist them in building their capacity.

Vision: A British Columbia where First Nations enjoy a high quality of life that includes vibrant cultures and languages, effective and independent governments, social justice, and economic prosperity and where all forms of education are valued and accessible.

We believe in the spirit of cooperation and collaboration that respects and advances First Nations’ decision-making, traditional teachings and laws. To achieve our Vision and Mission, the following Guiding Principles will inform our shared work:

  • Supporting First Nations in their capacity development efforts as they pursue individual and communal self-sufficiency
  • Engaging in effective communications and engagement with those that we serve to strengthen and inform our activities
  • Ensuring fair and equitable access to our services through the creation of transparent criteria that focus on initiatives that lead to measurable change at the individual, community and Nation levels
  • Increasing the investment fund through responsible management, leveraging of our assets and pursuit of additional resources while not duplicating or replacing existing government or First Nations programs

Attached for reference is a link to the New Relationship document through the Ministry of

Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation’s New Relationship website:
www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/indigenous-people/new-relationship-trust

Governance Structure

The New Relationship Trust has a board of directors comprised of 7 individuals. The directors are appointed by the following bodies: one individual each appointed by the First Nations Summit, the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs and the Assembly of First Nations – British Columbia Region; 2 individuals appointed by the First Nations Leadership Council (FNLC); and 2 individuals appointed by the Province of British Columbia.

The New Relationship Trust Act establishes a transparent and accountable approach to reporting on operations of the Trust through the publication of the 3-year strategic plans, annual reports and annual audited financial statements, along with the obligation to conduct and publish a review every five years.

Board Responsibilities and Accountabilities

Board Roles:
Leader: Set strategic direction and empower management;
Overseer:Evaluate performance measures and hold management accountable;
Steward: Shepherd resources of others;
Reporter:Report to First Nations organizations, First Nations, public, others.

Responsibilities

Managing Board Affairs:
Establish the processes and structures necessary to ensure the effective functioning and renewal of the board. Includes: monitor and improve quality of board, ensure appropriate board committees; ensure appropriate board orientation and ongoing professional development; articulate roles and responsibilities for board, committees, chair, individual directors; define board process and guidelines, evaluate board, committees, directors and chair; and identify potential director competencies.

Organization’s Mandate:
Fully understand the New Relationship Trust’s mandate as established by the New Relationship Trust Act and implemented through its strategic planning processes.

Strategy and Plans:
Participate in the development of, review and approve the organization’s strategic plan consistent with the New Relationship Trust’s mandate.

Human Resources:
Subject to government legislation and guidelines, select, appoint, compensate, evaluate and terminate the chief executive officer and chief financial officer; oversee management succession and development.

Financial and Corporate Issues:
Review financial, accounting and control systems; ensure appropriate risk management systems, ensure code of ethical conduct and conflict of interest guidelines in place.

Monitor and Report:
Monitor organizational performance against strategic plans and compliance with applicable legislation; account to First Nations and the public through appropriate reporting.

Communications:
Oversee organization’s communications policy.

Accountabilities

In carrying out its work, the board operates within the legislative framework of the New Relationship Trust Act,Statutes of BC, 2006, as amended.

Board Composition

The individuals who make up the Board of Directors should, collectively, have the necessary personal attributes and competencies required to:

  • Add value and provide support for management in establishing strategy and reviewing risks and opportunities;
  • Effectively monitor the performance of management and the organization; and
  • Account for the performance of the organization.

Personal Attributes

All directors should possess the following personal attributes:

  • high ethical standards and integrity in professional and personal dealings;
  • appreciation of the responsibilities to the public;
  • able and willing to raise potentially controversial issues in a manner that encourages dialogue;
  • flexible, responsive and willing to consider others’ opinions;
  • capable of a wide perspective on issues;
  • ability to listen and work as a team member;
  • no direct or indirect conflict of interest with the member’s responsibility to the organization;
  • strong reasoning skills;
  • able and willing to fulfill time commitment required to carry out responsibilities; and
  • commitment to continuous learning about the New Relationship Trust and First Nation capacity development.

Competencies

Collectively, the Board should comprise the following core competencies:

  • operational or technical expertise relevant to the operation of the New Relationship Trust including:
    • strategic management and organizational change,
    • operations,
    • internal control and accounting,
    • technology,
    • communications,
    • human resource management, and
    • risk management;
  • financial expertise;
  • legal expertise;
  • knowledge of government;
  • knowledge of aboriginal issues in British Columbia; and
  • knowledge of the First Nation communities served by the New Relationship Trust.

Governance Experience

While previous experience as a director is not required, it is important that candidates for positions understand the roles and responsibilities of a member of a governing board and have the necessary experience and demonstrated skills to enable them to contribute to board decision-making and oversight.

Part of the organization’s commitment to good governance includes the provision of an orientation for new board members and ongoing professional development for new members.

Other Considerations

Within the context of the board skills requirements, consideration is given to diversity of gender, First Nations cultural heritage, and knowledge of the communities served by the organization, particularly rural or isolated First Nations communities.

Time Commitment

Normally, the Board will meet 4 to 6 times a year as a whole. The timing of the meetings is established by the board, based on their availability. The regular board meetings usually take place at Vancouver, British Columbia.

In addition, most board members serve on a board committee and attend an annual board strategic planning session. Committees meet on a quarterly basis or as needed. Board members also attend various organization functions such as: meetings with the provincial government, the federal government and First Nations organizations regarding recognition and awareness of New Relationship Trust purposes and plans.

Term

The New Relationship Trust Act provides for a term of 3 years for the directors appointed in November 2016 (December 1, 2018 – November 30, 2021).

Compensation

There is a $400 per day honorarium plus reimbursement of related out-of-pocket expenses for NRT Directors.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Be of BC First Nations ancestry and currently reside in British Columbia;
  • Have experience in Aboriginal business, employment and training and/or community economic development;
  • Be willing and prepared to attend 5 regular meetings annually and be willing to participate in sub-committees of the New Relationship Trust Board; and

The successful candidate for the BCAFN appointment to the NRT is eligible to serve a maximum of two consecutive terms.

Application Process
The deadline for interested applicants to submit a resume and cover letter stating their qualifications is 4:00 PM on Monday November 26, 2018.

Please submit to:
C/O Vanessa West
BC Assembly of First Nations
1004 Landooz Rd., Prince George, BC, V2K 5S3
Email: vanessa.west@bcafn.ca

Sincerely,
Regional Chief Terry Teegee
British Columbia Assembly of First Nations

View pdf

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BCAFN CELEBRATES THE 25TH ABORIGINAL VETERANS DAY http://bcafn.ca/bcafn-celebrates-the-25th-aboriginal-veterans-day/ http://bcafn.ca/bcafn-celebrates-the-25th-aboriginal-veterans-day/#respond Thu, 08 Nov 2018 23:04:18 +0000 http://bcafn.ca/?p=4677 The British Columbia Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN) remembers and celebrates Indigenous peoples who served and sacrificed for their Nation(s) on the 25thAboriginal Veterans Day. We hold up our hands and honour our peoples’ contributions and sacrifices during and after those times of great conflict.

“We encourage all Canadians to join us in recognizing and remembering the long history of partnerships and cooperation, and the sacrifices and accomplishments in this country.” states Regional Chief Terry Teegee.

This time of remembrance is when we look back and reflect, learn and acknowledge Canada’s history of diversity and collaborations. In particular, Indigenous people participated in every 20thcentury conflict Canada was involved at a higher per-capita rate than any other group. It is estimated that as many as 12,000 Indigenous peoples served in Canada’s military service with at least 500 losing their lives. Many overcame substantial challenges to serve, including learning new languages and traveling from remote communities. In addition, First Nations contributed to various war funds despite poverty caused by restrictive government policies and the absence of their able-bodied men. Approximately $70,000 was raised and donated during the First and Second World Wars.

Sadly, life became more difficult for most First Nations veterans, their families and communities upon their return from war. Enfranchisement was extended to include status Indians who joined the military and after serving their country they lost their status, and in the process, were denied their return home.

Today more than 1200 Indigenous people are currently enrolled in the Canadian Armed Forces.

For further information, contact:
Regional Chief Terry Teegee. Phone: (250) 981-2151.
BC Assembly of First Nations

View pdf Press Release

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MEPs: Canada’s unprecedented commitments on indigenous rights await vigorous implementation http://bcafn.ca/meps-canadas-unprecedented-commitments-on-indigenous-rights-await-vigorous-implementation/ http://bcafn.ca/meps-canadas-unprecedented-commitments-on-indigenous-rights-await-vigorous-implementation/#respond Thu, 08 Nov 2018 20:15:51 +0000 http://bcafn.ca/?p=4674

Eight Members of the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights visited Canada from 29 October to 2 November.

After the visit, the Chair of the Subcommittee Pier Antonio Panzeri (S&D, IT) made the following statement:

“Our delegation visited Canada to have an exchange on human rights challenges and to learn more about the human rights situation of indigenous peoples (IP), notably in the light of Prime Minister Trudeau’s commitment to reset the government’s relationship with Canada’s indigenous peoples (First Nations, Inuit and Metis).

Canada is a longstanding and like-minded partner of the EU in the area of human rights. Both sides are strongly committed to multilateralism and have established a close cooperation in international fora such as the UN Human Rights Council. Our will is to further deepen this cooperation and we concluded with our Canadian counterpart, the International Human Rights Committee of the House of Commons, to establish parliamentary cooperation between our committees, including possible actions to obtain the release of the imprisoned Saudi blogger and Sakharov laureate Raif Badawi.

The range of initiatives taken by the Canadian government to improve the situation of the indigenous population is impressive and we welcome the level of human rights institutions and the human rights legislation put in place, as well as Canada’s commitment to fully implement the UN Declaration of Indigenous Peoples.

Even though we understand that overcoming the prejudices and the wrongdoings of more than a century of European settler colonialism and subsequent Canadian government policy against the IP is difficult and that the new political approach of truth and reconciliation takes time to become a genuine reality, we believe that faster action is needed at all levels of the government to speed up the implementation process.

As several of our interlocutors told us, the situation of IP remains Canada’s most disturbing human rights issue: many indigenous communities still lack prospects of socio-economic development and access to basic human rights such as healthcare, education, housing and drinkable running water. IP, notably women and girls, are much more often victims of trafficking, sexual abuses and other violent crimes, with almost no accountability of the perpetrators. IP are overrepresented in prisons and more easily put in solitary confinement. Access to justice is also problematic. A high rate of suicide among indigenous youth and an alarming number of indigenous children separated from their families by the Canadian social services have also been reported to the delegation. The traumatic legacy of residential schools remains very present. The situation of indigenous people with disabilities equally raises big concerns.

The Canadian authorities should therefore rapidly implement the legislation with adequate strategies and funding in order to foster decent jobs, self-determination as well as effective socio-economic development and welfare, while sharing natural resources in a fair and sustainable manner and fully respecting and promoting the IPs’ cultural traditions and languages. In this context, it is necessary to ensure the right to free, prior and informed consent of the IP and to involve in the national dialogue with Prime Minister Trudeau every representative organisation working in the field, including the Native Women Association of Canada (NWAC).The Canadian authorities should also ratify the optional protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Other issues discussed were the Canadian immigration system, the increase of populist movements, the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Venezuela and in Ukraine (notably the attribution of the Sakharov prize to Oleg Sentsov), rights of persons with disabilities, violence against women, the LGBTQ2 population, CETA implementation from the economic, social and human rights point of view, as well as the new post of the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE).”

Background

The delegation of the Subcommittee on Human Rights of the European Parliament was led by MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri (S&D, IT), Chair of the Subcommittee, and included MEPs Teresa Jiménez-Becerril Barrio (EPP, ES), Godelieve Quisthoudt-Rowohl (EPP, DE), Ádám Kósa (EPP, HU), David Martin (S&D, UK), Soraya Post (S&D, SE), Renate Weber (ALDE, RO) and Jordi Solé (Greens/EFA, ES).

In Ottawa, on the traditional territory of the Algonquin people, the delegation met with representatives of the Canadian Departments of Global Affairs, Justice, Crown Indigenous Services and Immigration, of House of Commons Committees (Foreign Affairs and International Development, Justice, Indigenous Affairs, International Human Rights), of the National Inquiry Commission on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and also with the Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, Marie-Claude Landry. Moreover, the delegation met with Amnesty International, with indigenous peoples’ organisations and with prominent academics such as Francois Crepeau, Pamela Palmeter and Bob Rae.

In British Columbia, the delegation visited Victoria and Vancouver as well as the Squamish First Nation and notably had meetings with the speaker of the provincial Legislative Assembly Darryl Plecas, the Attorney General David Eby, with the Deputy Minister of Indigenous Relations Doug Caul and with the First Nations Chiefs Terry Teegee and Sidney Peters.

Visit European Parliament News website

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Newly Introduced Environmental Assessment Bill Goes Beyond the Status Quo and Marks Important Step in First Nation – BC Relations http://bcafn.ca/newly-introduced-environmental-assessment-bill-goes-beyond-the-status-quo-and-marks-important-step-in-first-nation-bc-relations/ http://bcafn.ca/newly-introduced-environmental-assessment-bill-goes-beyond-the-status-quo-and-marks-important-step-in-first-nation-bc-relations/#respond Thu, 08 Nov 2018 20:02:30 +0000 http://bcafn.ca/?p=4665

The First Nations Leadership Council recognizes the significant improvements made by Bill 51 Environmental Assessment Act, which was introduced today, and begins to make space for proper relations between Indigenous laws and legal orders and those of the Crown.

Importantly, the legislation supports Indigenous Nations carrying out their own environmental assessment processes and supports implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The First Nations Leadership Council points out that the Act does not go far enough in meaningfully implementing the minimum standards affirmed within the UN Declaration, as the Act still allows for projects to proceed if consent is withheld by Indigenous Nations. Key amendments are needed so that the Act is in full alignment with the UN Declaration.

“This new provincial law is one of several laws that needed to be changed. It is a part of reconciliation that First Nations leaders have been seeking,” stated BCAFN Regional Chief Terry Teegee. “Premier Horgan has taken bold steps in working with us to create better certainty for First Nations governments, industry and the public. We will continue to ensure that this new environmental assessment law and regulations are supportive of First Nations jurisdictions and decision‐making.”

“We commend the provincial government for taking the necessary steps to revise BC’s outdated environmental assessment process with new legislation which recognizes First Nations inherent jurisdiction and sets out a structured process to ensure compliance with Indigenous engagement standards”, said Robert Phillips of the First Nations Summit Political Executive. “The legislation introduced today is a clear signal that BC is moving ahead with commitments to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It represents an important step, and if properly implemented, will lead to fewer legal conflicts and better developed projects by fully including First Nations at all stages of development.”

Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, Secretary‐Treasurer of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, stated, “This legislation recognizes the inherent jurisdiction of First Nations over our lands, territories, and resources, which is a long‐overdue first step by BC. Our jurisdiction has, and will, always mean asserting our sovereignty on our lands and waters. We look forward to this Act ushering in a new era of where our inherent Title and Rights as self‐determining Indigenous peoples will be respected, including decisions made through our own First Nations’ processes based on our Indigenous laws. We will continue to advance free, prior, and informed consent as articulated in the UN Declaration, which the Province has committed to fully implement.”

The First Nations Leadership Council is comprised of the political executives of the BC Assembly of First Nations, First Nations Summit, and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.

For further comment please contact:
Regional Chief Terry Teegee, BC Assembly of First Nations: (250) 981-2151
Robert Phillips, First Nations Summit Political Executive: 778-875-4463
Chief Bob Chamberlin, Vice-President, Union of BC Indian Chiefs: 250-974-8282

Additional link:
British Columbia News: New legislation to put public interest first in resource decisions

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BCAFN CONGRATULATES THE TSILHQ0T’IN NATION AS THEY FORGE A NEW RELATIONSHIP WITH CANADA http://bcafn.ca/bcafn-congratulates-the-tsilhq0tin-nation-as-they-forge-a-new-relationship-with-canada/ http://bcafn.ca/bcafn-congratulates-the-tsilhq0tin-nation-as-they-forge-a-new-relationship-with-canada/#respond Fri, 02 Nov 2018 16:36:34 +0000 http://bcafn.ca/?p=4650 The British Columbia Assembly of First Nations would like to congratulate the people of the Tŝilhqot’in Nation as they honour the truth to forge a new relationship with Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joins the Tŝilhqot’in people in a healing event held today recognizing six Tŝilhqot’in War Chiefs as heroes. The ceremony will acknowledge the wrongful hanging of the six Tŝilhqot’in war chiefs in 1864 and 1865. Five chiefs were imprisoned, tried and executed in October 1864 after accepting an invitation to discuss terms of peace to end the Chilcotin War. A sixth chief was hanged the following year.

Through mutual agreement, the Tŝilhqot’in, the province of BC, and Canada have come together to address the significant rift between them and begin the work that must occur around a troublesome history of injustice, misrepresentation and lack of recognition of First Nations people within the Tŝilhqot’in territory and the nation.

The BCAFN fully support the Tŝilhqot’in in their fight for justice for their ancestors and leaders. In order for justice to occur today, we must acknowledge the past where no justice was afforded to the six chiefs who were wrongfully murdered for simply protecting their people and territory. Canada must reconcile it’s horrible past and the injustices towards indigenous peoples of Canada. In order for true reconciliation to occur Canada must rectify past wrongs.

“We honour the six Chiefs who lost their lives for protecting their people, we hold our hands up to the Tŝilhqot’in Chiefs today for continuing to fight for justice for their Chiefs,” states Regional Chief Terry Teegee.

This is the first time in history a Canadian Prime Minister has visited the Tŝilhqot’in Territory and he will be there to address the Tŝilhqot’in people as he clears War Chiefs of any crimes. Earlier this year in March Trudeau stood in up in Parliament and apologized to the Tŝilhqot’in Nation and exonerated the Chiefs.

For further information contact:
Regional Chief Terry Teegee. Phone: (250) 981-2151.
BC Assembly of First Nations

View pdf Press Release

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Annual General Meeting Webcast http://bcafn.ca/annual-general-meeting-webcast/ http://bcafn.ca/annual-general-meeting-webcast/#respond Tue, 23 Oct 2018 16:22:11 +0000 http://bcafn.ca/?p=4592 The BC Assembly of First Nations is pleased to be holding it’s 15th Annual General meeting this week in Vancouver. BC Chiefs will be gathering in Musqueam territory, at the Musqueam Community Centre, to attend this three day (October 22-24) event. Each day begins at 9:00 AM.

Critical issues to be discussed include: governance, legislation on the implementation of UNDRIP, environmental assessment, proposed federal legislation on the implementation of Indigenous Rights framework, sustainable economic development and fiscal relations strategy, children and families, fisheries and more.

All 3 days will be webcast and can be viewed on YouTube at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJHyjwUe6xh7lSh0f2xotPA/live

For more information contact Annette Schroeter, Communications Officer: annette.schroeter@bcafn.ca

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Recent Natural Gas Pipeline Rupture is a Wake-Up Call http://bcafn.ca/recent-natural-gas-pipeline-rupture-is-a-wake-up-call/ Thu, 11 Oct 2018 23:46:33 +0000 http://bcafn.ca/?p=4512 (Lheidli T’enneh Territory, Prince George BC – October 11, 2018) – The British Columbia Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN) Is calling for a thorough review of all aging pipeline infrastructure in BC.  On Tuesday, October 9 an Enbridge natural gas pipeline located north of Prince George, ruptured and exploded approximately two kilometres from Lheidli T’enneh community also known as Indian Reserve #2 (North). Over 70 people from the Lheidli T’enneh community were evacuated, including Regional Chief Terry Teegee and his family.

Regional Chief Teegee stated, “We are grateful to the first responders, RCMP and emergency officials for their quick response in evacuating our people during this unprecedented time.  I have never seen anything like it, and was horrified to watch a massive fire burning near the community.”  He added, “This event causes us great concern about the infrastructure of pipelines throughout BC.  While the National Energy Board and other Crown agencies will be investigating this particular incident, we must see a complete overhaul on how pipelines are monitored and regulated in BC.  There has been a major investment decision on a 48” Liquefied natural gas project from Northeast BC to Kitimaat; First Nations have a role in monitoring, compliance and enforcement of new and existing projects throughout BC.”

First Nations in BC have been seeking to become more involved in the economy and governance in their territories.  This includes the increased need to build capacities for emergency management, including preparedness, response and recovery.  This recent incident also highlights a major question about security of critical infrastructure.  Regional Chief Teegee said, “700,000 citizens of BC are now affected as a direct result of this gas pipeline explosion.  All levels of the economy are now affected, including the shutdown of mills and other industries relying on natural gas; this includes First Nations communities and their infrastructure and businesses.”  He concluded, “Prior to any new pipelines being developed, there needs to be a review of regulatory processes, compliance and enforcement in regards to management of existing pipelines and also new pipelines that are being considered. Furthermore, governments and the gas and oil industry need to concede that there is an inherent risk to pipelines and it’s not a matter of ‘if’ it’s a matter of ‘when’.”

For further information, contact:

Regional Chief Terry Teegee. Phone: (250) 981-2151

BC Assembly of First Nations

View Press Release PDF

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BC First Nations call on Canada and BC for immediate action to restore and protect wild salmon populations http://bcafn.ca/bc-first-nations-call-on-canada-and-bc-for-immediate-action-to-restore-and-protect-wild-salmon-populations/ Mon, 24 Sep 2018 18:53:28 +0000 http://bcafn.ca/?p=4459 Coast Salish Traditional Territory/Vancouver: BC First Nations gathered last week at the Wild Salmon Summit in Musqueam Territory to discuss and express continuing frustration over the federal and provincial governments’ current, inadequate strategies to protect, enhance and manage wild salmon.

Salmon runs, which were historically abundant, have been diminished to a point where many First Nations have been unable to fully, nor consistently, exercise their social, cultural and economic food harvesting rights.

Wild Salmon Summit delegates indicated that the federal Indigenous Program Review, currently underway, must outline pathways for the implementation of First Nations Rights to self-determination and self-governance as they relate to fish and wild salmon. Fisheries legislation, programs and policies require extensive modifications that recognize and respect Aboriginal and Treaty Rights within the meaning of Section 35(1) of the Constitution Act, 1982 and the standards set out in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

“Inaction by the Federal Government relating to Aboriginal Title and Rights, as determined by the Sparrow, Gladstone, Ahousaht and Tsilhqot’in court cases, has delayed the development of desperately needed shared management structures for fisheries, fish habitat and waters in BC,” BCAFN Regional Chief Terry Teegee reflected. “As many BC First Nations have significant interests regarding the conservation and management of wild salmon, there has been some engagement and progress has been made, but major challenges persist, including the lack of consultation with First Nations to determine decisions for salmon conservation closures.”

Significant resources are required to develop and implement First Nations innovative programming and planning, including an Indigenous Fisheries Guardian Program and a technical body to conduct and disseminate research on wild salmon, monitor environmental impacts and fully realize Traditional Ecological Knowledge. In addition, First Nations must develop a shared position and priorities amongst key political representatives, including hereditary Chiefs, and the numerous Indigenous fisheries organizations that exist in BC. Pathways must be in place for these policies to be brought to the highest political levels for implementation.

The issues surrounding salmon are complex. Major efforts, the incorporation of Indigenous knowledge, and full, respectful Nation-to-Nation collaboration will need to take place to implement effective action to protect and foster the abundance of wild salmon in BC.

“The governments of Canada and BC have both endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Article 18 recognizes the right of Indigenous peoples to be decision-makers in matters that would affect their rights, through representatives chosen by themselves in accordance with their own procedures,” said Robert Phillips of the First Nations Summit Political Executive. “The depletion of wild salmon stocks and other aquatic resources has had an adverse effect on the Aboriginal fishing rights of BC First Nations and requires immediate action by all levels of government. We call on Canada and BC to establish collaborative decision-making processes and mechanisms with First Nations, and to provide the necessary funding resources to implement strategies to protect and enhance wild salmon.”

“It is vital that Indigenous governments, the provincial government, and the federal government work in full, unadulterated partnership to develop immediate actions to protect our wild salmon, in ways that respect the UN Declaration and Aboriginal rights,” said Chief Bob Chamberlin, Vice-President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. “The diminishment of wild salmon populations due to human-created conditions such as climate change and resource extraction will soon become irreversible if we do not implement immediate actions. We must act now to protect wild salmon for the sake of our cultures, our livelihoods, and our future generations.”

The First Nations Leadership Council is comprised of the political executives of the BC Assembly of First Nations, First Nations Summit, and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.

The Wild Salmon Summit was organized by the First Nations Leadership Council with generous support from the government of British Columbia.

For further comment please contact:
Regional Chief Terry Teegee, BC Assembly of First Nations: (250) 981-2151
Robert Phillips, First Nations Summit Political Executive: 778-875-4463
Chief Bob Chamberlin, Vice-President, Union of BC Indian Chiefs: 250-974-8282

View pdf news release

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Court of Appeal Decision a Wakeup Call http://bcafn.ca/court-of-appeal-decision-a-wakeup-call/ Tue, 04 Sep 2018 16:50:58 +0000 http://bcafn.ca/?p=4434 (Lheidli T’enneh Territory, Prince George, BC – Aug 31, 2018) – Yesterday the Federal Court of Appeal quashed the decision by the Trudeau government that approved the Kinder Morgan TransMountain Expansion Pipeline.  It is an important decision for First Nations who have been fighting a flawed National Energy Board process, and a broader issue of First Nations exclusion from meaningful decision-making about projects that impact their rights.

“This is a wakeup call to all levels of government in Canada.  First Nations have been winning legal battles in the courts for decades to protect their rights as true decision-makers and partners in Canada.  Yesterday’s decision by the Federal Court of Appeal, is yet another one that shows First Nations must be meaningfully involved in decision-making consistent with their inherent and Treaty rights, protected by Canada’s constitution, and international laws including the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples”, stated Regional Chief Terry Teegee.  He added, “Both the province of BC and federal government are modernizing environmental assessment review processes.  These new processes and laws must reflect consent-based decision-making, and will show the way to implement the UN Declaration.  First Nations will continue to fight and win these cases until the Crown wakes up.  First Nations will never give up.  This fight is not over.”

This decision also demonstrates that there are cracks in the federal governments’ approach to reconciliation with First Nations.  The Crown is failing on implementing and addressing various court cases won by First Nations, including the Tshilqot’in case on Aboriginal title.  The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action provides a framework for concrete actions to address the harms of colonization to First Nations in Canada.  First Nations continue to rebuild their languages, cultures and governing structures, including processes to review and assess projects that impact their territories.

 

Regional Chief Teegee stated, “New laws for project reviews must include provisions for First Nations processes and decision-making.  Such provisions will create greater certainty for First Nations, investors and the Crown, so long as they are consistent with attaining First Nations free, prior and informed consent.  We must beyond mere consultation – we are in the era of consent-based decision-making”

More information:

Court of Appeal decision: Tsleil Waututh Nation v. Canada (Attorney General)

For further information, contact:

Regional Chief Terry Teegee. Phone: (250) 981-2151

View Press Release PDF

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BC First Nations Leadership Council calls on Provincial Government to intervene with respect to Taseko Mines drilling in Tsilhqot’in Territory http://bcafn.ca/bc-first-nations-leadership-council-calls-on-provincial-government-to-intervene-with-respect-to-taseko-mines-drilling-in-tsilhqotin-territory/ Wed, 29 Aug 2018 23:34:17 +0000 http://bcafn.ca/?p=4424 Coast Salish Traditional Territory/Vancouver, BC: Last week, the British Columbia Supreme Court dismissed the Tsilhqot’in Nation’s legal challenge to halt Taseko Mine Ltd.’s (TML) extensive drilling and excavation program in Tsilhqot’in Title Territory throughout the Teztan Biny and Nabas region. The BC First Nations Leadership Council strongly supports the Tsilhqot’in Nation’s call for the Provincial government to intervene and put an end to TML drilling work within these sites of great cultural and spiritual significance, and to find a permanent solution to this conflict over the future of the area.

The Province’s permitting of any further drilling in Tsilhqot’in Territory is clearly in contravention of its own Draft Principles that Guide the Province of BC’s Relationship with Indigenous Peoples. In particular, this action violates Principles 1 and 6, which affirm the priority of recognition in renewed government-to-government relationships and commit to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including the principles of free, prior and informed consent, the right of self-government and self-determination.

“This devastating decision clears the way for the destruction of an area of profound cultural and spiritual importance for the Tsilhqot’in Nation. This will open up construction to numerous kilometres of road, 122 drill sites, 367 trench and pit tests, and clear 20 kilometres of seismic lines near Teztan Biny. This is absolutely unacceptable and out of line with the Province’s commitments to uphold Indigenous Title and Rights, and respect the Tsilhqot’in Title area and their Indigenous laws. We will stand with the Tsilhqot’in in their fight to ensure that these areas remain protected,” stated Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.

“This most recent court decision is just one of many in a long line of legal applications and disputes with respect to Taskeo Mines’ application to mine in the territory. It is clear that this project should not go through. The Provincial government must act, and fully adhere to their mandate letters which expressly articulate the commitment to implement and honour the Aboriginal Title and Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Tsilhqot’in Nation have advanced the struggle for free, prior and informed consent as well as receiving a declaration of Title with the historic Supreme Court of Canada decision in Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia. Now is the time to act on this historic decision,” stated Cheryl Casimer of the First Nations Summit political executive.

“This continued injustice will continue to have long term and irreversible damaging impacts on the community and within the territory. BC First Nations will continue to stand in unity with the Tsilhqot’in Nation in their stance against Taseko Mines Ltd. We urgently call on the Provincial government and Premier John Horgan to act immediately with respect to this issue,” stated Regional Chief Terry Teegee, BC Assembly of First Nations.

The First Nations Leadership Council is comprised of the political executives of the BC Assembly of First Nations, First Nations Summit, and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.

For further comment please contact:
Regional Chief Terry Teegee, BC AFN: 250-981-2151
Cheryl Casimer, First Nations Summit Political Executive: 778-875-2157
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President, Union of BC Indian Chiefs: 250-490-5314

See pdf news release

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