Wednesday, October 31, 2018

NStQ/B.C. advance reconciliation with government-to-government agreement

Courtesy of the Government of BC:

A new government-to-government agreement between the Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw (NStQ) and the provincial government will help build healthy and prosperous First Nations communities, benefiting people in the Cariboo region.
The NStQ and B.C. have committed to collaborate on new approaches to land and resource management, and economic development in the NStQ First Nations’ territories through the Yecweminul’ecw Agreement, which means “Take care of the land” in Secwepemctsín.
The agreement provides for a more efficient process for consultation with NStQ First Nations on natural resource approvals, and for regular meetings between B.C. and the NStQ to discuss topics of mutual interest.
NStQ and the Province will also collaborate to develop positive working relationships with other levels of government, including the federal government, local governments and First Nations, as well as industry, ranchers and other stakeholders.
NStQ First Nations and the federal and provincial governments signed a treaty Agreement-in-Principle on July 22, 2018, and have advanced to the final stage of treaty negotiations. The government-to-government agreement is the first step of a commitment within the Agreement-in-Principle to negotiate co-operative approaches to land and resource decision-making on Crown land in NStQ territories, prior to completing a final treaty.
The provincial government is committed to developing relationships with NStQ First Nations, and all Indigenous peoples, based on respect and recognition, and guided by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and case law.
Chief Patrick Harry, Stswcem’c-Xgat’tem First Nation (Canoe Creek-Dog Creek) –
“Our people have lived in poverty and watched from the sidelines while other governments and corporations have reaped benefits from our lands. This agreement is a good first step toward remedying that injustice. We commend the province for taking it. And we look forward to shared management and shared benefits from the lands we have occupied for millennia.”
Acting Chief Sheri Sellars, Xat’sūll First Nation (Soda Creek) –
“Xat’sūll is pleased to finally have this agreement with the Province. Our territory, Secwepemculecw, is vitally important to our current members and our future generations. This agreement will provide us with tools to enhance NStQ’s collective stewardship efforts and serve as a foundation for an even stronger role in the future.”
Chief Willie Sellars, T’exelc First Nation (Williams Lake) –
“It’s time for change. It’s time to work together toward reconciliation and revitalization, for our people and for the region that will benefit from our stewardship and innovation. While the negotiation on the government-to-government agreement has been difficult, and although Williams Lake Indian Band recognizes we do not have a perfect agreement, we can utilize this agreement as a starting point for the NStQ on resource talks with government. We look forward to working in partnership with the B.C. government to ensure a thriving Cariboo region and thriving Northern Secwepemc people in future.”
Chief Helen Henderson, Tsq’escen’ First Nation (Canim Lake) –
“The way in which government recognizes and acknowledges the inherent rights of First Nations is changing. I would like to commend the Province of B.C. in making the effort to begin that process of strong government-to-government relationships. Through the Yecweminul'ecw Agreement we hope to have serious discussions on the stewardship and economic development of our lands leading to further steps in recognition and reconciliation.”
Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation 
“First Nations should have a strong voice in the stewardship of land and resources in their territories. Our agreement creates a new foundation for more powerful partnerships with the NStQ First Nations and advances our ongoing treaty negotiations to explore how we manage land and resources together. We are moving forward together as partners and governments to make life better and improve economic opportunities for NStQ members, to the benefit of everyone in the Cariboo.”
Quick Facts:
  • NStQ represents Tsq’escen’ First Nation (Canim Lake), Stswecem’c-Xgat’tem First Nation (Canoe Creek-Dog Creek), Xat’sūll First Nation (Soda Creek) and T’exelc First Nation (Williams Lake).
  • The NStQ First Nations have more than 2,600 members, and are located in the Cariboo region of British Columbia.
  • Chief Patrick Harry, Stswecem’c-Xgat’tem First Nation; Chief Willie Sellars, T’exelc First Nation; Chief Helen Henderson, Tsq’escen’ First Nation; Acting Chief Sheri Sellars, Xat’sūll First Nation; and Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, are signatories to the government-to-government agreement.
  • The agreement provides $1.35 million over three years to the NStQ First Nations to support their ability to participate in the agreement.
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