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Information Bulletin
VOLUME 4, ISSUE 5
APRIL 2010

All Chiefs’ Task Force

SAVE THE DATE – ALL-CHIEFS’ ASSEMBLY

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 1 delegate per First Nation. Further information, including meeting materials and an agenda, will be provided in the coming weeks.

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 underway and we encourage all Chiefs, Leaders and senior staff of First Nations organizations to participate. The survey only takes 5-10 minutes and all personal information is confidential. To participate, please visit: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/DZLN2C5  

Coordinated Action: Working 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/

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

March 24th, 2010 the First Nations Summit passed a resolution calling for the current politically appointed First Nations Health Council (inclusive of the First Nations Interim Health Governance Committee) to transition to one regionally representative council. UBCIC co-Chair of the First Nations Interim Health Governance Committee Kukpi7 Wayne Christian brought forward the original resolution at last week’s Union of BC Indian Chiefs meeting, he comments: “This resolution represents an important step in the process. The transition to regional representation creates greater space for Nation to Nation dialogue and lends the new council a strong mandate to move this work forward.”

The resolution brought forward at the Union of BC Indian Chiefs and the First Nations summit calls for the following substantive actions:

1. That the First Nations Summit Chiefs in Assembly & the Union of BC Indian Chiefs call for presentation of the Basis for a Framework Agreement on Health Governance to First Nations, Tribal Councils, the UBCIC Chiefs Council, the First Nations Summit, and the BC Assembly of First Nations for a full review of the risks and benefits associated with this agreement.

2. That the First Nations Summit Chiefs in Assembly & the Union of BC Indian Chiefs replace the current structure and appointment of the First Nations Health Council which was set out in the Health Council Terms of Reference and endorsed by First Nations Summit Resolution #0907.10. The new membership structure will provide for 15 members. Nations within each of the five Regions (North, Interior, Fraser, Vancouver Coastal and Vancouver Island) through their own processes will appoint three representatives at the All Chiefs Assembly in the month of May 2010. In the interim, the existing First Nations Interim Health Governance Committee structure shall continue until the full establishment of the newly structured First Nations Health Council or May 30, 2010. The term of this transitional structure shall be for two years. This 15-member First Nations Health Council will be responsible for reporting to Nations in their regions, accountable for progress and processes at all levels, representation, and ensuring that ratification processes and decision making process that are community driven and Nation based.

3. The newly appointed First Nations Health Council will oversee the health governance negotiations pursuant to the Basis for a Framework Agreement on Health Governance. The new First Nations Health Council will appoint a negotiation and support team, and continue to provide resources for a community engagement and ratification process.

FNS co-chair of the FNIHGC Grand Chief Doug Kelly has been supporting the health governance work for the last 18 months, and welcomes the new structure “We have seen regional representation work well in Fisheries, and Children and Families. Direct accountability to the Nations, clear lines of accountability and reporting, and a more inclusive and community-based process will emerge from this shift. Most importantly, this shift signals a renewed commitment on behalf of leadership to work together towards advancing the development of a new First Nations Health Governing Body.”

First Nations Energy and Mining Council

1. Environmental Assessment Report

In 2009 resolutions were passed at the UBCIC and FNS meetings to propose a solution to the environmental assessment processes. Both the federal and provincial processes do not meet the needs of First Nations and many completed assessments end up in costly litigation for the First Nations.

Update: Letters have been sent to the Minister of Environment, Minister of Energy Mines and Petroleum Resources, and the Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation. All have responded stating the process meets the standards of the Courts on consultation of Aboriginal rights and title. On April 8th, 2010 the FNEMC issued a press release announcing the First Nations discussion paper and their willingness to engage with the BC government.

2. Reforming the mining free entry system in British Columbia.

First Nations have asked our council to engage on reforming the outdated mining free entry system where exploration companies can stake claims on First Nations territories without prior and informed consent of the impacted community. We saw first-hand how this can cause major upheaval when the Chief and Council of the KI6 in Ontario were sent to jail when they opposed a mineral exploration company on their territory.

Update: The request to discuss free entry reforms has been raised at the BC Minister’s Council on Mineral Exploration and Mining. It has been put on the agenda for the next meeting that will likely occur in the next 2-3 months.

3. Website

The FNEMC developed a communications plan including a website to inform First Nations, public governments, and stakeholders of the Council's work, including areas of collaboration with government and industry, information on major natural resource projects in BC and the associated regulatory and environmental assessment processes.

Website: The website for the FNEMC has been developed and will be officially launched in March 2010. The address is www.fnemc.ca  

The website includes the following:
• Mandate.
• Vision for the Council.
• Relevant documents such as the First Nations Energy Action Plan and the BC First Nations Mineral Exploration and Mining Action Plan.
• Initiatives such as reports, protocols, and agreements.
• Overview of the Council including the board of directors and CEO.
• Relevant links – ex to the Major Projects Management Office, First Nations Summit, BC Assembly of First Nations, Union of BC Indian Chiefs, National Assembly of First Nations, BC Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, Unites States Council of Energy Resource Tribes.
• Career opportunities.
• News releases.
• All documents produced by the Natural Resources Canada contribution agreement.

4. Renewable Energy/Bioenergy strategy.

The FNEMC has developed a renewable energy strategy including a bio-energy strategy that supports First Nations long-term plans and views related to sustainable development that will aim to identify the potential to develop renewable energy resources (eg. solar, wind, wood pellets, cogeneration, etc.) that will benefit FN businesses and communities. These include new employment opportunities, new revenue streams for communities through the generation of power and the economic and environmental benefits of sustainable energy use.

This strategy could be a very useful guide for the federal and provincial governments to work with First Nations in BC on renewable energy opportunities. A major opportunity exists with those First Nations that are still using diesel-powered generators to provide electricity and heat to their communities. We recommend these communities could be a priority as there may be ways to seek assistance from private investments (banking institutions) and Indian Affairs Canada to attain financing to convert them to green power. This conversion may save millions of dollars in diesel costs savings if run-of-the river, wind, or bio-energy sources are utilized.

Update: Bioenergy Implementation

With the recent announcement of the joint protocol with the BC Bioenergy Network, the FNEMC, and the First Nations Forestry Council there is interest to take the agreement to the next step: to work to prioritize one or two First Nations communities that would be the best candidates to consider bioenergy facilities in their communities.

The First Nations bioenergy strategy outlines a number of opportunities for First Nations and bioenergy and recommends prioritizing those communities that are still using diesel generators to power their communities. The mountain pine beetle epidemic has created hundreds of millions of cubic meters of dead pine that will never be harvested. These vast volumes of dead wood create a real fire threat to isolated communities. Implementing a bioenergy strategy by clearing the dead pine trees to power generators and heat public buildings while at the same time reducing costs of expensive diesel is a solid plan.

BC First Nations Fisheries Council

Cohen Commission
The Cohen Commission, appointed by Canada to look into the demise of Fraser sockeye, is now receiving submissions. Many First Nations have applied for standing before the Commission. The First Nations Fisheries Council has been hosting some dialogue and discussion related to common themes that B.C. First Nations would like to see put before the Commission. A scoping paper looking at possible themes will be posted shortly on the Council website, and then a First Nations-only one day workshop will be held on June 1 in Vancouver to further discuss these themes. A registration form for the session will be available on the FNFC website.

Appointments to the Groundfish Integrated Advisory Board
Fisheries and Oceans Canada will soon be appointing members to the new Groundfish Integrated Advisory Board. The First Nations Fisheries Council has been working with communities and DFO to ensure that First Nations from the various coastal geographic regions of B.C. have representation on this multi-stakeholder board, as well access to a bi-lateral process with DFO, and associated funding to support participation. For more information please contact the Council at info@FNFisheriesCounci.ca .

Aquaculture
The First Nations Fisheries Council partnered with DFO in order to undertake some analysis and capacity-building in First Nations communities with respect to the issue of the development of a new B.C. regulatory framework for aquaculture. As a part of the initiative the Council developed 4 major pieces of analysis, including a legal and policy overview of the issue. Nine meetings were held around B.C. which included First Nations only and First Nations/DFO discussions. Results from the individual meetings and a draft summary report have both been posted on the FNFC website’s aquaculture page.

Appointments to the Council
At this time 10 of the 14 seats on the First Nations Fisheries Council have been filled by communities from the 14 geographic regions previously approved by the UBCIC, FNS, and the BCAFN. The Council will be working with communities the remaining 4 regions to ensure that they have ongoing information relating to the activities of the Council. The Council recently held a strategic planning retreat to prepare for the upcoming year.

Council Members by Region
• Allan Claxton: South Island
• Cliff Atleo: Nuu-chah-nulth (West Coast Vancouver Island)
• John Henderson: Kwakwaka’wakw (Northern Vancouver Island & Mainland Inlets)
• Steve Carpenter: Central Coast
• Russ Jones: Haida Gwaii
• Don Roberts: North Coast
• Walter Joseph: Upper Skeena
• Vacant: Northern Transboundary
• Howie Wright: Columbia Transboundary
• Thomas Alexis: Upper Fraser
• Vacant (2 seats): Mid-Fraser
• Ken Malloway: Lower Fraser / Fraser Valley
• Vacant: Lower Mainland

Communications
Don’t forget – the First Nations Fisheries Council has a website which is designed to keep you and your staff up to date on issues important to B.C. First Nations. Check out the bulletin board, news clippings, and monthly Communiqués which are all available on the Council website at www.FNFisheriesCouncil.ca. A master calendar on the website provides information about important upcoming fisheries meetings. The Council also hosts a First Nations only Regional First Nations Fisheries Organizations Bi-Weekly Conference call. Information on the call can be obtained directly from the Council at info@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 ainvolved 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.

Aboriginal Tourism Association of BC

Aboriginal Tourism Association of British Columbia (AtBC) continues to realize significant consumer demand for Aboriginal cultural tourism in British Columbia.

AtBC stakeholders were ambassadors for the Aboriginal cultural tourism industry for thousands of visitors in Vancouver during the 2010 Olympics/Paralympic Winter Games including:
• The Kla-how-ya Village at Pan Pacific Vancouver
• Four Host First Nations Aboriginal Pavilion
• The Aboriginal Crafts Pavilion at Vancouver Community College
• Aboriginal Tourism Showcase at Robson Square
• BC Canada Pavilion, Vancouver Art Gallery
• Robson Square main stage

Immediate results from AtBC’s Olympic initiative include more than 75 local and international media stories on television, radio, in print and online. AtBC stakeholders and members of the Board of Directors were interviewed by NBC, the BBC, ARD (Germany), DWTV (Germany) and others including USA Today and the London Daily Telegraph.

AtBC’s media coverage during the games, if purchased for marketing purposes, has provided the Aboriginal cultural tourism industry an estimated $1 million dollars in marketing support. The media attention and coverage received was a tremendous success!

Moving forward, AtBC is already finalizing plans to capitalize on this world-wide exposure. Our 2010-2011 marketing and publicity plan will help AtBC’s stakeholders turn this attention into real, tangible benefits.

The options we’re looking at include:
• An increased media FAM trip itinerary to individual stakeholder businesses across the province
• Regional marketing and media relations workshops for stakeholders
• A social media campaign featuring reviews and recommendations of AtBC stakeholders on leading travel industry web sites, forums and online discussions including Facebook and Twitter
• Participation in the 2010 Rogers Santa Claus Parade in downtown Vancouver
• Development of tour packages
• First ever AtBC Call Center to assist consumers with vacation options for their Aboriginal cultural tourism experience
• AtBC online store
• A number of marketing events in the summer 2010
• Plus many others…

We’ll keep all stakeholders updated as the 2010-2011 marketing plan goes through the approval process at the end of April.

Finally AtBC will be sending out the annual stakeholder fee campaign in April. AtBC will call on all stakeholders to consider the benefits this association continues to provide. AtBC has revised all forms and will be forwarding in the very near future to seek continued support to ensure the Aboriginal cultural tourism grows.

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)

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

 

 

 

 

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