For Immediate Release
June 17, 2005
(Chilliwack, BC) – Leaders of the First Nations Leadership Council commend Premier Campbell for his acknowledgement of the respect, recognition and accommodation of aboriginal rights and title in British Columbia with the creation of the new Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation.
The Premier issued a strong statement to members of his Cabinet and to the public of the importance of the First Nations-Crown relationship, and affirmed that reconciliation is a key and substantive priority for his government in his next term.
“This recognition of title is a major step to resolve more than 140 years of BC history that has denied the existence of aboriginal rights and aboriginal title in BC,” said Grand Chief Edward John, Member of the political executive of the First Nations Summit.
“Premier Campbell demonstrated his commitment to building a new relationship with the First Nations of BC with his call for all ministers to be responsive to First Nations issues,” added Shawn Atleo of the Assembly of First Nations.
The willingness of the Premier to work together with First Nations and to engage in dialogue addressing First Nations’ issues and establishing solutions will increase the economic vitality, certainty, and social-well being for all people in British Columbia.
“We look forward to a constructive working relationship with Tom Christensen as the new minister responsible for Aboriginal issues,” said Stewart Phillip of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.
First Nations are working together to create strong governments and to achieve social justice and economic self-sufficiency to restore and strengthen First Nations people and governments. The next four years will provide the opportunity for the Liberal government and First Nations leadership to pursue this shared vision and to continue building a relationship based on respect, recognition, and accommodation of Aboriginal title and rights.
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.