|First Nations Leadership Council Information Bulletin - October 2007|
VOLUME 2, ISSUE 8
The purpose of the Accord is to: affirm mutual respect; formalize a cooperative working relationship to politically represent the interests of BC First Nations and develop strategies and actions to bring about significant and substantive changes to government policy that will benefit all BC First Nations; and focus on a range of issues and initiatives of common interest or concern among BC First Nations, including consultation and accommodation, national processes, and social and economic program and service issues.
Work under the Leadership Accord is guided by the following principles:
- The Parties recognize and respect each other's respective mandate;
Through the Accord, the Parties commit to engage in an ongoing process of dialogue through regular leadership meetings to achieve the purposes of this Accord and, where possible, develop common understandings, strategies and/or positions on identified issues of mutual concern or priority. The Parties also agree to establish working groups on identified issues of concern or priority to advance those issues politically.
The relationship established through the Leadership Accord remains strong. Although some successes have been achieved (New Relationship, Transformative Change Accord, New Relationship Trust, others), much remains to be done.
The mandate of the FNLC is determined only through the mandates of each of its participating organizations - the BCAFN, FNS, and UBCIC - as established via resolution of their respective memberships.
The staff of the three participating FNLC organizations are responsible for following up on resolutions passed at their respective Chiefs’ assemblies, and work together on issues where all three organizations have a mandate.
The BCAFN, FNS and UBCIC are committed to maintaining unity on matters of common concern to benefit all BC First Nations, as well as to respecting the autonomy of each organization in achieving progress on issues specific to their respective memberships.
UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
The FNLC and the AFN will be hosting a conference on November 26-27th to raise awareness about the Declaration and counter the misconceptions advanced by the Canadian government.
During the meeting, the FNLC provided an update to the new Minister on ongoing work with his predecessor, the Hon. Jim Prentice, and emphasized the need for continuity in this work. Minister de Jong supported the need for continuity, and for federal engagement through a tripartite New Relationship-type arrangement.
It was agreed that the Parties will work to develop a tripartite document, setting out commitments to improve policy (i.e. Comprehensive Claims Policy, Specific Claims Policy, Inherent Right of Self-Government Policy), process (i.e. negotiations processes), and quality of life (i.e. education, children and families, etc.) issues. A follow-up meeting has been scheduled for October 26, 2007.
On September 20th, the FNLC and the Province of BC issued a Joint Statement on the New Relationship highlighting that the Province and FNLC are undertaking work to develop frameworks and tools to assist the Province and BC First Nations to implement the New Relationship. The FNLC and Province respect First Nations autonomy and recognize that First Nations are the holders of Aboriginal Title and Rights. The purpose of the New Relationship is to bring about policy changes and set a course forward that will be of benefit to all First Nations.
The New Relationship must not be used as an excuse not to engage with First Nations directly and the policy level discussions are not intended to impede upon or displace First Nations negotiations with the Crown. In fact, these community-level government-to-government negotiations provide valuable insights and guidance to broader discussions.
Each First Nation has the right to a government-to-government relationship with the Crown, and the authority to enter into negotiations and agreements to suit the unique circumstances of the community.
A joint FNLC-BC Recognition Working Group is tasked with the main deliverables from the New Relationship document - producing principles & mechanisms for: recognition & Honour of the Crown, consultation/accommodation, shared decision-making, revenue & benefit sharing, and other matters. This group is currently focused on Recognition legislation as the first priority as mandated by the Chiefs by UBCIC resolution 2007-47 and FNS resolution #0907.20.
Other working groups achieving progress under the New Relationship include the Resolutions Strategy Side Table; Telling Our Stories Committee; Crown Land Allocation Framework Working Group; Aquaculture Working Group; First Nations Heritage Conservation and the Ecosystem Stewardship Planning Working Group.
For three days out of each month, the FNLC meets with provincial officials to set direction, review progress and have high-level discussion on progress under the New Relationship and other matters of common concern.
Aquaculture Working Group
Housing and Infrastructure
A draft outline of the BC First Nations Economic Development Strategy has been completed, and will be reviewed by BC First Nations at regional forums through the fall/winter. We encourage Chiefs, Councils and economic development officers to attend these important sessions in order to provide input into the development of a province-wide economic development strategy. For more information on these sessions, please contact us, or Torrine Johnson at Tel. 604-775-6279; Fax 604-775-7149;
Based on the feedback from these sessions, a more comprehensive draft will be developed and reviewed by BC First Nations at an Economic Development Forum in February 2008.
FNTC has received approval from BC Chiefs to create a Common Services Organization, whose first function will be to provide network and information and communications technology support, including ISP services and a centralized Help Desk. Further services, such as GIS, multi-media, information management could be developed as the Common Services Organizations develops.
FNTC is hosting an Information Management Forum November 26-27. The focus of the IM Forum is "Information Management Needs and Responsibilities of Self-Governing Nations: Looking through the Information Lens at First Nations Governance". FNTC expects a working group to result from this forum that will address common community information needs, including skills and human capacity, structures and processes needed to support and information management plan, data standards, storage and security.
Children and Families
At the September 2007 UBCIC and FNS Chiefs' assemblies, the Chiefs mandated the FNLC to convene a "FNLC Child at the Centre Chiefs' Forum" to bring together Chiefs/leaders, along with key political and technical partners, to review, discuss and finalize a First Nations Child at the Centre Action Plan, which will set out a vision, principles, key topics and actions assisting First Nations to address and advance issues related to children and families. They mandated that the Forum follow the same format as FNLC forums (i.e. information sharing, review and discussion of "Discussion Paper" prepared in advance, and finalization of Discussion Paper into an Action Plan). This Forum will be held on December 4-6, 2007. Further details will be made available soon.
Early Childhood Development
Culture and Heritage
The First Nations Forestry Council is planning to hold a province-wide First Nations Forestry Forum in the spring to review and develop a BC First Nations Forestry Action Plan.
A new website for the Forestry Council will be launched in October and will include background information on all initiatives. This website can be viewed at www.fnforestrycouncil.ca.
The First Nations Leadership Council has been closely monitoring this situation and met with the Solicitor General and Attorney General of British Columbia on numerous occasions. The FNLC formally requested to the Attorney General that they, along with the family of Frank Paul be granted standing during the inquiry.
The FNLC applied for standing to the Inquiry commissioner and was recently notified that this standing was granted. The inquiry will begin in November 2007 and should continue until spring of 2008. The inquiry Commissioner has until no later than May 31, 2008 to provide a final report and recommendations.
FNLC Meeting Notes
UBCIC is a NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.