Hadi Nak’azdli Whut’enne,
It is that time of year again, the holiday season is upon us. The past year has been an eventful journey for us all. First, I would like to wish each and everyone of you Merry Christmas and a Happy and Safe Holiday. Please everyone take care and look after one another.
The holiday season is about family, and I like to think that Nak’azdli Whut’en is one big family.
Our condolences go out to all the families whom have lost loved ones over the course of the year. Death is never easy to deal with, and you will never overcome the loss of a loved one. We encourage you to continue on your journey and always remember that your loved one is always with you through the teachings they may have given you.
Over the course of the year Nak’azdli Whut’en leadership has been very active in dealing with many issues Nak’azdli faces. As with all issues it takes time to resolve and we ask you to be patient with us in our attempts to resolve these issues.
Nak’azdli has been operating with 5 councilors and myself, it was a very busy time with such a small team on the leadership side. However, that is behind us now and we now have 7 sitting councilors. I believe it is a great team to keep Nak’azdli moving forward and challenging the future. Please support all your elected leaders as they have stepped forward to assist Nak’azdli Whut’enne.
I do want to remind the membership that Nak’azdli Whut’en DOES NOT get involved in administrative matters. The leadership have only one employee, the chief operation officer Sandra Olson.
In November, the council attended the FNHA conference in Prince George, from there the council went to Vancouver for the Leadership Gathering.
The First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) is the first province-wide health authority of its kind in Canada. In 2013, the FNHA assumed the programs, services, and responsibilities formerly handled by Health Canada’s First Nations Inuit Health Branch – Pacific Region. Our vision is to transform the health and well-being of BC’s First Nations and Aboriginal people by dramatically changing healthcare for the better.
The FNHA is responsible for planning, management, service delivery and funding of health programs, in partnership with First Nations communities in BC. Guided by the vision of embedding cultural safety and humility into health service delivery, the FNHA works to reform the way health care is delivered to BC First Nations through direct services, provincial partnership collaboration, and health systems innovation.
At the leadership gathering in Vancouver the leadership had an opportunity to sit with provincial ministers to raise our concerns with them. We also set up a meeting with Premier Horgan, to raise all our concerns with him.
Councilor Harold Prince and myself then went to Ottawa to attend the Assembly of First Nations special chiefs Assembly, there is a lot of great work happening trying to change legislation. There was a lot of discussion on Child Welfare. They honored the last living code talker at this event, it was an honor to be in attendance.
As you are all aware Nak’azdli Whut’en has separated from Carrier Sekani Tribal Council, we currently sit at a provincial negotiation table with the CSTC chiefs. We recently endorsed 2 agreements, the Interim Forestry Revenue Sharing Agreement (IFRSA) and the Bridging agreement. The bridging agreement is just a document committing the parties to continue to negotiate, a reconciliation agreement and the Pathway Forward Agreement. The IFRSA is an agreement where we receive a percentage of the stumpage from all the logging activity happening in our territory.
Also, we have been negotiating with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (moti), in regards to highways that sit on reserve lands that were never transferred over to the province. We hope to have these discussions concluded by mid-year of 2019.
As the elected representatives of the community members, Council members have a fiduciary responsibility to act in the best interests of the community members in all political, legal and operational dealings. The political role of the Council members includes the following:
- To represent the members interests, to be an advocate and to have an open personal and professional working relationship with the Nak’azdli Band Members;
- In representing the Nak’azdli Community, Councilors must reflect the views and values of the community and take into account external stakeholder interests;
- To act as advocate for community needs and concerns with regional, Territorial, Provincial and Federal Governments;
- Council members will regularly consult Nak’azdli membership on important issues and decisions.
Councilors are expected to oversee the operations of their decisions by:
- Developing a strategic action plan along with senior management;
- Make governance policies and decisions in line with AANDC program funding obligations and the Nak’azdli Whut’en Financial Administration Law, Land Code, etc.;
- Receive reports and information related to all functions of the Band;
- Monitoring effective use of staff, committees, and advisors;
- Oversee major financial matters such as approving budgets, amending budgets, and appointing auditors;
- Participate in activities initiated by Band programs;
- Attend all Band Council and Committee meetings.
Our doors are always open, feel free to come and have coffee along with conversation. If you have any questions on anything please do come and ask.
In closing, I would like to wish each and every one of you and all your families a wonderful and safe holiday season.
Dayi’ Alec Mckinnon