Peter Jones

Sts’ailes sign important document with government bodies

MOU will allow better economic opportunities for First Nation band

Sts’ailes First Nation leaders sat down with several provincial government officials on Tuesday afternoon, to sign a memorandum of understanding regarding the stewardship of the Sts’ailes land and resources.

“We are starting to see the daylight,” Sts’ailes Chief Willie Charlie said before the ceremony. “We are starting to see the end of the tunnel.”

The MOU brings together numerous bodies within the government, including the ministry of aboriginal relations and reconciliation, the ministry transportation and infrastructure, the ministry forest lands and natural resource operations and the ministry of children and family development.

No ministers were on hand for the signing, however, Charlie said it was important to see the people who worked with the Sts’ailes band on a day-to-day basis, making the MOU a reality.

One of those “on the ground” representatives was Allan Johnsrude, district manager of the Chilliwack Resource District, a body of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

“This is an important event,” Johnsrude said. “It furthers a relationship we started with the First Nation (about five years ago). We’ve really developed a level of respect for each other.”

One of the changes that have been over the past year include a name change of the band, from Chehalis to the traditional name Sts’ailes. Very soon, the name of Harrison West Road will officially be changed to Sts’ailes Forest Service Road.

It’s a small but significant change, as the road bi-sects their traditional territory, Johnsrude said.

He acknowledged that in the past, it has been very difficult for those outside the government to communicate properly with people within the government. The MOU is one way to make those communications easier.

The MOU has started a process in which the Sts’ailes can work alongside the province, businesses, aboriginal and non-aboriginal neighbours, while continuing to exercise the rights to their traditional land.

Chief Charlie was the lead negotiator for the Sts’ailes, said the MOU “should provide certainty for us, certainty for the Province, and certainty for businesses wishing to work in our territory, all through a streamlined process.”

While Mary Polak, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliations was not at the ceremony, a press release stated her thoughts on the MOU.

“(It) creates a strategy for collaboration that will allow the Sts’ailes to take advantage of economic opportunities in the Fraser Valley, while providing more certainty over the use of land and natural resources. Chief Charlie has long demonstrated his commitment to addressing the health, social and economic needs of his community. I commend the negotiators from both Sts’ailes and the Province for taking this innovative approach.”

This MOU includes diverse initiatives such as forestry opportunities, road trespass, land exchanges, hydroelectric projects, tourism, conservation, coordinated consultation, child and family services, and health care—all of which form the basis for future government-to-government agreements.

“Sts’ailes Chief and Council has created a long range vision for the people of Sts’ailes that will not only contribute to the health, well being and prosperity of our people and land but will be mutually beneficial to our neighbours,” Charlie said.

news@ahobserver.com

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

From the Chilliwack Progress Archives: Plecas pitches an idea to fix Canadian prisons

Bringing you highlights from 128 years of Chilliwack Progress news coverage.

MP is urging people to weigh in on MAiD consultation

Online consultation will be taking feedback on assisted dying until Monday, January 27

Court Tuesday for Chilliwack MLA’s former constituency assistant charged with fraud

Fourth court appearance since October for Desmond Devnich who also faces breach of trust charges

Westbound Highway 1 roll-over crash slowing commuters in Abbotsford

Accident occurred just west of Mt. Lehman Road, left lane blocked

Fraser Valley snow storms finally fade

Six snowstorms in seven days pours on more than 40 cm

VIDEO: Nickelback gears up for nostalgia tour

Canadian band joins Stone Temple Pilots for a summer tour that includes just one stop in Canada

Boy, 13, arrested after alleged assault involving girl at B.C. middle school

Boy alleged to have used ‘inappropriate levels of force’ to injure the girl

B.C. player becomes only second Canadian to enter Hall of Fame of Baseball

Walker received 76.6 percent of the Baseball Writers of America Association vote

PHOTOS: Heavy snowfall breaks window, causing avalanche into B.C. newsroom office

It was a chaotic start to the week for the Kitimat Northern Sentinel

Deer carcass strung up at Surrey fire hall prompts investigation

Investigation underway following complaint a Surrey firefighter hung a deer carcass in a fire hall

Canadian law firm launches class action on behalf of Iran flight victims

Flight 752 was shot down by Iran shortly after take off

Mission Hill cellarman fired after mistakenly dumping $162K of wine down the drain

The former employee filed a grievance with the West Kelowna winery but was unsuccesful

Protesters block B.C. government building entrance to support Wet’suwet’en First Nation

A letter with four demands was delivered to the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources

Most Read