Province signs agreement with Sto:lo

Sumas First Nation one of 14 participating in strategic engagement agreement

A three-year agreement that aims to enhance consultation and engagement on land and resource management decisions with 14 Sto:lo First Nations was announced Thursday.

The strategic engagement agreement (SEA) builds on a 24-month pilot in which the First Nations and the province negotiated and implemented a framework agreement to improve relations between the parties, including local groups such as Sumas First Nation.

The new agreement will continue to create more effective procedures for administering applications and referrals for the First Nations, government and industry.

Otis Jasper, chairperson, Stó:lō First Nations Strategic Engagement Agreement Board, said, “Our Stó:lō leadership is firmly supportive of our SEA. This agreement establishes a framework for engaging with the province on a government-to-government level regarding land and resources uses within our tribal lands. Our lands and resources are vitally important to our culture and economy. Developing a pilot two years ago and now a full-scale SEA speaks to the commitment of our combined leadership as Stó:lō from our multiple tribes to work together with the province on matters that are of great importance to all of our communities.”

The B.C. government is providing a total of $2.1 million over the life of the agreement, which encompasses Stó:lō territory in the Fraser Valley.

The agreement follows the pilot model with a government-to-government forum to oversee implementation. Provincial agencies processing land and resource applications will continue to work closely with the People of the River Referrals Office (PRRO), which acts as a single point of contact to ensure applications are referred to the appropriate signatory First Nation within agreed timelines.

The B.C. government, the First Nations and industry benefit from this consultation process. The provincial government recognizes that the area covered by the SEA hosts a number of major projects, and the agreement includes specific processes on referrals related to major projects.

SEAs with First Nations are intended to encourage a positive and respectful government-to-government relationship; strengthen B.C.’s investment climate and establish mutually agreed-upon procedures for consultation and accommodation. For First Nations who chose to enter the treaty process, SEAs can help to build the mechanisms to support decision-making in a post-treaty environment.

The 14 Stó:lō First Nation members participating in the pilot are Chawathil First Nation, Cheam First Nation, Leq’á:mel First Nation, Scowlitz First Nation, Shxw’ow’hamel First Nation, Skawahlook First Nation, Sumas First Nation and the Ts’elxwéyeqw Tribe, which signed on behalf of the Aitchelitz Band, Shxwhá:y Village, Skowkale First Nation, Soowahlie First Nation, Squiala First Nation, Tzeachten First Nation and Yakweakwisoose First Nation.

The provincial government has reached 31 economic benefit agreements with First Nations since the BC Jobs Plan was launched in 2011, and 13 of the 10 new non-treaty agreements B.C. committed to reaching over the next two years. These agreements support economic opportunities for both First Nations and neighbouring communities.

B.C. now has eight fully operating SEAs with First Nations, including the Stó:lō First Nations, Tahltan Nation, Kaska Dena, Taku River Tlingit First Nation, Nanwakolas Council Society, Ktunaxa Nation, Tsilhqot’in Nation and the Secwepemc Reconciliation Agreement.

John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, said, “I firmly believe that working in partnership is the best way to ensure meaningful participation in resource management for First Nations. I am delighted to see all the hard work from the pilot project grow into this significant multi-year agreement.”

Just Posted

Robert Nelson, 35, died after being stabbed at a homeless camp in Abbotsford on April 7 of this year.
Mom pleads for information about son’s killing at Abbotsford homeless camp

Robert Nelson, 35, described as ‘man who stood for justice, honour, respect’

FVRD surveyed public opinion on cannabis production and processing in the electoral areas. Odour and distance from residential areas were the top concerns. (Black Press file)
Cannabis production and processing rules being drafted by Fraser Valley Regional District

Data from public opinion survey will be used to guide cannabis-related land use

Police arrest the suspect in an attempted armed bank robbery on June 2 at the Scotiabank at Gladwin Road and South Fraser Way in Abbotsford. (Photo by Garry Amyot)
Abbotsford bank robbery suspect who was stopped by customers faces more charges

Neil Simpson now faces total of eight charges, up from the initial two

Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat greets fans outside of the Abbotsford Centre prior to the Canucks exhibition game against the Ottawa Senators in 2019. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)
More jobs posted for Abbotsford AHL team

Five new opportunities accepting applicants, Comets forward Lukas Jasek signs in Finland

Singer Ben Cottrill performs during the 2019 Arty Awards at The Reach Gallery Museum, the last time the event was held in person. Cottrill received the award in the performing arts category. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)
Nominations now open for 2021 Arty Awards

Annual event hosted by Abbotsford Arts Council, with ceremony Sept. 25

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read