5th BC Regional Chief's Assembly ends in Co-operation Protocol



    SNUNEYMUXW TRADITIONAL TERRITORY/NANAIMO, BC, Feb. 24 /CNW/ -
Representatives of BC's First Nations natural resource councils signaled a new
era of collaboration as they signed a Co-operation Protocol today at the
conclusion of the 5th Regional Chief's Special Assembly in Nanaimo
B.C./Snuneymuxw Traditional Territory. The First Nations Forestry Council,
First Nations Fisheries Council and Interim First Nations Energy Council are
parties to the Protocol.
    "The theme of this 5th Special Assembly is 'Rebuilding our Economies and
Repairing our Environment.' Underlying that is the great need for greater
co-operation amongst ourselves to find the best possible way to achieve
economic self sufficiency," said BC Regional Chief of the AFN A-in-chut (Shawn
Atleo), "This Protocol will bring the councils together where there is common
ground, enabling them to share information, resources and strategies to
achieve their goals."
    The Interim First Nations Energy Council is tasked with implementing the
BC First Nations Energy Action Plan as well as the Mineral Exploration and
Mining Action Plan. The Fisheries Council is responsible for the
implementation of the Fisheries Action Plan, while the Forestry Council was
created to put into practice the First Nations Mountain Pine Beetle Action
Plan and Forestry and Land Stewardship Plan.
    "First Nations have relied on the lands, waters and resources in our
traditional territories for thousands of years, and we have always done so in
a sustainable way" said Grand Chief Doug Kelly, Co-chair of the First Nations
Fisheries Council, "The purpose of these action plans is to chart a way
forward for First Nations to use our natural resources to create economic
opportunities for our people, while remembering to leave enough for future
generations, as our ancestors taught us."
    "Though our respective councils deal with different industries, the
common thread that weaves us together is the advancement of Aboriginal Title
and Rights," said Dave Porter, CEO of the Interim First Nations Energy
Council, "by working together we can strengthen our position on these common
themes while supporting each other in our respective areas," he added.
    "We welcome these initiatives that reinforce our work," said Leonard
Thomas, President of the First Nations Forestry Council, "Many of our
communities are dependant on the forest industry which is in decline. A great
many others are plagued by the Mountain Pine Beetle infestation. They need and
deserve our best efforts and I am confident the other resource councils will
bring a lot to the table."
    The Protocol was witnessed and supported by the First Nations Leadership
Council, comprised of the BC Assembly of First Nations, Union of BC Indian
Chiefs and First Nations Summit.





For further information:

For further information: Brenda McCorquodale, Executive Director, First
Nations Fisheries Council, (778) 835-2496; Keith Atkinson, CEO First Nations
Forestry Council, (604) 314-0693; Dave Porter, CEO, Interim First Nations
Energy Council, (778) 772-8542; Ryneld Starr, Communications Officer, Office
of the BC Regional Chief, Assembly of First Nations, (604) 837-6908

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BC Assembly of First Nations

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