VANCOUVER, Nov. 26, 2014 /CNW/ - The BC Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN) is holding a Special Chiefs' Assembly in Vancouver this week. On the morning of November 25, 2014, BCAFN Regional Chief Jody Wilson-Raybould and the BCAFN Board of Directors, were pleased to announce the release of the second edition of the BCAFN Governance Report (the "Report"). The Report is Part 1 of the three-part Governance Toolkit: A Guide to Nation Building. The other parts being: The Governance Self-Assessment (Part 2) and A Guide to Community Engagement: Navigating Our Way through the Post-Colonial Door (Part 3). The Governance Report sets out options for governance reform moving beyond the Indian Act and the efforts of BC First Nation in developing strong and appropriate governance.
"I am so proud of the work that First Nations in BC have undertaken to build strong and appropriate governance as First Nations move away from the impoverished system of governance under the Indian Act and federal control," stated Jody Wilson Raybould, BCAFN Regional Chief. She added, "Research and experts tell us that quality of governance, much more than its specific form, has a huge impact on the future of any given society. First Nations are no exception. Societies that govern well simply do better economically, socially and politically than those that do not. Strong and appropriate governance increases a society's chances of effectively meeting the needs of its people."
Regional Chief Wilson-Raybould added, "The Governance Report is a reflection of the sustained and continuing efforts of our communities at governance reform, and would not be possible if not for the work of those Nations in BC in their own territories." She continued, "First Nations in BC clearly understand that good governance and accountability extends far beyond financial transparency, and includes political, legal and administrative mechanisms that work together to ensure our First Nations governments remain answerable and accessible to their citizens."
BCAFN Board Member, Chief Maureen Chapman stated, "First Nations in BC are at different places when it comes to governance reform and we can learn from each other. I know our communities and community leaders will continue to find the Governance Report incredibly useful in developing or refining their own Nations' 'critical path', regardless of where they currently are in implementing governance reform and re-establishing governance for their peoples and lands."
Taku River Tlingit First Nation Spokesperson John Ward reflected during a panel on First Nations governance and land management that, "We may not be experts in treaty making, in land planning or in deal making. But, we are experts in our own communities. We are experts on our own lands. And, I appreciate the opportunity to be here with Chiefs and leaders from across BC to share our experience in governance and land management and planning. As First Nations I feel we have turned a corner."
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President, Union of BC Indian Chiefs added, "I want to thank Regional Chief Jody Wilson-Raybould for being relentless in her push for strong and appropriate governance as a key to working towards resolution of the land question and protecting Rights and Title in BC. I believe this report is a product that First Nations in BC will continue to benefit from far into the future."
The Report, being discussed over the 2-day Special Chiefs' Assembly, considers the establishment of core institutions of First Nations' governance, the powers of First Nations governments, the territorial scope of those powers and processes for reconciliation with other levels of government within Canada. At the core of the Report is section 3, which considers 33 law-making powers (jurisdictions) by subject matter arranged alphabetically. For each subject matter the Report looks at where BC First Nations governments in BC are already exercising law-making powers or may be considering exercising law-making powers. The report also looks at the financing of First Nations governance and the evolving fiscal relationship of governments within Canada. The second edition has been substantially updated and revised from the first edition released in 2011 and remains one of the most comprehensive discussions of evolving First Nations governance in Canada. The Report reflects the changed legal landscape following the Tsilhqot'in decision and is a resource used by First Nations in BC engaged in or contemplating governance reform as part of ongoing efforts at Nation rebuilding and implementing the inherent right of self-government within Canada. The Report, in hard copy, is provided free of charge to all First Nations and Tribal Councils in BC. It is also available on-line at www.bcafn.ca/BCAFNGR2-temp.php.
SOURCE: BC Assembly of First Nations
For further information: Courtney Daws, Director of Operations, BCAFN, 604-922-7733, [email protected]