Chiefs meet with Premier Christy Clark

Chiefs from the Tsilhqot’in along with hundreds of Aboriginal leaders from B.C. have been in Vancouver this week.

Chiefs from the Tsilhqot’in along with hundreds of Aboriginal leaders from B.C. have been in Vancouver this week meeting with Premier Christy Clark and cabinet ministers.

On Wednesday each nation or community was given 15 minutes to meet with different ministers and representatives of the six Tsilhqot’in communities attended their meetings together.

Xeni Gwet’in Chief Roger William said many First Nations leaders are frustrated.

Last year there was a lot of excitement because of his community’s rights and title win, but a year has gone by, and not much has happened.

“The First Nations want to say now we have Aboriginal title and B.C. needs to step up,” William said Thursday. “The BC treaty process is frustrating for many that are involved. The length of time it takes and the recognition it doesn’t have.”

The Tsilhqot’in continue to work on signing a five-year negotiation agreement with the provincial government, which William hopes will be completed by the end of 2015.

In terms of the high level ministers, the Tsilqhot’in feel they are on the same page, but when it comes down to technical and legal aspects of working out the  agreement it is too watered down, William added.

“I think we want to show some results of this title win not only to our people but to the general public and one of them is to be able to show some economic development happening on the ground.”

Seventeen-year-old Peyal Francis Laceese attended the meetings as a Tsilhqot’in youth ambassador.

“I’ve been able to sing and speak from a youth’s perspective to other chiefs and delegates of First Nations from all over B.C.,” Peyal said from Vancouver.

With his father Francis Laceese being the Chief of Tl’esqox (Toosey), Peyal said being engaged in his father’s activities is normal.

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