The Tsilhqot’in National Government and Cariboo Regional District are hoping to establish a working agreement, and have made the first attempt to establishing something for the long term.
On Oct. 7 elected officials and staff from both organizations engaged in a Community-to-Community forum as an initial step in relationship-building within a post Aboriginal Title environment.
“This meeting was a positive first step in developing a solid working relationship with the TNG based on mutual trust and respect,” said CRD Chair Al Richmond. “We will continue working together to identify areas of common interest and improve on past performances, while gaining abetter understanding of our cultures and governance models; this is what building communities together is all about.”
“Today was about building trust, respect and an understanding in order to move forward in a positive manner,” TNG tribal chairman Chief Joe Alphonse said. “We have our differences but need to come together around our common interests and goals. Engaging with organizations and different levels of government takes time and energy, but developing resilient and long-term relationships will benefit everyone in the Chilcotin and broader area.
The TNG is hopeful that these initial steps will improve relations with the CRD.”
Attended by a majority of directors and senior staff from each organization, the morning was dedicated to introductions in an effort to increase understanding of the respective backgrounds, roles and responsibilities of each individual.
Topics within the agenda included engagement/communication processes, solid waste management and emergency management.
Esdilagh councillor Norma Stump said they need to get to know one another.
“I haven’t been involved with the CRD that much,” Stump said.
“Mining is a big fight for us, but from today I’ve learned about simple things like recycling and how your programs can benefit our community.”
The day-long forum concluded by setting next steps in relationship building, including further forums of a similar nature.
“We are giving the TNG the green light to engage with the CRD to iron out as much as we can before we meet again,” Alphonse said. “It’s a lot easier to sit back and criticize. I’ve done that enough in my career and I want to shift gears and become more positive.”
The CRD’s chief administrative officer Janis Bell said she felt priorities to work on are a high level memorandum of understanding, comprehending the Supreme Court rights and title ruling in Nemiah Valley, an emergency planning agreement and land-use planning co-ordination.