Williams Lake First Nation Chief Willie Sellars will be the keynote speaker at Indigenous Opportunities 2020: Charting a Path Forward hosted by the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade on Nov. 19. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo)

Williams Lake First Nation Chief Willie Sellars will be the keynote speaker at Indigenous Opportunities 2020: Charting a Path Forward hosted by the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade on Nov. 19. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo)

Williams Lake First Nation chief set to talk business at Greater Vancouver Board of Trade

Chief Willie Sellars is the keynote speaker at the Indigenous Opportunities 2020 virtual event

Chief Willie Sellars of the Williams Lake First Nation (WLFN) will be the keynote speaker at a prestigious Greater Vancouver Board of Trade virtual event later this month highlighting how First Nations communities are adapting to the challenges of COVID-19.

“We pride ourselves on being able to move at the speed of business but it’s a little bit tougher when you have COVID there and it becomes the main priority,” Sellars said, noting WLFN has had to engage with members virtually.

While Indigenous communities have been successful in preventing, preparing for and responding to the spread of COVID-19 during the first wave, the number of positive cases in Indigenous communities continues to grow primarily due to large private and public gatherings where physical distancing and the wearing of masks were not observed, noted the Government of Canada in a news release Nov. 6.

Read More: Flu shot demand up and getting more supply won’t be easy, feds say

As of Nov. 6 more than 1,800 positive cases of COVID-19 in First Nations communities and 17 deaths have been confirmed.

“Everybody is concerned,” Sellars said. “It’s the new norm for sure.”

The WLFN continues to also recover from wildfires that tore through the region in 2017 as well as spring flooding this year that overwhelmed local waterways resulting in the breakage of a city sewage line, and the Williams Lake River Valley and part of Mission Road being destroyed.

Despite the challenges, Sellars said WLFN is working collaboratively with industry on a number of projects located in their traditional territory. Construction is forging ahead on the nation’s seed-to-sale enterprise Sugar Cane Cannabis and new government administration building, as are upgrades to the 150 Mile Enbridge compressor station.

Read More: Enbridge, WLIB compressor station upgrade project a ‘significant’ partnership

Read More: Under one roof: construction continuing on Williams Lake First Nation administration building

“There are proponents that refuse to come to the table and at the end of the day they don’t have the support and blessing of the WLFN,” Sellars said.

“A reality of doing business in First Nations traditional territory is you now have to be able to stand arm and arm and actually incorporate them [First Nations] on a meaningful level when moving new projects forward.”

As 2020 draws to a close Sellars said the new year will be an exciting one in which WLFN will be building new homes, focusing on better language revitalization and further implementing cultural and traditional practices within their community.

“Pandemic or not we’ll continue to progress as a nation to get to where we want to be which is a healthy community.”

Other event panelists at the Nov. 19 virtual event include Saik’uz First Nation acting chief Jackie Thomas, Simon Fraser University assistant professor of Indigenous Business Dr. Dara Kelly and Doug Slater with FortisBC.

For more information on the event, visit the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade.


Do you have a comment about this story? email:
rebecca.dyok@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BusinessCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The board of directors of Glen Arbor are applying for funding to build an addition of 21 units. (Monica Lamb-Yorski file photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake city council endorses 21-unit expansion of Glen Arbor

The board of directors requested a letter of support for a funding application

A woman wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 uses walking sticks while walking up a hill, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Interior Health reports 83 more COVID-19 infections overnight

46 cases are now associated with a COVID-19 community cluster in Revelstoke

(Photo submitted)
MISSING: Alexis Creek RCMP request help in finding Randolph Quilt, 59

Quilt hasn’t been heard from by family since Sept. 26, last seen in Williams Lake

Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerkson (right) with his partner Shelley Wiese participated in an BC Liberals Caucus virtual oath ceremony Friday, Nov. 27. Doerkson was appointed opposition critic of rural development by interim leader Shirley Bond. (Photo submitted)
Cariboo Chilcotin MLA appointed rural development opposition critic

Newly-elected Lorne Doerkson said it will be an honour to work for all rural consituents

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

A teacher places the finishing touches on the welcome sign at Hunter’s Glen Junior Public School which is part of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Sept. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Hindsight 2020: How do you preserve a year many Canadians would rather forget?

Figuring out how to preserve the story of the pandemic poses a series of challenges

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

Haley Callison. (Facebook photo)
Former B.C. pro hockey player frustrated with COVID-deniers after horrific bout with virus

Haleigh Callison hopes people will follow precautions and tone down the rhetoric

A man stands in the window of an upper floor condo in Vancouver on March 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Change made to insurance for B.C. condo owners amid rising premiums

Council CEO Janet Sinclair says the change will mean less price volatility

The Walking Curriculum gets students outside and connecting with nature. (Amanda Peterson/Special to S.F. Examiner)
‘Walking Curriculum’ crafted by SFU professor surges in popularity

The outdoor curriculum encourages students to connect with the natural world

Interior Health said its new toll-free line will help people connect to health-care services. (File)
Interior Health expands toll-free line to improve access to community care

By calling1-800-707-8550, people can be connected to several health-care services

Most Read