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Team BC Seeks Female Golf Athletes for 2017 North American Indigenous Games (NAIG)

17U and 19U female golf athletes invited to attend Team BC’s tryout for the 2017 NAIG

The Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity & Recreation Council (I·SPARC) oversees the Team BC Program for the North American Indigenous Games. I·SPARC and our Team BC coaches are seeking female (First Nations, Metis, Inuit) golf athletes born 1998 through 2005 to attend a Team BC Golf NAIG Development Camp, to be held at Two Eagles Golf Course in West Kelowna.

The 2016 BC Aboriginal Provincial Golf Championships concluded in August of 2016 where golf athletes competed for the Provincial Championship title and earn a spot on the “Team BC Development Squad” to train for and pursue participation in the 2017 North American Indigenous Games held in Toronto, Ontario from July 16-23, 2017. Team BC’s 17U and 19U female golf teams are now recruiting female golf athletes to attend an open athlete evaluation camp to identify new players to join Team BC.

Team BC’s 19U female squad (born 1998 or later) will identify a minimum of two female golf athletes and Team BC’s 17U female squad (born 2000 or later) will identify one female golf athlete. Registration is open to eligible participants. No pre-qualification required.

Event Information:
May 13, 2017
Two Eagles Golf Course
3509 Carrington Road
West Kelowna BC V4T 2E6

Proposed Itinerary:
9:30am-10:00am: Check in at Two Eagles golf course
10:00am-12:00pm: Clinic (held by teaching staff at Two Eagles)
12:00pm-12:45pm: Lunch
1:00pm: 18 holes
6:00pm: Announcement of the NAIG Team and information session regarding NAIG


There is no fee to participate, but you must pre-register by completing the online registration form:

Team BC Golf Selection Process

Contact Information:
Frank Antoine
Event Coordinator and Team BC NAIG Head Coach
Phone: 1-250-679-3090 or Toll-Free: 1-800-663-4303

Buzz Manuel
Provincial Coordinator, Performance Sport
Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity & Recreation Council
Phone: 1-250-350-3254
Fax: 1-877-711-5594


Ellen White Invested into the Order of Canada

March 31, 2017

OTTAWA—Today, on behalf of His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, Her Honour the Honourable Judith Guichon, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, presented the insignia of Member of the Order of Canada to Ellen White. The ceremony took place at Dufferin Place in Nanaimo, British Columbia. Ms. White was appointed on November 18, 2016.

Ellen White, C.M., O.B.C.
Nanaimo, British Columbia

Ellen White has worked for more than seven decades to celebrate the culture of her people. At a young age, she campaigned to bring electricity to her reserve and established programs to better prepare Aboriginal children for the public school system. Later, as an Elder, she wrote several books on Coast Salish beliefs and practices, and created one of the first dictionaries of the Hul’q’umi’num’ language. She continues to build bridges between Aboriginal peoples and the larger community, notably as the long-time Elder-in-residence in the Native studies program at Vancouver Island University.

About the Order of Canada
Created in 1967, the Order of Canada, one of our country’s highest civilian honours, recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation. Close to 7 000 people from all sectors of society have been invested into the Order in the last 50 years. Their contributions are varied, yet they have all enriched the lives of others and have taken to heart the motto of the Order: DESIDERANTES MELIOREM PATRIAM (“They desire a better country”). Appointments are made by the governor general on the recommendation of the Advisory Council for the Order of Canada. For more information, visit


Media information:

Marie-Pierre Bélanger
Rideau Hall Press Office
613-998-9166 (office)
613-852-3248 (cell)


MMIWG: Date to Apply for Standing Extended to April 18

Deadline for Standing Extended to April 18

The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls has extended the deadline to April 18 from April 10 for interested parties to apply for standing.

The application forms and instructions are available on the National Inquiry’s website, at under “Legal Notices and Documents.” There is also an opportunity for those parties seeking standing to apply for funding.

Applicants will receive written decisions from the Commissioners on whether their applications for standing and funding have been accepted and, if so, on what terms. Applications can be submitted by:

fax: 1-604-775-5009
mail: National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, Head Office, P.O. Box 500, Station A, Vancouver, British Columbia V6C 2N3.

For more information about standing, interested parties may call 1-604-775-9702.

Importantly, family members of missing or murdered Indigenous women, girls, two-spirited individuals, and survivors of violence who wish to share their experiences with the Commissioners do not have to apply for standing. There is no need for these individuals to apply for funding under the standing process, as their reasonable expenses for attending to give their testimony will be paid by the National Inquiry, in accordance with the guidelines established.

Families and survivors who would like to share their stories with the National Inquiry should send an email to or call toll free 1-844-348-4119.

For more information, please contact:

Christa Big Canoe, Commission Counsel or Susan Vella, Lead Counsel via Sue Montgomery 514-240-0368 or


2017 BC Community Achievers Announced

March 31, 2017

VANCOUVER – Premier Christy Clark and Scott McIntyre, CM, Chair of the British Columbia Achievement Foundation, today named this year’s recipients of the BC Community Achievement Awards.

“What makes British Columbia a great place to call home is the generosity, dedication and commitment of British Columbians,” said Premier Clark. “Thank you to the 2017 recipients for always going the extra mile for your communities, and your province.”

“Today we celebrate the efforts of extraordinary British Columbians who strive to make our province a better place to live,” said McIntyre. “We thank them for their remarkable efforts through their work and volunteering.”

The recipients of the 2017 awards are:

• John and Sandra Barth, Burns Lake
• Garry F. Benson, Q.C., Kelowna
• Roger Bird, Nanaimo
• FR Charles Brandt, ERM, Black Creek
• Melanie Cadden, Nanaimo
• Daphne Cole, Vancouver
• Dorothy Durham, Jaffray
• Sardul S. Gill, Victoria
• Joanne Greenwood, Coquitlam
• Gerry Juzenas, Burnaby
• George Laverock, Vancouver
• Kenneth W. Lepin, Kamloops
• Krista Levar, Prince George
• Ann McNabb, Chilliwack
• William K. (Bill) Milsom, North Vancouver
• Tony Moore, Terrace
• Dalvir Nahal, Vernon
• Dr. Ralph Nilson, Nanaimo
• Walter Paetkau, Abbotsford
• Fred Robbins, Alkali Lake
• Birgit Sharman, Tumbler Ridge
• Barbara Stewart, Vancouver
• Carol Todd, Port Coquitlam
• Lin Wei (Henry) Tung, Sardis
• Master Lian Tzi, Vancouver
• Thomas George Whipps, Lantzville

An independent committee selects the recipients of the British Columbia Community Achievement Awards. The 2017 selection committee members are Mayor Jack Froese of the Township of Langley, Mayor Carol Leclerc of the City of Terrace and past recipients, Sue Bauman of Vancouver, Raghwa Gopal of Kelowna and David Young of Vancouver.

The recipients of the 2017 awards will be recognized in a formal presentation ceremony at Government House in Victoria on April 26, 2017. Each recipient will receive a certificate and a medallion designed by BC artist Robert Davidson.

The British Columbia Achievement Foundation is an independent foundation established and endowed by the province of BC to celebrate excellence in the arts, humanities, enterprise and community service. Launched in 2003, the BC Community Achievement Awards were the first initiative of the foundation, followed by the BC Creative Achievement Award for Applied Art and Design, BC’s National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction, the BC Creative Achievement Award for First Nations Art, and the BC Aboriginal Business Awards.


Cathryn Wilson
Executive Director
BC Achievement Foundation

2017 BC Community Achievement Awards


John and Sandra Barth, Burns Lake
John and Sandra Barth are known as diligent, behind-the-scenes volunteers, contributing at numerous community events in Burns Lake. Over the past 40 years, and always side-by-side, John and Sandra have lent their positive attitudes and energy to countless organizations, including the Burns Lake & District Seniors Society, the BC Senior Games, Terry Fox Run, the Lakes District Arts Council, along with projects for youth and rural outreach programs.

Garry F. Benson, Q.C., Kelowna
Garry Benson believes that giving back and actively participating in your community is essential. He has volunteered his time and expertise to building a supportive community for businesses and advocating for sustainable economic growth through his role as Former Chair and Director of Kelowna’s Economic Development Commission and as Current Director of the Uptown Rutland Business Association. Garry can also be found in activities as diverse as organizing pig roasts and cooking hot dogs at community markets to donating over 1500 hours of pro-bono legal counsel to those in need.

Roger Bird, Nanaimo
For the past two decades, Roger Bird has volunteered 30 hours a week to the Vancouver Island Military Museum (VIMM) and his involvement has grown with the institution he now heads as President. From a modest beginning in borrowed space in a shopping mall, the museum, now located in downtown Nanaimo, houses an unparalleled collection. It uniquely focuses on the contributions of all of Canada’s armed forces, including army, navy, air, peacekeeping, merchant navy and RCMP. A tourist destination and valuable heritage site for locals, the VIMM is a stunning achievement and powerful resource for understanding community members’ military history.

FR Charles Brandt, ERM, Black Creek
Father Charles Brandt believes that it is humanity’s great work to transform our disruptive influence on the earth to a benign presence. As a leading member of the Tsolum River Restoration Society, in partnership with other groups, he spearheaded a campaign to get the old copper mine site capped at a cost of $4.5 million, which enabled the immediate return of salmon to the river. Father Brandt has also volunteered with the Oyster River Enhancement Society contributing to the return of salmon and trout stocks to the once decimated river.

Melanie Cadden, Nanaimo
Melanie Cadden is the General Manager of COCO Cafe, a project of Cedar Opportunities Co-operative. COCO’s mission is to operate a successful social enterprise that supports employment, training, and socialization opportunities for people with developmental disabilities. Under Melanie’s leadership, COCO’s team of less than 10 employees has grown to over 40 and the café now runs a full catering department. Soliciting donations from the community and exhausting grant funding when available, Melanie is an integral part of COCO’s success and a skilled community leader.

Daphne Cole, Vancouver
Daphne Cole has been making a difference in the lives of young people in BC for the past 30 years. As founder of the BC Children’s Hospital Auxiliary to help support families, patients and hospital staff in 1982, Daphne is a champion for the hospital and its mission. She is a significant donor to the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, and served a six-year term as a Governor. These efforts, along with her extensive volunteering have made her a child health ambassador for the entire province and crucial to the achievements and continuing excellence of the BC Children’s Hospital.

Dorothy Durham, Jaffray
The Village of Jaffray has benefited enormously from Dorothy Durham’s time, energy and experience. Her dedication to all aspects of community life has made her an integral part of Jaffray’s social, cultural and economic well-being. Whether using her training as a nurse and caring for those in need or volunteering through Crime Watch, the local Lady Lions, 4-H and the Galloway Curling Club, Dorothy reflects the importance of giving back through her daily actions. She is an invaluable member of her community who serves as an inspiration to those she supports.

Sardul S. Gill, Victoria
Born and raised in Victoria, Sardul Gill is actively involved in the local Sikh community where he is well known as a philanthropist and community elder. He donated $5 million to the University of Victoria’s Gustavson School of Business, establishing a permanent endowment for scholarships and financial awards, international projects, teaching and research. The Sardul S. Gill Graduate School at UVic marks the first time in Canada that such an institution has been named for a philanthropist of Sikh Indian descent and was the largest gift received from an alumnus to a graduate program at the university.

Joanne Greenwood, Coquitlam
Joanne Greenwood is dedicated to the empowerment of youth. She has transformed her personal experience as a survivor of bullying into a call for action through extensive involvement in campaigns and organizations to prevent others from suffering. An anti-bullying and anti-cyberbullying advocate, Joanne co-founded Bully Free Zone Canada in 2011 and also co-founded the “BE BOLD!” campaign in 2013 to increase awareness of bullying – this campaign rapidly evolved into a means for people to express themselves through photography and anagrams, turning hurtful words to empowering ones.

Gerry Juzenas, Burnaby
Gerry Juzenas has, for 40 years, worked to advance the rights of people with disabilities along with the community’s understanding of issues specific to this population. Through various advocacy and board roles with organizations such as the Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion (BACI) and InclusionBC, in addition to presentations at local colleges and high schools, Gerry embodies what passion and commitment can achieve in furthering the rights of, and opportunities for, people with developmental disabilities.

George Laverock, Vancouver
A vision of Vancouver as a creative centre for world-class music has driven the commitment of George Laverock through his remarkable career and outstanding community involvement. George has made a lasting difference through his accomplishments in public broadcasting, arts administration and non-profit governance while mentoring the next generation of musicians. His volunteer involvement with the Vancouver Chamber Choir and the Canadian Music Centre, to name a few, along with countless hours on numerous boards, has created a legacy for musical arts and culture in British Columbia.

Kenneth W. Lepin, Kamloops
A recognized community leader, Ken Lepin is ubiquitous in Kamloops, working on boards including the City of Kamloops Board of Variance, Venture Kamloops and the Thompson Rivers University (TRU) Foundation. A visionary philanthropist, Ken’s generosity will have an enduring impact on residents of the community of Kamloops and BC for many future generations. Leading by example, Ken serves as an inspiration through his quiet and unassuming leadership driven by his dedicated passion to give back.

Krista Levar, Prince George
A dedicated member of the Prince George community and a leading expert on therapy dogs, Krista Levar was among the first Victim Services managers in the province to introduce Crisis K-9’s into a victim-serving agency. With her dog, Max, she helps children navigate the complex court legal system and has introduced groundbreaking work in this field in BC. Levar has also created a personal safety education program for girls at risk called Run for Fun, serves as a board member of the New Hope Society, and has been a volunteer Big Sister for eight years.

Ann McNabb, Chilliwack
The Girl Guides of Canada have been at the core of Ann McNabb’s life since she first began her 52-year journey with them at eight years old. Her commitment embodies the organization’s goal to make a positive difference in the life of every girl and woman so she can contribute responsibly to her community. Moving through its ranks as both a Brownie and Guide leader, Ann now serves as the District Commissioner for Chilliwack District Girl Guides with 150 girl and adult members under her guidance. In addition to this commitment to the Girl Guides, Ann is engaged in the executive of the Canadian Council of the Blind’s Chilliwack chapter, along with two advocacy roles with other organizations for vision impaired and blind persons.

William K. (Bill) Milsom, North Vancouver
As both a community volunteer in safety and rescue organizations in North Vancouver and as an academic leader and mentor at the University of British Columbia, Bill Milsom is passionate about helping others. He has served for more than 20 years with the North Shore Rescue Team, acting as one of 40 highly trained members who must perform at the highest level of mountaineering and first aid skills while responding to difficult conditions at short notice. His dedication is reflected in all he does and, since 1985, Bill has also volunteered with the First Aid Ski Patrol (FASP) at Cypress Mountain, donating over 2000 hours of service.

Tony Moore, Terrace
Tony Moore is a trail builder and a primary influence in the development of multi-use trails in Terrace. Over the past 15 years, he has assisted with the design, building, and maintenance of trails in the Terrace region, enjoyed by hundreds of hikers, runners and bikers every week. In 2010, he consolidated all design input and funding for Steinhoe Ridge and helped build the trail as a volunteer and later as the supervisor of construction. Tony is responsible for the complexity and quality of the Terrace trail network – parts of which he walks almost daily to identify and resolve problem areas – that has expanded from five kilometers to over 35 today.

Dalvir Nahal, Vernon
Dalvir Nahal leads efforts and volunteers her time to help people dealing with mental health issues, homelessness and racism. Her work has bridged communities and promoted diversity, built rooms in hospitals and cancer clinics, provided cancer treatment support for patients without health benefits, food for the homeless, health assistance for the mentally ill, and tourism ideas and green solutions for her community. Dalvir volunteers with several community organizations and foundations and has raised over $220,000 in funds for charitable causes in addition to her four community board positions.

Dr. Ralph Nilson, Nanaimo
Dr. Ralph Nilson has worked with thoughtful dedication over many years to create opportunities for former youth in care to pursue a post-secondary education. As President and Vice-Chancellor of Vancouver Island University (VIU), he was the first university leader in BC to respond to this call and continues to be a leader in this area today. With an unwavering support for the process of reconciliation and a strong commitment to ensuring Indigenous students have access to relevant and positive post-secondary opportunities, Ralph has changed the landscape for hundreds of youth leaving care and molded VIU into a model for others to learn from.

Walter Paetkau, Abbotsford
When he started Abbotsford Community Services in 1969 as a small, unfunded organization with an all-volunteer staff, Walter Paetkau was moved by compassion, care and commitment to his community, particularly those in need and the less fortunate. He has since grown it to become the province’s largest community service organization, with 380 staff, 2,000 volunteers and 23 sites. Among its 70 programs are a food bank, Meals On Wheels and the Abbotsford Recycling Depot. Thirty years ago, Walter launched the first Fraser Valley United Way campaign, which now raises funds for more than 26 local charities.

Fred Robbins, Alkali Lake
Fred Robbins is dedicated to uniting all communities of the Cariboo Chilcotin to ensure the St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School and its survivors are not forgotten. During his time as Chief of Esk’etemc First Nation he initiated public events, workshops and seminars, as well as a monument at the school and in Williams Lake’s Boitanio Park, and was also instrumental in the development of Orange Shirt Day, which continues today. Through his vision, Fred, a residential school survivor, brought together First Nations, Tribal Councils, local government leaders, school districts, and former students to remember, recover and reconcile. He continues with his message today and has given voice and hope to the Truth and Reconciliation process in British Columbia.

Birgit Sharman, Tumbler Ridge
For more than a decade, Birgit Sharman has championed a number of key impact events for the Tumbler Ridge community. Through her work with the Wolverine Nordic and Mountain Society since its inception in 1992, Birgit organized the Ridge Ramble Cross Country Ski Race and has served on the Emperor’s Challenge Mountain Run Organizing Committee for fifteen years, helping it to become the largest off-road running event in BC. In addition, Birgit supported and serves on the Board of Directors of the community’s most exciting development, the Tumbler Ridge Global Geopark, which is one of 111 such UNESCO Global Geoparks worldwide, and only the second in North America.

Barbara Stewart, Vancouver
Barbara Stewart embodies the spirit of Variety – the Children’s Charity of BC, which states that “together we can be there when families need us most” through her four decades of remarkable commitment to the charity. She has served as a volunteer with Variety holding every significant office in the organization and contributing in a range of ways. She’s been President, assisted every fundraising effort, been a member of the President’s Circle for Variety International, introduced and chaired the Gold Hearts campaign and raised more than $5 million for children with special needs. Barbara is an invaluable part of Variety and continues to inspire by her commitment and actions.

Carol Todd, Port Coquitlam
Since 2012, Carol Todd has been an active and dedicated advocate raising awareness on the dangers of cyberbullying. Building on the tragic suicide of her daughter, Amanda Todd, Carol promotes her daughter’s message of hope and strength. Her platform reaches parents and children alike and, by sharing her personal experience of losing a child, she engages her community on mental health awareness while delivering valuable education and resources to those in need throughout British Columbia and beyond. Carol created the Amanda Todd Legacy Society in honour of her daughter’s memory to recognize the uniqueness within each person and, by doing so, empowering their individuality.

Lin Wei (Henry) Tung, Sardis
Motivation, work ethic and a commitment to community define Henry Tung’s contributions to his high school and community. Originally from Taiwan, Henry and his family immigrated to Chilliwack, via PEI, and he was determined to give back to his new home. As a consistent honour roll student, Henry also volunteered for a wide variety of school clubs and community organizations while volunteering with the Red Cross, Fraser Health, and Interact Club to name a few. Now a second year scholarship student a Queen’s University, Henry has left a lasting impact on his hometown school and community and is an example for other students to follow.

Master Lian Tzi, Vancouver
An accomplished Buddhist master, lecturer, writer and yoga master, Master Lian Tzi stands out for her dedication and quiet leadership to promote the values of peace, compassion and selfless community service. As President of the Lotus Light Charity Society, Master Lian Tzi has guided its humanitarian missions to help Vancouver’s most vulnerable through the Hot Meal for the Homeless Program, Winter Charity Drive, Annual Rice Donation Program and Children’s Backpack Program to name a few. The Society’s inspired goal, “through caring and learning we help build a better tomorrow” drives Master Lian Tzi’s commitment which comes straight from the heart and her caring dedication has made her community a better and brighter place.

Thomas George Whipps, Lantzville
Tom Whipps’s volunteer commitment stands out as a much beloved member of the Lantzville community. Lantzville relies on volunteers and ‘neighbours taking care of neighbours’ and Tom embodies this ethic in everything he does. He served for two decades as a Scout leader and continues to help the organization, even though his sons are long since grown up. Active in the community’s sports, its seniors’ group, as well as a dedicated volunteer firefighter, Tom’s efforts are legendary and represent the lifeblood of his town. An ambassador for the community and a good citizen who has made a difference, Tom is a true leader whose example is an inspiration to all.

British Columbia Achievement Foundation
T. 604.261.9777 | Toll Free 866.882.6088 (in BC)
F. 778.379.0511


Agreement solidifies relationship with McLeod Lake

April 3, 2017

MCLEOD LAKE – British Columbia and the McLeod Lake Indian Band today celebrated an agreement to strengthen their government-to-government relationship while supporting economic development opportunities.

The government-to-government agreement creates a consultation process between the band and the Province for natural-resource development and wildlife management, and supports the social and economic well-being of the band members.

It also establishes a collaborative management committee for the Omenica area, encompassing approximately 23,000 square kilometres, which will focus on environmental stewardship in balance with a strong forest economy and a common goal of maintaining the availability of timber.

The agreement balances McLeod Lake’s treaty rights with land and natural resource development in their traditional territory and ensures the McLeod Lake Indian Band has a meaningful role in the management and economic development of those resources and a share of the revenue.

The government-to-government agreement includes $5.8 million to invest in a long-term trust to support the community’s youth as they grow to adulthood. The goal is to promote educational pursuits and members will be able to access funding up to the age of 35 years if they get their B.C. graduation certificate.

The agreement provides revenue sharing with the Province from oil and gas activity on the band’s traditional territory. The Province will provide $1 million over the life of the agreement, which extends until March 31, 2024, to help with implementation.

British Columbia has also entered into four new revenue-sharing agreements with the McLeod Lake Indian Band as part of the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund. The agreements provide the band with a percentage of the revenue the Province receives from the independent power producers operating in Quality Creek, Septimus Creek, Thunder Mountain and Tumbler Ridge, located within the band’s traditional territory.


John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation –

“The Province has had a long and constructive relationship with the McLeod Lake Indian Band. This agreement will ensure that we continue to work well together while strengthening rural economic development for businesses and families in the community. The success of rural communities is vital to the success of British Columbia.”

Chief Derek Orr, McLeod Lake Indian Band –

“The McLeod Lake Indian Band is happy to take this next step with the provincial government to ensure that we have a voice in the prosperity of our members and all strategic discussions that affect our traditional territory. And it provides the means for us to create future opportunities for our young people.”

Mike Morris, MLA, Prince George-Mackenzie –

“The McLeod Lake Indian Band leads in creating entrepreneurial opportunities in our province within the First Nations community. This agreement will ensure more certainty and will no doubt lead to greater business accomplishments and opportunities.”

Pat Crook, mayor, District of Mackenzie –

“McLeod Lake Indian Band is an important economic partner with the District of Mackenzie and we are happy to see a formalized agreement between the McLeod Lake Indian Band and the Province.”

Quick Facts:

  • McLeod Lake Indian Band is 138 kilometres north of Prince George.
  • The band has 556 members, living in McLeod Lake, District of Mackenzie, Chetwynd, Prince George and throughout North America.
  • McLeod Lake Indian Band has been included in Treaty 8 since 2000.
  • The band has three Natural Gas Pipeline Benefits Agreements in the past two years for the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission Line, Coastal Gas Link and Westcoast Connector Gas Transmission Project.
  • Related to Site C, the band has agreements with B.C. Hydro: Impact Benefits Agreement, Contracting Agreement and Tripartite Land Agreement.

Learn More:

McLeod Lake Indian Band:

For a copy of the government-to-government agreement, visit:


Edward Hill
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation
250 356-5831

Connect with the Province of B.C. at:


LABRC: Katzie First Nation Votes YES to their Community Land Code

Congratulations to Katzie First Nation!  On March 29, 2017, Katzie First Nation eligible voters ratified their community land code, and in doing so, opted out of 34 limiting, land-related sections of the Indian Act.  Their land code is a vital step towards cultural and economic self-sufficiency for the community, and the environmental protection and proper governance of their lands.  Katzie First Nation is the 71st First Nation to become operational under the Framework Agreement on First Nation Land Management and now assumes land governance jurisdiction over their reserve lands and resources.


Stk’emlúpsemc te Secwépemc Nation (SSN) Building Allies Across B.C. and Canada To Oppose KGHM’s Ajax Mine in Kamloops

KAMLOOPS, BRITISH COLUMBIA–( April 1, 2017) – Today, over 30 organizations representing hundreds of thousands of members across British Columbia and Canada announced their support to the Stk’emlúpsemc te Secwépemc Nation’s (SSN) decision to withhold its free, prior and informed consent to the development of the lands and resources at Pípsell (Jacko Lake and area) for the purposes of KHGM’s Ajax copper-gold mine.

The announcement was made this morning during an Allies Meeting and a Solidarity Ceremony held at the Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, British Columbia. Supporting organizations signed a “Declaration of Support” to the SSN Pípsell Decision, announced on March 4th of this year (see list and quotes of supporting organizations enclosed).

The Ajax Mine Project in its proposed location at Pípsell is in opposition to the SSN land use objective for this profoundly sacred, culturally important, and historically significant keystone site, which significance is fundamental and undiminished. If approved, the mine would destroy part of Jacko Lake and irreversibly affect Pípsell.

“The SSN has taken a historic step in self-determination through conducting its own independent assessment of the Ajax open pit project in accordance with SSN laws, traditions, customs and governance system. The SSN wants to preserve the use of Pípsell area for all British Columbians and Canadians in accordance with Secwepemc law,” states Dr Ron Ignace, Chief of Skeetchestn.

The SSN, which represents the communities of Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc and Skeetchestn Indian Band, has an irreplaceable historical, cultural and spiritual connection to Pípsell. Councillor Viola Thomas, Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc, says: “This connection is deeply rooted in one their oral histories: the Trout Children Stseptékwll. The Trout Children Oral History is inseparably connected to the place of the proposed Ajax mine site. It encapsulates and expresses the human connection of Stk’emlúpsemc te Secwépemc, to Pípsell. It sustains Secwépemc law about Secwépemc conduct on the land and the reciprocal accountability to living beings on the land, social conduct across generations and within generations.”

SSN Spokespeople

  • Dr Ron Ignace, Chief of Skeetchestn
  • Councillor Viola Thomas, Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc
Declaration of Support to Stk’emlúpsemc te Secwépemc Nation,

April 1


, 2017, Kamloops:

Union of BC Indians Chiefs
British Columbia Assembly of First Nations
Shuswap Nation Tribal Council
First Nations Women Advocating for Responsibile Mining
Indigenous Environment Network
West Coast Environmental Law
David Suzuki Foundation
Sierra Club BC
Council of Canadians
MiningWatch Canada
Rivers Without Borders
Wilderness Committee
Fair Mining Collaborative
BC Environmental Network
Northern Confluence
Clayoquot Action
Kamloops Code Blue
Kamloops Physicians for a Healthy Environment Society
Kamloops Area Preservation Association
Kamloops Moms For Clean Air
Thompson Institute for Environmental Studies
Thompson Rivers University Faculty Association Human Rights Committee
Thompson Watershed Coalition
Aberdeen Neighborhood Area
Sagebrush Neighbourhood Association
Coalition East Kamloops
Concerned Citizens of Quesnel Lake
Forest Protection Allies
Contact Information:
Media contact:
Sunny LeBourdais


LABRC: Lake Cowichan First Nation now the 72nd Operational Signatory Nation!

On March 31st, 2017, Lake Cowichan First Nation voters fully embraced their community land code by voting 100% in support of its ratification. The 72nd signatory nation to ratify a land code under the Framework Agreement on First Nation Land Management, Lake Cowichan First Nation now has the jurisdiction to protect and govern their reserve lands and resources.  Their land code reflects the unique needs and traditions of the Lake Cowichan community, and will provide environmental protection for their reserve lands and resources, as well as being crucial to cultural and economic self-sufficiency efforts for generations to come.  Congratulations Lake Cowichan!


TRU: Indigenous scholars gathering for the future

March 31, 2017

It was a meeting of the minds and hearts this past weekend as TRU hosted 20 Ch’nook Scholars for a weekend of speakers and networking—an assembly of spirited individuals, passionate about the future.

Ch’nook program director Miranda Huron welcomed the visitors to TRU on Friday, remarking that the second gathering is where they will really get to know each other.

Returning scholars can attest to this. All 20 of the students took the weekend to learn more about each other’s cultures, backgrounds and ambitions, and find ways to support each other in the future. Site tours, panel discussions and workshops made for a fully packed visit.

Touring Quaaout Lodge on Saturday was a definite highlight for many. The scholars commented on the inspirational power of witnessing a community vision come to life and enjoyed this particular demonstration of Aboriginal entrepreneurship.

“Hearing Neskonlith Chief Judy Wilson speak about the economic and environmental challenges the Okanagan is facing was important,” said Sarah Melnyk, a TRU School of Business and Economics student from the Métis Nation of BC. “These discussions solidify the need for Indigenous scholars to complete our education and help our communities to find that balance between development and protecting the land.”

Read more about TRU’s five Ch’nook Scholars

A theme that wove through the weekend was learning more about the local bands which are having to make big decisions, weighing choices that remain true to their ancestors and traditions but also support advancement within the growing economic world for future generations.

“The discussions on extraction throughout the weekend were extremely profound and I really got a sense of the challenges we face in the future,” said Alana Green, a University of Victoria student, proud of her Cree ancestry from her paternal side, and Coast Salish ancestry on her maternal side.

“It will be our responsibility as future Indigenous business leaders to help our communities make the best choices. This makes Ch’nook special, there is no fear in facilitating those difficult conversations about the challenges we face,” added Green.

“The scholars were highly engaged in discussing real-world issues faced by Indigenous communities,” said Hafiz Rahman, faculty member in economics and member of the Ch’nook Advisory Board.

Some of the challenges Aboriginal business students face are unique and having the Ch’nook support system has been a benefit to many.

“The Ch’nook network is powerful, it gives us access to a vast set of collective knowledge and contacts for both business and personal development,” said Keenan Beavis, a University of the Fraser Valley student from the Métis Nation of BC. “I look forward to developing the friendships I gained over the weekend into the future.”

“The Ch’nook program has changed my life,” said Green. “At the final gathering in Kamloops it was a difficult moment for me to fully realize I would be graduating and not be coming back in the fall. It was actually an emotional moment for me when I said goodbye to the group even though I know these relationships will live on.”

“Additionally, I was so honoured to be voted the graduating class valedictorian by my peers because I really feel as though Ch’nook has given me a voice.”

Ch’nook students continue to stand as pillars of support for the program, even after graduation. Their aim is to provide an everlasting legacy for future youth.


Missing and murdered women’s inquiry not reaching out to families: advocates – CP

Source: The Canadian Press
Apr 3, 2017 

VANCOUVER _ A coalition of aboriginal women’s advocacy groups is expressing grave concerns about the national missing and murdered women’s inquiry, saying the commission has failed to adequately reach out to families.

The Coalition on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in British Columbia says it’s concerned about media reports that say the inquiry has only identified about 100 family members or survivors.

Coalition member Fay Blaney says she understands that the federal government has not shared with the inquiry the names of those who came forward during preliminary consultations.

She’s calling on the inquiry to immediately request that all levels of government and indigenous organizations contact family members and survivors to ensure they know how to register to be a witness.

Lorelei Williams, whose aunt went missing decades ago and whose cousin’s DNA was found on serial killer Robert Pickton’s farm, says family members are extremely stressed out about the inquiry.

Chief Commissioner Marion Buller was not immediately available to comment, but the inquiry is conducting preliminary meetings this month before the first public hearing is held May 29 in Whitehorse.



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