Tseshaht First Nation leaders and Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District officials gathered at the First Nation’s administration building to sign an agreement to improve communications and develop cooperative management of resources that Tseshaht has interests in. The agreement was signed Tuesday, Oct. 19.
Elected Chief Ken Watts said the accord will give his nation a say in areas of Tseshaht interest like the Alberni Valley landfill, which lies adjacent to Tseshaht’s main inhabited reservation, as well as fee simple properties the nation owns.
He noted that both organizations wish to move forward in a cooperative, respectful, and collaborative way. The government-to-government relationship aims to enhance opportunities for sharing information, improving communications, addressing specific concerns, while raising awareness and understanding of Tseshaht title, rights and responsibilities. The accord also speaks to the powers and limitation of the ACRD under the Local Government Act and Community Charter.
“The TFN and ACRD each have distinct governance authorities and responsibilities towards their residents and members and acknowledge that the interests of persons living in their communities are best served by working together in the spirit of cooperation,” said the parties in a joint press release.
The accord, they say, creates a new level of certainty for their communities and jurisdictions, beginning an important dialogue in anticipation of successful community development. It is a formal arrangement between the TFN and ACRD that will establish a long-term cooperative and collaborative government-to-government relationship through effective communications.
“Tseshaht looks forward to building off our strong working relationship by formalizing this collaboration and partnership that will benefit the entire region, including on Tseshaht ḥaḥuułi (territory),” said Watts in a press release.
At the signing Watts said that the role of elected chief and council is to assist the Ha’wiih implement their inherent responsibilities to care for their territories.
“This agreement will allow us to be mutually supportive in our roles as we carry out work that benefits all the people,” said Watts.
“This is a first step in cultivating a relationship built on recognition and respect, first and foremost,” said John Jack, ACRD board chairperson, in a press release. “From there, we will work to have open, honest and respectful communication with one another on a consistent basis. We are honoured to walk the path with Tseshaht and to work to ensure that our decisions are ones that take into account our common interest.”