Premier Christy Clark mingles with aboriginal leaders at second annual cabinet-First Nations meeting in Vancouver Thursday.

Premier Christy Clark mingles with aboriginal leaders at second annual cabinet-First Nations meeting in Vancouver Thursday.

B.C., chiefs pledge to work on reconciliation

Premier Christy Clark launches aboriginal sports awards, scholarships, but chiefs want end to colonial rule

B.C. cabinet ministers and 500 aboriginal leaders emerged from two days of meetings in Vancouver Thursday with a pledge to work on divisive resource development issues and hold a province-wide forum on aboriginal children in government care.

Premier Christy Clark also announced the establishment of a $2 million fund for scholarships for aboriginal students pursuing post-graduate degrees, and a new set of awards for aboriginal youth athletic achievement.

Surrey-White Rock MLA Gordon Hogg was appointed parliamentary secretary in charge of developing the sports awards.

A framework document agreed to at the meeting commits the province and First Nations Leadership Council members to keep working on a reconciliation agreement that would settle historic land claims across the province. Clark said the agreement would have to include provisions for the unique aspects of more than 200 First Nations.

Grand Chief Ed John of the First Nations Summit said the first two years of these province-wide meetings have gotten off to a rocky start, but expressed the hope that “by year 10 we’ll have paved the road.”

In his closing speech, John reflected on his own time at a residential school, and described a new generation of young people that is emerging from the social upheaval of that policy.

“I couldn’t even see my sister on the other side of the building, even though she was in the same residential school as I was,” John said. “That disconnect became the norm for us.”

Chief Shane Gottfriedson, regional representative of the Assembly of First Nations, echoed John’s call for a resolution to land issues that started in 1859 when colonial Governor James Douglas proclaimed that all lands and resources in B.C. belong to Crown.

Chief Robert Chamberlin, vice president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, said last year’s landmark land title decision in favour of the Tsilhqot’in Nation means action is required to address territorial claims.

It is the Canadian law that First Nations want to see implemented,” he said.

 

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

Just Posted

The HarbourCats’ 2021 season is cancelled. (Photo courtesy of the Victoria HarbourCats)
No at-bats for Victoria HarbourCats, Nanaimo NightOwls this season due to COVID-19

No Canadian teams will play in the 2021 West Coast League season

An Extinction Rebellion Vancouver Island (XRVI) climate change event in 2019 saw a large crowd occupy the Johnson Street bridge. (Black Press Media file photo)
TRAFFIC: Protest occupying one lane of Douglas Street southbound

Extinction Rebellion activists are marching from Vancouver to the B.C. legislative building

One person has been arrested following an assault on a man with Down syndrome along Dallas Road April 17. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man with Down syndrome attacked along Dallas Road

Suspected assailant arrested, sent to hospital for mental health assessment

Victoria police are asking for help locating high-risk missing man Derek Whittaker, last seen in Victoria April 12. (Courtesy of VicPD)
MISSING: Police searching for Derek Whittaker, last seen in Victoria

Whittaker believed to be driving 1994 red Volkswagen Golf

Victoria police arrested a wanted man April 19, seizing drugs, firearms and body armour. (Courtesy of VicPD)
Drugs, loaded weapons, body armour seized from Victoria suite

Man was wanted for the possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking

Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and vacation bookings are being increased in B.C. (B.C. government)
Out-of-region B.C. vacation bookings, RV ferry reservations to be refused

B.C. extends COVID-19 indoor dining, group fitness ban until May 25

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
BREAKING: Child, 2, marks youngest British Columbian to die related to COVID-19

Child one of eight people to die from virus this weekend

Chakalaka Bar & Grill remains open in defiance of orders from Island Health to close. (Cole Schisler photo)
Island Health seeks injunction against restaurant defying COVID-19 orders

VIHA says Ladysmith-area Chakalaka Bar and Grill also violating water and sewer regulations

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is a independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. to target people ages 40+ in ‘high risk communities’ with AstraZeneca vaccine

A total of 13 neighbourhoods and communities will receive the AstraZeneca vaccine

Carver Ken Sheen had almost finished work on a large cowboy carving commissioned by the City of Williams Lake to replace the original overlooking the Stampede Grounds when fire broke out Friday, April 18 at his property between Williams Lake and Quesnel. (Pine River Carving Facebook photos)
Cow boss statue destined for Williams Lake Stampede Grounds goes up in flames

Carver Ken Sheen lost the statue, all his tools and his shop in the blaze

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains. (Hansard TV)
B.C. moves to protect employee pay for COVID-19 vaccination

Most won’t need to take time off work, labour minister says

Orca 1
Orcas: Our Shared Future finally surfaces at Royal B.C. Museum

Museum dives into the world of the killer whale as delayed feature exhibition now open

Most Read