Three Secwepemc communities sign agreement to work together
Published: April 12, 2010 5:00 AM
Three Secwepemc communities, including Simpcw First Nation, have agreed to work together on shared areas by signing a Lands and Recognition Agreement in Secwepemc Territory.
"It's a very proactive attempt by us to begin working together in a formal way," said Simpcw chief Keith Matthew. "It is essentially a protocol agreement. If an issue comes up, then we will have a table we can work at it."
The communities are Little Shuswap Indian Band, Shuswap Indian Band and Simpcw First Nation. Their chiefs and councils have agreed to sign the agreement that outlines how they will work together on projects within their respective areas of interest.
Matthew gave as an example issues that might develop in areas that two or more of the communities view as being part of their traditional territories. These could involve projects such as forestry, mineral exploration or hydro development.
The agreement also demonstrates a higher level of cooperation amongst the communities to share proprietary information and maps of their respective areas of interest. The agreement is for a term of five years and the original signatories have the ability to add other Secwepemc communities by consensus. The agreement lays the framework for working on major projects and other significant sectors within the boundaries of the Secwepemc Nation.
The signing ceremony took place at the band office of the Little Shuswap Indian Band on Thursday, April 8.
A fourth Secwepemc community, Skeetchest'n Indian Band, was to sign the agreement as well. However, according to Matthew as of press-time late last week, band chief Rick Denault was seeking some last minute clarifications.
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