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Bruce Strachan: Hard work, vision got treaty done

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  • Don Bain
    Thursday, November 9, 2006 Hard work, vision got treaty done http://www.princegeorgecitizen.com/ It never fails. The ink was barely dry on the historic Lheidli
    Message 1 of 2 , Nov 9, 2006
      Thursday, November 9, 2006

      Hard work, vision got treaty done
      http://www.princegeorgecitizen.com/

      It never fails. The ink was barely dry on the historic Lheidli T’enneh
      First Nation land settlement treaty when the sideline critics began to
      complain. First, the West Moberly Nation claimed the Lheidli T’enneh
      treaty was flawed due to a claim overlap. West Moberly Chief Roland
      Wilson said much of Lheidli T’enneh treaty settlement is on West Moberly
      land.

      Wilson said the problem was in part due to a discrepancy over the
      placement of the height of land in the Rocky Mountains. The other issue
      in the land overlap dispute is the position of the government of Canada,
      which according to Wilson, sides with the West Moberly claim. This
      assertion is puzzling when one realizes Federal Minister of Indian
      Affairs Jim Prentice signed off in support of the Lheidli T’enneh treaty.

      The fact of the matter is there is more native land claimed in B.C. than
      there is land. Overlaps exist at every land-claim boundary. Federal
      negotiator Tom Malloy says the West Moberly concern can be resolved.
      Failing that, I’d give the overlap decision to the Lheidli T’enneh. They
      claimed first, they settled first, it’s theirs. We’ll call this the
      you-snooze-you-lose principle and it should apply in all overlap
      disputes. Two benefits here; it gets everybody to the table, and it will
      offer a quick resolution to the huge issue of competing land claims.

      Second, we have Grand Chief Stewart Philip, president of the Union of
      B.C. Indian Chiefs, opposing the Lheidli T’enneh treaty. Philip -- who
      is the elected chief of the Penticton Indian Band -- calls the current
      B.C. treaty process a shoddy divorce system. He slammed the agreement,
      saying, “Here’s some cash, here’s some stuff, get out of my face.”

      Philip claims he represents 40 First Nations opposed to the B.C. Treaty
      process. Big deal. Within the B.C. treaty process there are currently 42
      treaty tables at work involving 120 bands. There are 198 native bands in
      B.C. Included at the tables are the governments of Canada and British
      Columbia. Grand Chief Philip may think he’s a pretty important guy, but
      with neither senior government talking to him, and his organization in
      the minority, I think Philip and his chiefs have pretty well dealt
      themselves out of the land claim process.

      Finally, let’s look at the treaty process as successfully pursued by the
      Lheidli T’enneh. The band was the first to sign on to the B.C. Treaty
      Commission process back in 1993. They had an agreement in principle in
      1994. The band continued to work diligently at the B.C. Commission
      treaty table and with other organizations who had an impact on their way
      of life. As an example, in 2002 I did a provincewide project for the
      environment ministry involving fish and game management. During the
      course of our committee work, we found the Lheidli T’enneh had developed
      a game management strategy in conjunction with ministry officials and
      local game management associations. It was a well-thought-out model, it
      had all players buying in and it came as the result of hard work,
      accompanied by heads-up, best-practice negotiations. At the time, the
      Lheidli T’enneh game-management plan was the only native-developed
      strategy in the province.

      Notice a theme here? A pattern of hard work, responsible leadership and
      aggressive negotiations focused on getting to yes.

      And look what hard work and a treaty produces. The Lheidli T’Enneh have
      negotiated $27 million in one-time funding, $400,000 per year revenue
      sharing for 50 years and 9,000 to 10,000 sockeye salmon. The list goes
      on, but the measurable value of the treaty is estimated at $73 million.

      And what do the critics have to show for their efforts? A couple of
      lines in last week’s newspaper, now sitting at the bottom of the
      birdcage getting the treatment it so richly deserves. Has the Union of
      B.C. Indian Chiefs negotiated any settlements of any value to any one?
      No. Will it ever? No, at least not with its current collective head
      stuck in the no-negotiation sand.

      When Lheidli T’enneh Chief Dominic Frederick took the stage at the
      treaty-signing ceremony, he said, “We have come here to today to turn
      the page and open a new chapter for the next generation and generations
      to come.” How true. Chief Frederick has also written a new chapter on
      aboriginal treaty making. He’s shown all of B.C. – including the
      dissident Indian chiefs -- that true leadership isn’t hiding behind an
      anti-everything position; rather it’s stepping to the front and getting
      results.

      * * *

      Lest we forget.

      Remembrance day honors those who paid the supreme sacrifice that we
      might live in peace and freedom. Volumes will be said this Saturday in
      praise of our fallen heroes. There is though, no more poignant or
      powerful call for remembrance than the closing lines of “In Flanders
      Fields” by Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae M.D.

      “If ye break faith with us who die

      We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

      In Flanders Fields.”



      Bruce Strachan is a former B.C. cabinet minister and Prince George city
      councillor. His column appears Thursdays. E-mail: brucestrachan1@...
    • Don
      Thursday, November 9, 2006 Hard work, vision got treaty done http://www.princegeorgecitizen.com/ It never fails. The ink was barely dry on the historic Lheidli
      Message 2 of 2 , Nov 9, 2006
        Thursday, November 9, 2006

        Hard work, vision got treaty done
        http://www.princegeorgecitizen.com/

        It never fails. The ink was barely dry on the historic Lheidli T’enneh
        First Nation land settlement treaty when the sideline critics began to
        complain. First, the West Moberly Nation claimed the Lheidli T’enneh
        treaty was flawed due to a claim overlap. West Moberly Chief Roland
        Wilson said much of Lheidli T’enneh treaty settlement is on West Moberly
        land.

        Wilson said the problem was in part due to a discrepancy over the
        placement of the height of land in the Rocky Mountains. The other issue
        in the land overlap dispute is the position of the government of Canada,
        which according to Wilson, sides with the West Moberly claim. This
        assertion is puzzling when one realizes Federal Minister of Indian
        Affairs Jim Prentice signed off in support of the Lheidli T’enneh treaty.

        The fact of the matter is there is more native land claimed in B.C. than
        there is land. Overlaps exist at every land-claim boundary. Federal
        negotiator Tom Malloy says the West Moberly concern can be resolved.
        Failing that, I’d give the overlap decision to the Lheidli T’enneh. They
        claimed first, they settled first, it’s theirs. We’ll call this the
        you-snooze-you-lose principle and it should apply in all overlap
        disputes. Two benefits here; it gets everybody to the table, and it will
        offer a quick resolution to the huge issue of competing land claims.

        Second, we have Grand Chief Stewart Philip, president of the Union of
        B.C. Indian Chiefs, opposing the Lheidli T’enneh treaty. Philip -- who
        is the elected chief of the Penticton Indian Band -- calls the current
        B.C. treaty process a shoddy divorce system. He slammed the agreement,
        saying, “Here’s some cash, here’s some stuff, get out of my face.”

        Philip claims he represents 40 First Nations opposed to the B.C. Treaty
        process. Big deal. Within the B.C. treaty process there are currently 42
        treaty tables at work involving 120 bands. There are 198 native bands in
        B.C. Included at the tables are the governments of Canada and British
        Columbia. Grand Chief Philip may think he’s a pretty important guy, but
        with neither senior government talking to him, and his organization in
        the minority, I think Philip and his chiefs have pretty well dealt
        themselves out of the land claim process.

        Finally, let’s look at the treaty process as successfully pursued by the
        Lheidli T’enneh. The band was the first to sign on to the B.C. Treaty
        Commission process back in 1993. They had an agreement in principle in
        1994. The band continued to work diligently at the B.C. Commission
        treaty table and with other organizations who had an impact on their way
        of life. As an example, in 2002 I did a provincewide project for the
        environment ministry involving fish and game management. During the
        course of our committee work, we found the Lheidli T’enneh had developed
        a game management strategy in conjunction with ministry officials and
        local game management associations. It was a well-thought-out model, it
        had all players buying in and it came as the result of hard work,
        accompanied by heads-up, best-practice negotiations. At the time, the
        Lheidli T’enneh game-management plan was the only native-developed
        strategy in the province.

        Notice a theme here? A pattern of hard work, responsible leadership and
        aggressive negotiations focused on getting to yes.

        And look what hard work and a treaty produces. The Lheidli T’Enneh have
        negotiated $27 million in one-time funding, $400,000 per year revenue
        sharing for 50 years and 9,000 to 10,000 sockeye salmon. The list goes
        on, but the measurable value of the treaty is estimated at $73 million.

        And what do the critics have to show for their efforts? A couple of
        lines in last week’s newspaper, now sitting at the bottom of the
        birdcage getting the treatment it so richly deserves. Has the Union of
        B.C. Indian Chiefs negotiated any settlements of any value to any one?
        No. Will it ever? No, at least not with its current collective head
        stuck in the no-negotiation sand.

        When Lheidli T’enneh Chief Dominic Frederick took the stage at the
        treaty-signing ceremony, he said, “We have come here to today to turn
        the page and open a new chapter for the next generation and generations
        to come.” How true. Chief Frederick has also written a new chapter on
        aboriginal treaty making. He’s shown all of B.C. – including the
        dissident Indian chiefs -- that true leadership isn’t hiding behind an
        anti-everything position; rather it’s stepping to the front and getting
        results.

        * * *

        Lest we forget.

        Remembrance day honors those who paid the supreme sacrifice that we
        might live in peace and freedom. Volumes will be said this Saturday in
        praise of our fallen heroes. There is though, no more poignant or
        powerful call for remembrance than the closing lines of “In Flanders
        Fields” by Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae M.D.

        “If ye break faith with us who die

        We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

        In Flanders Fields.”



        Bruce Strachan is a former B.C. cabinet minister and Prince George city
        councillor. His column appears Thursdays. E-mail: brucestrachan1@...
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