Dear Band Members,

We are very happy to introduce you to the 29th weekly newsletter of Whispering Pines/Clinton Indian Band!

With this newsletter, we aim to keep all our Band members informed about the latest happenings, events, and news within the community.   We are distributing this newsletter by email, so please encourage everyone to get their email address into   manager@wpcib.com, so they can be added to the list.
 
Weekly Updates - August 25, 2017
Ajax Mine Update

In 2011, KGHM Ajax Mining Inc. (KAM) applied to the governments of BC and of Canada for environmental assessment approvals for its proposed Ajax Mine Project. KAM wants to build and operate an open-pit copper and gold mine. The mine site would occupy approximately 1,700 hectares and would operate for an estimated 23 years at a mining rate of 65,000 tonnes of ore per day. The mine is located within lands subject to Whispering Pines Clinton Indian Band Indigenous Rights and Title. The mine location is pictured below: 

Ajax Mine – South of Kamloops in Whispering Pines Clinton Indian Band Territory

The governments of BC and Canada completed the environmental assessment review of Project and issued a Federal Comprehensive Study Report / Provincial Assessment Report for public comment earlier this month. That report sets out the government’s views on the Project’s environmental effects, impacts on First Nations rights and title and proposed measures to address negative effects. The WPCIB will review this report and will issue its views and concerns in October. Based on information provided by WPCIB from 2011 to 2015, KAM and the BC Government have taken the position that WPCIB does not have a significant attachment to the Project area and the Project will not impact the WPCIB rights and interests. 

The Project is very controversial with many opponents who are concerned about the Project’s impacts on the environment and people that live within the region. The City of Kamloops recently voted to oppose the Project. The Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc (Tk’emlúps Indian Band) and Skeetchestn Indian Band, jointly represented by Stk'emlupsemc are opposed to the Project and launched a court case seeking a declaration of Aboriginal Title to the Project area.
 
Employment Opportunity: Shuswap Nation Tribal Council

Aboriginal Skills Employment and Training Strategy

Position: Program Manager West (Term Position)
Reporting to: ASETS Program Director

The Aboriginal Skills Employment and Training Strategy is seeking a Program Manager responsible for leading our team in the Western Region and promoting services to enhance employment and training in an area that is diverse in culture, communities and geography. This position will require the Program Manager for our Western Region Office to have a clear understanding and the ability to build positive relations with the First Nations Communities within the St’at’imc, Secwepemc and Nlaka’pamux Nations within the villages of Clinton, Cache Creek, Ashcroft, Lytton, and Lillooet as this is the area s/he will serve. Extensive travel may be required.

Position Profile:

The Program Manager is responsible for coordinating the employment and training programs of the Western Region and providing staff supervision and direction.  S/he is required to operate the employment services program within an approved budget and is responsible for completing all the reporting requirements of the funders and the agency, including providing narrative reports of activities.  The Program Manager is also responsible for the application of the SNTC Human Resource Policy and any operational policies as they apply to the Aboriginal Skills Employment and Training Strategy staff.  The Program Manager is expected to manage the day-to-day affairs of the Aboriginal Skills Employment and Training Strategy West office and assist in the development and implementation of programs and budgets.

A full work description including qualifications can be requested by contacting adminasets@asets.org.

Terms of Employment:

Term Position ending March 31, 2018
35 hours per week starting asap
Monday to Friday – 8:30am – 4:30pm

Location: Depending on the successful candidate, location can be Ashcroft, Lytton or Lillooet.

To Apply: Please submit your resume and cover letter citing salary expectations.

Mail: Attention: Administrative Assistant ASETS, Shuswap Nation Tribal Council, 680 Athabasca Street West, Kamloops, BC V2H 1C4 with the note “Confidential”.
Email: adminasets@asets.org with the “Program Manager West” in the subject line.
Fax:778-471-5804 with a cover page noting: “Program Manager West”

Closing Date: September 1, 2017.

In accordance with the STNC Human Resource Policy, the preference will be to hire persons of Aboriginal Ancestry pursuant to section 41 of the BC Human Rights Code. Only those who qualify will be contacted.
 
Employment Opportunity: Shuswap Nation Tribal Council

Aboriginal Skills Employment and Training Strategy

Position: Outreach Worker – West (Term Position)

Reporting to: Program Manager West

The Aboriginal Skills Employment and Training is seeking an Outreach Worker for the Western Region Team. S/he will be responsible for coordinating and promoting agreements and information sessions on eligible programs to employers. This is a term position that will require the individual to assist Communities and Employers with positive communications and relationships.

The Outreach Worker must have a clear understanding of the region and a willingness to travel to satellite offices and First Nations Communities within the St’at’imc, Secwepemc and Nlaka’pamux Nations around the villages of Clinton, Cache Creek, Ashcroft, Lytton, and Lillooet as this is the area s/he will serve.

Position Profile:

The successful candidate will be part of an Employment and Skills Development Services team and will promote ASETS Employment and Training Programs. S/he will serve as an advocate and link for employers and communities interested in providing employment and training opportunities for Aboriginal clients. S/he will be responsible for the application process and contract administration. S/he will prepare cheque requisitions with proper financial codes and monitor contracts for payment and processing.  S/he will provide individual and/or group information sessions to First Nations Bands, Community based organizations, Employers and Economic Development Corporations on ASETS programs and funding policies and will contribute to the overall success of the ASETS program in the Central Interior.

A full work description including qualifications can be requested by contacting adminasets@asets.org.

Terms of Employment:

Term Fulltime ending March 31, 2018
35 hours per week starting asap
Monday to Friday – 8:30 am-4:30 pm

Location: Ashcroft, BC. Service area will include Lytton, Lillooet, and Clinton.

To Apply: Please submit your resume, references and cover letter citing salary expectations.

Mail: Administrative Assistant ASETS, Shuswap Nation Tribal Council, 680 Athabasca Street, Kamloops, BC V2H 1C4 with the note “Confidential”.
Email: adminasets@asets.org with the “Outreach Worker West” in the subject line.
Fax: 778-471-5804 with a cover page noting, “Outreach Worker West”.

Closing Date: September 1, 2017 at 12:00pm

In accordance with the STNC Human Resource Policy, the preference will be to hire persons of Aboriginal Ancestry pursuant to section 41 of the BC Human Rights Code. Only those who qualify will be contacted.
 
WPCIB Specific Claims Update

Site of the Former WPCIB Kelly Reserve

In a spring community newsletter, the WPCIB Chief and Council discussed the decision that had been reached to proceed with a specific claim option in relation to the former Kelly Lake reserve near Clinton, BC. 

For years, the WPCIB talked about the impacts that the taking of the reserve and relocation of the community to its current location had on the community, its rights, culture and the needs of future generations. Consideration was given to whether WPCIB should sue BC Hydro and the Crown. 

Based on careful consideration of all matters, the facts and associated risks with separate legal firms and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, the WPCIB opted to proceed with a specific claim to obtain a resolution within medium term. 

The WPCIB issued instructions to its legal team to finalize research and its legal argument. It is expected that the legal team will forward the draft specific claim to WPCIB for review, discussion and approval by this fall.

The WPCIB will review the draft claim at a community meeting this fall / winter. It is expected that WPCIB will be in a position to instruct legal counsel to file the claim prior to the end of December 2017. 
 
WPCIB Administration Updates:Departing Band Manager

The WPCIB wishes to inform community members that Band Manager Wendy Duke, has left WPCIB to pursue other opportunities. The Chief and Council, administration and people of WPCIB wish to thank Wendy for all of her effort and hard work and wish her the very best. The WPCIB has made arrangements to ensure that the role and duties of Band Manager will be taken on by and existing WPCIB staff. 
 
WPCIB Administration Updates:Membership Cards and Services

The WPCIB wishes to remind community members that the Membership Office (such as making and issuing cards to band members) will be open every Wednesday from 9:00 AM – NOON. Please contact Sandy for additional information at 250-579-5772.
 
WPCIB Administration Updates: Social Assistance Services

Any WPCIB community members requiring social assistance or intake assistance can obtain help and services on Wednesdays, throughout the day. For further information, please contact Pattie at 250-579-5772.
 
Change Coming to British Columbia and the Relationship with First Nations?

Many of us wonder whether we’ll ever see a solution to the Land Question in British Columbia?  Will the governments of Canada and British Columbia ever accept, acknowledge and act on our Aboriginal Rights and Title in our lifetime or the next generation’s lifetime? 

The Whispering Pines Clinton Indian Band is a small community. Like many other First Nations in B.C., it is a poor community. It has very limited powers. As such, it cannot meet the basic needs and ensure the health and well-being of its citizens. It’s traditional lands and resources have been seized and developed over the last one hundred years making those around us rich, and leaving us with the impacts and damage. What has happened is unjust and it must be put right within our lifetime.
 
Our elders at Whispering Pines have carried and protected our culture, history and our rights. They never gave up and remind us of our responsibilities to carry on the struggle for justice and to have our rights and title recognized and acted upon in a just and reasonable way. Money, business and economic development are critical but they simply won’t happen without our people having a meaningful say and having the right of consent in our traditional lands. We can’t move forward if we are legally or politically barred from benefiting from the lands and resources within our traditional territory. 

How did we get to this point? Many of you know but it’s important to remind ourselves and younger generation of the reality that we live in and the story of how we got here. 

In the 1800’s after concluding the Douglas Treaties and Treaty#8, the Crown stopped the policy and practice of making treaties with Indigenous People in the area that is now known as “British Columbia”. While many Indigenous People objected, and made representations to colonial governments and the British Government, nothing was done through the 1800’s and 1900’s. 

Did you know that the Six Nations of Ontario even sent it’s representative, a traditional Chief called “Deskaheh” to the League of Nations (the forerunner of the United Nations)? He attempted to address the nations of the world about the illegal actions of Canada – which was seizing traditional lands of First Nations and imposing of foreign rule on First Nations through the Indian Act. How did Canada respond?  It amended the Indian Act in the 1920’s to make it illegal for Status Indians to hire lawyers to pursue the Land Question in the courts!!! This prohibition was in place until the 1950’s.

In the 1970’s, the Nisga’a went to the Supreme Court of Canada to seek a declaration of their ownership to their ancient lands in north-west B.C. While the court divided on a legal technicality, half of the judges of the court agreed that the Nisga’a still retained title to their lands. This forced, then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau (Prime Minister Justin’s Trudeau’s father) to develop a new policy that would allow First Nations to bring both specific and comprehensive land claims forward for negotiation. However even with this policy in place, the Government of BC refused to participate in the negotiation of comprehensive claims up until the 1990’s. Other First Nations went to court on the matter of their rights and title through the 1980’s and 1990’s. 

Finally, in the 1990’s, Canada and BC Government agreed to negotiate modern day land claims agreements though the BC Treaty Commission Process. Many First Nations agreed to participate as they saw it was the only way to address some of the basic financial needs of their communities. In the interior of BC, most First Nations rejected that process as all it would only result in is a slightly larger reserve land base, limited one time financial compensation and some limited municipal type powers in return for surrendering our Aboriginal Title to our lands. The Whispering Pines Clinton Indian Band along with Secwepemc Nation rejected that process as they did not see it as addressing the real and pressing needs of our community, was unfair and unjust. Another solution was needed. 

Through 2001 to last year, the Liberal Government of BC continued to attempt to conclude treaties with some First Nations, however made little progress. Rather it chose to focus on economic development agreements with First Nations. The intent was to support the forestry, oil and gas and mining industries moving forward while sharing some revenue with First Nations. While this approach was helpful, not all First Nations had a uniform type of industry occurring within its territory creating a winners and losers situation. Also, this approach left a lot in the hands of industry. In some cases, companies were prepared to be proactive and work with First Nations to create some economic benefits, but others were not. At the end of the day, one or several deals with companies is not enough to pull First Nations communities out of the desperate state of poverty they are in.

The Tsilhqot’in Nation also rejected the new approach and policy. They chose to take the matter of their Aboriginal Rights and Title to court. In June 2014, a unanimous decision from the Supreme Court of Canada granted the Tsilhqot’in title to more than 1,750 square kilometres of land in the remote Nemiah Valley in B.C.’s Chilcotin region. The ruling made them the first aboriginal band in Canada to win title to their territory.

As you know, there is now a new government in power in BC. How long it will last – no one really knows. The NDP joined formed a type of joint or coalition government with the Green Party to defeat the Liberals this past spring. British Columbia’s new premier, John Horgan, has placed First Nations issues near the top of his government’s to-do list, committing his cabinet to transforming stalled treaty talks and negotiating revenue-sharing agreements.

John Horgan has committed his government to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the calls to action of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

In addition, he has specifically ordered Scott Fraser, the new minister of Indigenous relations and reconciliation, to change the treaty process to respect case law such as the Tsilhqot’in decision. He is to also negotiate opportunities for First Nations to share revenues from B.C.’s gaming industry, pegged at almost $3 billion in 2014.

The Whispering Pine Clinton Indian Band will work with the government to create opportunities to help the community grow, develop and become more independent. However, we must also be aware that promises have been made before only to be stalled by government politicians and administrators fears and industry over loss of power and revenue.

The Whispering Pines Clinton Indian Band will never agree to the surrender of its Aboriginal Rights and Title but it will work with governments of Canada and BC to act on those and help improve the daily lives of the old, young and all generations within our community. 

Chief Steve Tresierra 
 
Neskonlith Education Center Open House
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The Whispering Pines/Clinton Indian Band Community | 615 Whispering Pines Drive, Kamloops, B.C. V2B 8S4