Winter January - February 2020 Updates
Last week, BC Assembly of First Nations held another Business Forum in beautiful Lheidli T’enneh Territory (Prince George, BC). After a warm welcome to the territory, the forum began with a panel discussion on the certainty that the recently passed Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in BC Act offers to businesses in the province. This panel included Cheryl Casimer, First Nations Summit Political Executive who helped to bring the Declaration into law. While addressing articles such as Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), and questions from the crowd, it became clear from the panel, that the Declaration facilitates moving forward with non-Indigenous counterparts in a good way. As mentioned by Regional Chief Teegee, we are moving closer to an era of reconciliation and relationship building, and of recognition of Indigenous Rights and Title.
Last year many international reports called for the urgent need to reduce GHG emissions. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Emissions Gap Report (November 2019), found that we now need to reduce global emissions by 7.6 % every year from 2020 to 2030. This means emissions must drop rapidly to 25 gigatons by 2030, but based on today’s world commitments, emissions are on track to reach 56 Gt CO2e by 2030, over twice what they should be. The report states Governments cannot afford to wait, people and families cannot afford to wait, economies must shift to a decarbonization pathway now.
Women in Leadership Dialogue Session
On January 24, 2020 the BC Assembly of First Nations’ Regional Chief Terry Teegee and I welcomed 150 delegates and presenters to the 3rd Women in Leadership Dialogue Session. Chiefs, Councilors, traditional and hereditary leadership, matriarchs, elders, youth, administrators, community leaders, grassroots activists, and front-line service providers gathered to gain strength by truthfully examining the challenges faced by women and gender-diverse individuals in leadership and by celebrating successes in a spirit of mutual partnership.
On January 22nd, Regional Chief Terry Teegee attended the First Ministers Meeting on Justice and Public Safety in Victoria, BC. As Chair of the Assembly of First Nations' Chiefs Committee on Justice, Regional Chief Teegee was invited to address his federal and provincial colleagues. He spoke of the urgent need for legal reform in the justice system to address Canada’s increasing incarceration rates of Indigenous Peoples.
2019 AFN Special Chiefs Assembly (Ottawa) Updates
On Monday, December 2nd, the Chiefs Committee on Economic Development gathered in Ottawa for an all-day meeting at the Assembly of First Nations Special Chiefs Assembly. Regional Chief Terry Teegee chairs this national committee and welcomed new members to the table from various provinces and territories. Read more
Climate change is a priority issue for First Nations in BC and was top of mind among BCAFN staff at the Special Chiefs Assembly in Ottawa in early December. Patricia Rojas-Caro, Regional Climate Change Coordinator and Michelle Connolly, Carbon Specialist attended the Advisory Committee on Climate and Environment (ACE) meeting to support and manage the BCAFN’s commitments to this critical work. Read more
The BC Caucus led the way in calling for a state of emergency and immediate action to remove the blockage at the Big Bar Slide on the Fraser. Through a statement from the First Nations Leadership Council, we made sure we were loud and clear, with media all over the province. Read the news story
Regional Chief Terry Teegee was honoured to welcome Cindy Blackstock to the BC Caucus where she gave an update on the complaint pursuant to the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA) alleging Canada discriminates against First Nations children by consistently under-funding child welfare on reserves. In their human rights complaint the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada and the Assembly of First Nations cited reports documenting the inequality and the impacts on children including reports issued by the Auditor General of Canada and Standing Committee of Public Accounts to support their discrimination claims.
The Federal Government has consistently challenged the jurisdiction of the Canadian Human Rights Act to deal with the complaint.
Ms. Blackstock is a Gitxsan activist for child welfare and executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada. She is also a professor for the School of Social Work at McGill University. Read More
On the last day of the AFN Special Chiefs Assembly the BC hosted the Yukon Caucus during the lunch break. During this time everyone came together to honour Jody Wilson-Raybould in a Blanketing ceremony. As a federal political leader she has experienced significant challenges in the past few years. She continues following her path and we lift her up and support her as she fights for truth and justice. Read more
BC Premier John Horgan Honoured
During the first day of the AFN SCA Premier John Horgan was honoured for his provincial government's commitment to implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples through the Bill 41. He was offered the gift of water, a sacred element that teaches us that we can have great strength to transform even the tallest mountain while being soft, pliable and flexible. The Blanketing ceremony featured the AFN, in partnership with the First Nations Leadership Council - Regional Chief Terry Teegee, Cheryl Casimer, First Nations Summit Executive and Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, UBCIC Secretary Treasurer. Read the press release