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Province Signs Parks Agreement With ‘Namgis Nation
Victoria, BC - The Province of British Columbia and the 'Namgis First Nation signed an agreement today to collaboratively manage parks and protected areas within 'Namgis traditional territory.
"We are active managers of these resources and pleased to be able to share our knowledge and expertise with British Columbia. The 'Namgis First Nation is committed to building a strong economy and looks forward to working with British Columbia to develop sustainable economic opportunities throughout our territory."
- Bill Cranmer, Namgis Chief
"This government-to-government agreement between the Province and the 'Namgis will allow us to work together to manage parks as effectively as possible," said Environment Minister Barry Penner. "In keeping with the spirit of the New Relationship, the agreement paves the way for future discussions between First Nations and the Province regarding the collaborative management of parks in First Nations' traditional territories."
The Collaborative Agreement for the Management of Parks in 'Namgis First Nation Traditional Territory focuses on park planning, capacity building, and creating a forum for both parties to discuss issues of common interest. Agreements like this ensure provincial parks are available for the enjoyment of all British Columbians, while preserving their link to First Nations' heritage and culture.
"This collaborative parks management agreement is a small but important step towards building a 'Namgis Treaty under the British Columbia Treaty Commission process," said 'Namgis Chief Bill Cranmer. "The 'Namgis people have cherished and lived off the resources of our lands and waters for thousands of years. We are active managers of these resources and pleased to be able to share our knowledge and expertise with British Columbia. The 'Namgis First Nation is committed to building a strong economy and looks forward to working with British Columbia to develop sustainable economic opportunities throughout our territory."
"I am very pleased that this agreement with the 'Namgis First Nation honours the principles of our New Relationship with First Nations," said
Tom Christensen, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation. "It demonstrates our commitment to work with the 'Namgis and all First Nations in British Columbia in a spirit of mutual respect, reconciliation and recognition for the benefit of all British Columbians."
The traditional territory of the 'Namgis First Nation is centred around Alert Bay and the Nimpkish Valley on Northern Vancouver Island. There are six provincial parks and marine parks, and four ecological reserves within 'Namgis territory, including Robson Bight Ecological Reserve, an internationally significant killer whale (orca) sanctuary. These protected areas total approximately eight per cent of 'Namgis territory.
The 'Namgis have an active program of tourism development, centred around the development of trails, management of recreation sites and partnerships with existing tourism operations in the area. They are actively interested in expanding their role in the management of provincial parks in their territory, including the development of new cultural tourism opportunities such as grease trails, kayaking and cultural interpretation.
The Province is building relationships with Aboriginal people founded on the principles of mutual respect and reconciliation. The goal is to ensure Aboriginal people share in the economic and social development of British Columbia, in line with the five great goals for a golden decade.
Article has been adapted from a news release issued by Ministry of Environment.