‘Namgis First Nation and the province have signed a letter of intent to negotiate a Forestry Reconciliation Agreement that, along with an updated Forestry Fund Agreement, will enhance governance capacity, develop a sustainable forestry program and improve the social, economic and cultural well-being of people in the community.
“The letter of intent represents a path forward to true reconciliation of our title and rights related to forestry in our territory and we look forward to achieving an agreement that reflects our responsibility for stewardship of our resources and a sustainable, stable forestry sector that will benefit our members and the whole region,” ‘Namgis First Nation Chief Don Svanvik said in a press release.
Negotiations guided by the letter of intent will focus on land selection, revenue sharing and shared decision-making, building on existing relationships and successful forestry projects to create new economic opportunities benefiting the ‘Namgis people and the entire region.
These opportunities include a pilot project between ‘Namgis First Nation and Western Forest Products to produce a forest landscape plan that includes recommendations for shared decision-making, as well as the related strategic-level Gwa’ni Project between the province and ‘Namgis. The project is one of eight planning projects under the Provincial Initiative for Modernization of Land Use Planning.
Under an updated forestry agreement signed with the letter of intent, the province will continue to share funding based on the annual timber harvest in certain areas of ‘Namgis territory. The agreement gives the Nation continued financial stability that will help support its economic goals and build self-governance.
“On our shared path to reconciliation, these agreements represent new milestones and a way forward to a bright future for ‘Namgis First Nation members and everyone in the region. I’m looking forward to the upcoming discussions under the letter of intent and the exciting opportunities they represent,” said Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation.
Don Demens, president and CEO, Western Forest Products, said, “We believe that mutually beneficial partnerships with Indigenous communities – the original stewards of B.C.’s iconic forests – are an important part of the future of coastal forestry. We are pleased to partner with the ‘Namgis and the provincial government to provide another example that demonstrates how businesses can play a role in supporting reconciliation while working collaboratively to advance B.C.’s position as a world leader in sustainable forest management.”
For more information on ‘Na̲mg̲is First Nation, visit: http://www.namgis.bc.ca/