First Nations Economic Independence Report Released
For Immediate Release
Feb. 13, 2008
Ministry of Economic Development
First Nations Leadership Council
VANCOUVER – “Journey to Economic Independence: B.C. First Nations’ Perspectives,” a joint report between the Province of B.C. and the First Nations Leadership Council (FNLC), was released today at the BC Chiefs Regional Leadership Economic Opportunities Forum in Vancouver, announced East Kootenay MLA Bill Bennett and the First Nations Leadership Council.“We are committed to building on the confidence that the New Relationship has given us,” said Bennett. “The Province is proud to be a part of a report that encourages and highlights sustainable economic development among First Nations communities.”
The information contained in the report focuses on how B.C. First Nations are creating economic opportunity for their communities, and at the same time participating more fully in regional, provincial and global economies.
“I was inspired to hear one community express their vision as being ‘150 in 15,’ and that is that in 15 years, through the development of a sustainable economy and the implementation of a new relationship, we can overcome the challenges our people have faced over the last 150 years and return to the place of prosperity, of healthy children and families, and of a thriving culture and community,” said Shawn Atleo, Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief and member of the First Nations Leadership Council Executive. “It is a vision like this that gives us all hope that, by working together, all communities of British Columbia will benefit.”
The project was developed in collaboration with the First Nations Leadership Council and the Ministry of Economic Development, and will contribute to progress under the New Relationship agreement and the tripartite Transformative Change Accord of 2005.
“Through continued determination and insight we will be able to ensure that First Nation economic development flourishes in British Columbia,” said Economic Development Minister Colin Hansen. “Economic stability, cultural integrity and community involvement can have a profound effect in improving the self-confidence, pride and goals of First Nations youth and adults.”
The report was undertaken by Ted Williams, a member of the Cowichan Tribes, and Terry Bootsman, who visited and compiled information from 11 First Nations’ communities throughout B.C. What differentiates this project from similar initiatives is that the best practices revealed were identified by economic development leaders in First Nations communities and ratified by First Nations participants.
“This report clearly illustrates the gauntlet First Nations have had to run to overcome the barriers to achieving economic self sufficiency,” said Chief Judith Sayers of the First Nations Summit political executive and First Nations Leadership Council. “It is a positive light to be able to recognize many of our communities are conquering the historical colonial impediments they have faced as they move towards becoming economic powers.”
For more information, visit the following websites:
Ministry of Economic Development: www.gov.bc.ca/ecdev
First Nations Summit www.fns.bc.ca
Union of BC Indian Chiefs www.ubcic.bc.ca
BC Assembly of First Nations www.bcafn.ca
Public Affairs Officer
Ministry of Economic Development
BC Assembly of First Nations