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Lake Babine inks 25-year deal with province

John Rustad and Wilf Adam

British Columbia and the Lake Babine Nation have agreed to develop a 25-year plan for reconciliation.

Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation John Rustad and Lake Babine Nation Chief Wilf Adam have signed the Foundation Pathway Agreement. This agreement sets out a commitment for the province and Lake Babine to negotiate a Foundation Agreement, a 25-year framework to strengthen the government-to-government relationship, reconcile respective jurisdictions and responsibilities, and provide certainty and benefits.

“The path we are seeking to build with B.C. through this agreement is one where we can collectively create meaningful change through the effective and timely negotiation of a long-term agreement,” said Adam. ” This will take real courage by both parties – courage that we must find new ways to lead together and make decisions together as we build a more just future. There is much at stake for both Lake Babine and B.C. – the work is urgent and cannot await another generation. The Lake Babine peoples and the citizens of British Columbia deserve our best efforts.”

The longer-term agreement will allow B.C. and Lake Babine to co-operatively design incremental steps to address and implement rights and title, clarify respective governance and decision-making, improve social conditions, and build trust and accountability over time. Through this collective path, the regional economy will have a clearer framework more aligned with business investment cycles, and which promotes enduring partnerships with industry.

“This agreement is a key step on the path to developing a powerful new approach to reconciliation, a first-of-its-kind 25-year agreement,” said Rustad. “This approach will provide First Nations and industry the certainty they need to drive toward new partnerships. It also allows us to take on tough issues like title, governance and social conditions step-by-step, being accountable to each other and stakeholders and building trust over time.”

The Foundation Pathway Agreement also strengthens Lake Babine’s participation in the regional forest economy through new forest tenure opportunities, partnership opportunities with BC Timber Sales, and new, innovative ways to work collaboratively with the Province and forest sector through development of a regional forestry forum.

This agreement with Lake Babine Nation is one of the ways the B.C. government is taking action to strengthen, grow and diversify rural and Aboriginal communities.

Supporting First Nations’ aspirations of healthy communities and new economic opportunities builds on the immediate investments and long-term action plan outlined in B.C.’s Rural Economic Development Strategy that are expected to create more than 26,000 jobs and add $2.8 billion to provincial GDP.

 

Quick Facts:

  • Lake Babine Nation is the third largest Aboriginal band in British Columbia. The Lake Babine Administration Office is 230 kilometres west of Prince George, with a total registered membership of approximately 2,438. Their language is Nad’uten.
  • The Nation has 27 reserve lands and five communities, including Woyenne, Old Fort, Fort Babine, Tachet and Donald’s Landing.

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