Crown Land Referrals Toolbox Released!

** WEB SITE RELEASED! **


Written by Steven DeRoy

The Sliammon First Nation and the Aboriginal Mapping Network (through Ecotrust Canada), are proud to announce the release of "Kla-soms Kwath Tooquen - a toolbox for responding to Crown Land Referrals." This set of tools is housed in a web site located at the Aboriginal Mapping Network site at http://nativemaps.org/?q=taxonomy/term/186.

"A lot of hard work has gone into this extremely important project. As a frontline worker in the provincial consultation referrals process, I know the frustrations involved and I am also aware of the opportunities this process presents," said L. Maynard Harry, Referrals Manager from the Sliammon First Nation. "I hope other frontline referral workers will find a way to incorporate the tools presented here into their individual processes." The Kla-soms Kwuth Tooquen is a result of a partnership between the Sliammon First Nation and non-profit Ecotrust Canada.

The toolbox is a unique outcome of suggestions made by referrals practitioners at a workshop that took place in November of 1999 as there is no tool like it available for First Nations. As you browse through the many useful pages, you will discover updated resources on the current legal context of consultation, a guide for reviewing forestry referrals, response letter writing guides, sample agreements, existing policies in governments, and success stories of First Nations who have developed protocol agreements and policies for handling referrals.

Culturally Modified Tree on Vancouver Island
(Photo by Steven DeRoy)

The goal of the toolbox is to level the playing field and support First Nations to have their interests and values dealt with and accommodated in a meaningful way. "The referrals process places an incredible burden on First Nations, yet at the same time, there is a real opportunity to influence what happens on the ground," said David Carruthers, Director of Information Services at Ecotrust Canada. "We need to streamline the process, to make it more efficient and more effective in recognizing Aboriginal rights. Hopefully the Toolbox will help to achieve this."

First Nations people have a strong connection to the land and the resources within their homelands. As industry has emerged and natural resources have been extracted, First Nations people have felt the impact of the loss of resources that have sustained them for thousands of years prior to colonization. With the help from the precedent-setting Haida, Taku River Tlingit and Del'gaamuuk cases, to name a few, First Nations people are now more able than ever to assert their Aboriginal rights and title to the land.

"These cases underscore the importance of both government and now industry engaging with First Nations in meaningful and effective consultation," said Nancy Morgan, lawyer with Nancy Morgan and Associates specializing in Aboriginal Law. "Kla-soms Kwuth Tooquen will provide First Nations with useful tools to enable them to bring government and industry to the table and work out accommodations that meet their Aboriginal interests."

The name "Kla-soms Kwuth Tooquen" translates into "Answer with Strength". This name was chosen because of First Nation referrals practitioners having to provide their responses to many development plans. Karen Galligos, from the Sliammon Treaty Society, worked hard at translating this phrase, among many others, into her language.

What is the next step? The Sliammon First Nation and the Aboriginal Mapping Network are co-hosting a strategic roundtable workshop, looking at Crown land referrals from a First Nation perspective. The workshop will be a follow-up to the Crown Land Referrals: A First Nations Approach workshop held in November of 1999. This two-day roundtable is to be held on Thursday, October 3rd and Friday, October 4th, 2002, in Powell River, British Columbia. Space is limited and registrations for the workshop will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

If your Nation has a story, strategy or policy related to Crown Land Referrals, we are interested in strengthening the toolbox by helping share your stories. To do so, e-mail us at info@nativemaps.org.

Kla-soms Kwuth Tooquen: a toolbox for responding to Crown Land Referrals
http://nativemaps.org/?q=taxonomy/term/186 

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