Aboriginal & Non-Aboriginal Relations
First Nations and FBC
First Nations are among the signatories to the Charter for Sustainability and have participated on the Fraser Basin Council board since the Council was established in 1997.
Eight Aboriginal Directors from across the Fraser Basin sit on the board with local, provincial and federal government representatives, and with representatives from the private sector and civil society.
FBC recognizes First Nations as an order of government, and understands that a just and fair acknowledgement and reconciliation of Aboriginal rights and title is a foundation for long-term sustainable relationships. Principle 11 of the Charter for Sustainability says this:
FBC hosts a Suxwtxtem Committee, which gives strategic advice to the Board of Directors on improving Aboriginal/Non-Aboriginal relationships and advancing the aim of Principle 11. Suxwtxtem is an Okanagan word that means to sustain the diversity of species and habitat in perpetuity for future generations. It speaks to the longstanding commitment of First Nations to sustainability.
First Nations Engagement
FBC’s partnership programs have emphasized meaningful engagement with First Nations. These include, for example, Smart Planning for Communities, Remote Community Implementation (clean energy solutions), and Fraser Salmon and Watersheds.
In the regions, FBC works on a variety of partnership projects. We have, for example, facilitated First Nations meetings on economic development planning (Fraser Valley and Thompson), hosted Aboriginal economic development forums (Cariboo) and coordinated Aboriginal youth projects on watersheds and air quality (Upper Fraser).
When it comes to building strong, respectful relations between Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal people, leaders play an important role.
Community to Community (C2C) Forums are a joint initiative of the Union of BC Municipalities and First Nations Summit. In a forum, First Nations and local governments meet to discuss common goals and opportunities for joint action. On several occasions, FBC staff have been asked to facilitate the forums or host other similar dialogues — an opportunity we welcome.
We also sometimes work with regional and municipal governments to help develop a better understanding of First Nations and good working relationships.
Bridge Between Nations
Bridge Between Nations is a popular FBC publication that focuses on First Nations of the Fraser Basin — with an overview on history, language and culture, and key events that have shaped Aboriginal/Non-Aboriginal relations.
Updated and reprinted by FBC in 2013 — thanks to financial support from Simon Fraser University — Bridge Between Nations is available here in electronic form and in bulk print quantities for classroom and other educational use. Please contact the to enquire.
Ways to Learn
Are you interested in building bridges, in forging stronger relationships? Consider opportunities for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities to come together where you live and work. That might include planning a local celebration or dialogue, or taking part in Aboriginal cultural tours and activities. If you are a local government or First Nations leader, it may mean participating in a Community to Community forum or similar event.
Here are a few places to visit online to learn more: