Premier Christy Clark says British Columbia’s First Nations must become the driving force in reconciliation talks with the government.
Clark and members of her cabinet have been meeting in Vancouver with about 500 First Nations leaders who have been buoyed by a Supreme Court of Canada victory on land rights in central BC.
The leaders want more say and revenue sharing on proposed resource projects on land they consider their territory.
They have now approved a reconciliation document that’s viewed as a road map for future economic, social and legal relations.
Clark says she wants First Nations’ communities to share their unique visions of reconciliation during ongoing talks with her government over the next year.
She pledged to hold talks in the coming months on aboriginal children’s issues and vowed to ensure the federal government will send representatives to next year’s chiefs’ gathering.
Clark adds that job creation for First Nations communities is the best way to alleviate poverty, and the money created in local communities benefits the province as a whole.
First Nations Summit Grand Chief Ed John says reconciliation issues can’t be solved after two days of talks and the road ahead may be bumpy, but all sides are willing to build a path forward.