BURNS LAKE, BC, Sept. 19, 2023 /CNW/ - Yesterday, Lake Babine Nation marked the three-year anniversary of the signing of the Lake Babine Foundation Agreement with the Governments of British Columbia and Canada. This reconciliation agreement, best described as a roadmap consisting of milestones in key topic areas, establishes a clear set of commitments by Lake Babine and the provincial and federal governments to better the lives of Indigenous peoples within the Lake Babine Territory and support the nation in its healing from the impacts of colonialism.
This roadmap includes commitments to support Lake Babine's self-governance; collaboratively negotiate the implementation of Lake Babine's Aboriginal title and rights; and build stronger government-to-government relationships, including through shared decision-making processes in the natural resource sector. In addition, British Columbia is returning 20,000 hectares of Crown land to lake Babine as initial land transfers, and it has provided significant capacity funding for the first five years of the Agreement, a Forest Activity Fund, and an Economic Development Fund.
In the three years since signing of the Agreement, Lake Babine and British Columbia have made good progress toward achieving initial Foundation Agreement milestones. Chief Murphy of Lake Babine Nation said: "We are extremely appreciative of Province's commitment to reconciliation through the Foundation Agreement. The Government of BC made significant financial and land commitments three years ago and is delivering on those. Our governments are building respectful working relationships when it comes to land and resource management within Lake Babine Territory. Our Nation is bringing forward its policies, values, and decisions for stewarding the yintah (our Territory and all the natural resources it sustains) to provincial decision-makers, who are supporting our work and decisions."
In 2020, the Government of Canada committed to contribute to the initial phase of the Foundation Agreement as soon as possible. In April 2023, Canada offered $50 million as an initial contribution. Lake Babine Nation is appreciative of the Government of Canada's ongoing efforts to deliver implementation funding for the Agreement. "We still have a long road ahead to fully implement our title and rights, and although the federal process has been slower than British Columbia's, we look forward to Canada releasing the $50 million in the coming months ? this is a good start," said Chief Murphy.
The work has started but there is much still to do, and it will take continued partnership and fulfilled commitments to ensure Lake Babine Nation is able to move forward in rebuilding and recovering from the impacts of colonialism, implementing its rights, and creating prosperity for the Nation. Lake Babine Nation looks forward to continued collaboration with, and support from, both the Government of British Columbia and the Government of Canada as all three governments walk the path toward reconciliation together.
SOURCE Lake Babine Nation