Banff Symposium 2012“Wise Practices in Indigenous Community Development Symposium” Banff Centre September 13th -15th 2012
In the past, the lack of appropriategovernment, jurisdiction andinfrastructure limited Westbank’spotential. Today this is not thecase.
The Westbank Vision• Through self-government Westbank First Nation (“WFN”) will recognize and honour its history, culture and connection to its lands and create a stable, accountable government to support social and economic development.
WFN GovernmentChief Robert Louie and members of the governing body
Some Statistics• Number of Reserves 5• Acreage of Westbank Lands 6,000• Total Westbank Membership 680• Non-Member Residents 10,000• Businesses on-reserve 300 +• Council - four Councillors, one Chief• Advisory Council – five elected by wards• Budget $40+million• Number of Employees 200 +• 1 of 7 communities of the Okanagan Nation
Property Assessments 1991 - 2010 1,200,000 1,000,000 800,000Thousands Recreation 600,000 Business/ Other Light Industry Utilities 400,000 200,000 -
The Situation Under the Indian Act• Before self-government Westbank First Nation was governed under the Indian Act which was not an appropriate framework for modern First Nation governance.• Jurisdiction under the Indian Act was delegated and limited.• There was not sufficient financial and political accountability to Westbank membership.• Westbank could not achieve its full potential nor realize its vision.
The Path to Self- Government• Okanagans were self-governing before colonization and imposition of the Indian Act in 1876.• The Royal Proclamation of 1763 ensures that the nations or tribes of Indians would not be molested or disturbed.• 1871 - BC joins Confederation – aboriginal rights were not adequately addressed.• Imposition of the federal Indian Act in 1876 – establishes ‘Indians’ as wards of the State.
The Path to Self- Government• 1963 – Westbank separates from Okanagan Indian Band (Vernon).• 1970s – WFN begins to explore options for self-government along with other progressive First Nations in BC.• 1982 – Section 35 of the Canadian Constitution Act recognizes and affirms Aboriginal and treaty rights• 1988 – the ‘Hall Inquiry’ identifies problems with the way Westbank is governed and recommends changes including self-government.
The Path to Self- Government• WFN began governing its lands under delegated authority in the early 1970’s (lands management and section 81 of the Indian Act bylaws)• WFN began collecting property taxes in 1991 (under amended section 83 of the Indian Act)• WFN passed a Land Code pursuant to the First Nations Land Management Act and Implemented local land management on July 1st 2003.• WFN negotiated a self-government Agreement with Canada that was ratified and came into force on April 1st 2005 under the Westbank First Nation Self- government Act.• WFN Self-Government Agreement implements self- government based on recognition that the inherent right of self-government is an existing aboriginal right within section 35 Constitution Act 1982
Self-Government Authority Self-Government Agreement (with Canada) Implementation Financial Plan Transfer AgreementWestbank First Nation Canada WFN Self- Constitution Government Act Westbank Laws Westbank Land Policies Registry Regulations
The WFN Self-Government Agreement• Acknowledges there is an aboriginal or inherent right to self-government reflects a government –to- government relationship between WFN and Canada.• Bilateral with Canada.• Sets out the relationship between Westbank, federal and provincial laws. In some cases of conflict Westbank Law is paramount, in other situations federal law prevails.• SG is applies to existing Westbank Lands or future lands.• Westbank Lands remain federal reserve lands under s.91(24) of the Constitution Act.• Third party interests in Westbank Lands are protected. Existing Certificates of Possession, Leases and other interests in WFN Lands continue under their terms and conditions.
The WFN Self-Government Agreement• Non-derogation clauses protect aboriginal rights of WFN and Okanagan Nation. WFN may participate in other processes to implement self-government.• Fiduciary relationship between Canada and WFN continues.• WFN members continue to be entitled to rights and benefits as aboriginal peoples and Canadians.• WFN can “draw down” jurisdiction at its own pace.• Identifies additional jurisdiction areas for further negotiation.• Includes principles for financial transfer agreement.
The WFN Self-Government Agreement• Charter of Rights and Freedoms applies to WFN government with due regard to section 25 of the Charter.• WFN Constitution ensures open, accountable and transparent government. The Constitution comes into effect with Self-Government.• Non-members living on Westbank Lands or having an interest in Westbank Lands will be provided in Westbank Law with mechanisms to have input into Westbank Laws that directly and significantly affect them.• Canada’s liability for past wrongs continues and there are mutual indemnification clauses.
WFN Jurisdiction1. Westbank First Nation 10. Westbank Education* Membership* 11. Westbank Health2. Wills and Estates* Services*3. Financial Management 12. Enforcement of Westbank Laws4. Westbank Lands and Land Management 13. Licensing, Regulation and Operation of Businesses5. Landlord and Tenant 14. Traffic and Transportation6. Resource Management 15. Public Works, Community7. Agriculture Infrastructure and Local Services8. Westbank Environment 16. Public Order, Peace and9. Culture and Language* Safety 17. Prohibition of Intoxicants *only apply to WFN members
WFN Constitution• Developed by community working group (“CWG”) of WFN members (10-15 members). Most families were represented. There were no Members of Council on the CWG.• CWG was not paid for their time.• Sets out WFN governance rules and provisions for membership, land management and financial administration. Identifies requirement for additional detailed WFN Laws in specific areas.• CWG met most Wednesdays for 6 months to develop the Constitution. As the time to vote drew nearer the meetings became more frequent and longer.
Community Planning• Since Self-government the Members have created and ratified a Comprehensive Community Plan that guides growth, development, resource management and community planning within the reserve lands and traditional territory of WFN.• The comprehensive community development process ensures that WFN Members have an ongoing opportunity to provide input into processes that impact them.• The planning process is holistic where the process is steered by the community rather than consultants.• The Comprehensive Community Plan links all other WFN planning tools which include: • The Westbank First Nation Self-Government Agreement; • The Westbank First Nation Self-Government Implementation Plan; • The Westbank First Nation Constitution; • The Westbank First Nation Land Use Plan; and • The Westbank First Nation Government Strategic Plan
WFN Health and Wellness Centre – Supporting our Members