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Island First Nation collaborating with province on reconciliation efforts

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation signs hisiikcumyin pathway agreement with provincial government
Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation master carver Joe David gifted this totem pole to the District of Tofino in 2018 to recognize the community’s presence within the First Nation’s traditional territory. (Westerly file photo)

The Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation has signed a new agreement with the provincial government that both parties hope will create a pathway through future reconciliation negotiations.

“The signing of this important document represents 19 years of discussions,” Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chief Moses Martin said through an Oct. 14 statement announcing the agreement. “We are pleased that we are finally moving forward on the path of reconciliation.”

The announcement explains that the hisiikcumyin pathway agreement will be focused around economic diversification and community-based job creation, tribal park stewardship, shared management and collaboration of portions of Meares Island and Opitsaht, language preservation and revitalization and the Tla-o-qui-aht Land Vision.

“Hisiikcumyin (pronounced [his-SEEK-to-me-un]) is a Tla-o-qui-aht phrase that translates as ‘the way we should go,’” the announcement states. “The name of the agreement underscores the partnership the Province and the Nation are committing to in order to move forward together on matters vital to a prosperous future for both B.C. and Tla-o-qui-aht.”

Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Murray Rankin touted the new agreement as “a crucial guide on our shared journey to reconciliation,” adding that collaboration will be paramount to its success.

“Our work together must live up to the name of the agreement, that we will work together,” Rankin said. “We will work side by side on matters like economic development and environmental protection – items vital to the Nation and everyone in the region.”

The announcement suggests the agreement will provide a baseline for future agreements.

“This framework of priorities will help create a foundation for collaboratively developing economic and conservation-oriented opportunities that benefit the Tla-o-qui-aht people and the other communities on the west coast of Vancouver Island,” it reads. “The hisiikcumyin agreement also lays a foundation for B.C. and Tla-o-qui-aht to open discussions with Canada to negotiate a tripartite agreement implementing Tla-o-qui-aht title, rights and self-government.”

The Tla-o-qui-aht Nation is a member of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council and has about 1,200 members on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

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Andrew Bailey

About the Author: Andrew Bailey

I arrived at the Westerly News as a reporter and photographer in January 2012.
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