Message to St’át’imc:
It’s been a couple months since our last update, and I would like to talk to the people about what’s been happening since the signing of the agreements in April 2011. First, I would like to take this opportunity to, once again, thank the people for making this agreement a reality. There are many complex tasks to be finalized, and I want to assure everyone that we are continually working at it and will remain transparent in our process.
I would like to say a big thank you to all the communities. As of July 27th, 2011, all community trustees have been appointed. Now that we’ve reached this critical milestone, implementations of the agreement can finally move forward.
Since the signing of the agreements, the SCC has been very busy and has conquered some big challenges along the way. Several appeals were filed challenging the ratification vote. The Ratification Committee rendered its decision on the appeals on May 3rd, 2011 and found that no violation of the voting procedures occurred during the ratification vote. On May 10th, 2011 the St’át’imc were served with notice of a court application seeking, among other things, an injunction preventing the St’át’imc and BC Hydro from implementing the settlement agreements. After having heard the arguments of all parties, the Court ruled in favour of the SCC on all points and specifically, the Judge found that the public interest clearly weighed in favour of this “historic achievement” being implemented in line with the democratically expressed wishes of the people. The Judge also stated, “I am satisfied that there was a clear mandate for the St’át’imc Chiefs Council to act by signing the Agreements.”
Furthermore, internal agreements between our communities are being discussed at the SCC meeting, and will indicate how we are going to work together so things can move forward smoothly. The 60-day $1-million signing bonus has been finalized and distributed to each community, along with other revenues per their respective community agreements. Some communities have chosen to distribute a portion of the signing bonus to their members.
In my last update, I mentioned implementing our transition from an organization to a St’át’imc Government. Since then, we have adopted the term St’át’imc Government House (SGH), which will be charged with implementing the agreements. It’s called a “Government” because this is the term other governments recognize and understand, and that’s our purpose behind it. We need to move up to that level in order to honour the Declaration of the Lillooet Tribe and show we are still the rightful owners of our territory who never extinguished any rights. It’s also been termed “House” because we are all considered family, working and living together in the same house.
As of July 26th, 2011 the Chiefs officially adopted the St’át’imc Government House (SGH), SCC and Secretariat (SCCS), St’át’imc Government Services (SGS) and the St’át’imc Holding Company (SHC). These three entities are all under the umbrella of the SGH and will be working together on mandates and responsibilities for each area. Working on this doesn’t mean we will hold off on the agenda for immediate government-to-government talks, such as mining, forestry, roads, etc. These will be developed simultaneously as we work on the SGH.
There has been a lot of talk in the communities about when members will start to see direct benefits from these agreements, and I want to assure you that members can expect to see employment and financial benefits once we get our community trustees appointed. There have also been discussions around direct award contracts, and these will realistically be implemented in April 2012. There is a lot of coordination that needs to get done, but we are moving forward and ask for your patience and understanding as we move these implementations along.
There is a tremendous amount of work to do so the people have a Government House that is transparent and built from the people up. Presently, we’re looking at maintaining a partnership with CopperMoon with respect to communications. We ask the people for their patience and participation while we develop the SGH and we’ll definitely be reporting to the communities on our progress, as this will all be part of the communications plan. If any community wants me to attend one of their meetings, it’s my responsibility as the Chair, and with sufficient notice I’ll be there.
I continue to encourage everyone to get involved as we move this process forward. If you have any questions, my contact information is always available. My personal email is email@example.com, or you can find our office contact here: http://www.statimchydro.ca/about-us/contact-us
Thank you for your continued support. All my relations,
Kūkwpi7 Mike Leach, SCC Chair