Message from the Chair of the NSTC Board of Directors
Helen Henderson- Tsq’ēsceń
This past year has been an incredible year of transformation throughout all of NStQ and at the NSTC office. It has been a great opportunity to learn from those in past leadership positions and to bring fresh perspectives to our initiatives and programs moving forward.
NStQ had three Band elections which resulted in new Chiefs and Councillors at T’ēxelc (Williams Lake), Tsq’ ēsceń (Canim Lake), and Xatśūll-Cmetem’ (Soda Creek/Deep Creek). We have new voices in leadership, power through NStQ as a collective, and a strong position at the Treaty table.
The signing of the Agreement in Principle (AiP) at Tsq’ ēsceń in July of 2018 was an historic event. Now, in the last stage of the Treaty process, we look to negotiate with strength and collaboration to protect our inherent rights, lands, and people.
We celebrate the budget announcement by the federal Liberals to eliminate treaty negotiation loans, the monies that would have gone into paying back loans can now go towards support for NStQ children and families, education, housing and otherwise improving the lives of our community members. The importance of this measure can not be overstated.
The Northern Shuswap Tribal Council offices have seen many positions embraced by new staff, eager to diligently continue the work of an effective Tribal Council. New positions have been created in order to meet the needs of our membership, and prepare for full jurisdiction over essential parts of NStQ.
This past year’s National Indigenous Peoples’ Day event in Boitanio Park and in Tsq’ēsceń was yet again, the best attended ever. At Boitanio, over one thousand people came out to celebrate First Nations culture, language, and food, with an overarching theme of ‘unity.’ A parade, music, hoop dancing, drumming, vendors and of course a bannock making competition, contributed to make the event incredibly successful. And as always, I will be celebrating in Tsq’ēsceń with my community this year, and hope to see everyone attend.
While we still have a lot of work to do, we are poised to be successful, to continue negotiations, implement our inherent rights, and ensure we strive for what is in the best interests of our communities and membership.