Thursday, May 13, 2010

Podunk Below the Masthead (Wednesday, May 12, 2010)

The Nisga'a treaty celebrates year number 10, the city attempts to clarify some of the developments at Watson Island and councillor Ashley offers up a thought for more consultation with local residents, some of the items of interest for Wednesday.

Daily News, front page, headline story
TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE NISGA'A TREATY CELEBRATED -- A look at the events to commemorate the signing of the Nisga'a treaty on May 10, 2000. The front page article outlines some of the changes since the treaty signing and what is yet to come under the treaty.

The annual relay for life is almost here, with the final planning taking place for the June 19th event at the PRSS field.

Councillor Anna Ashley has put forward a plan to seek more consultation with local residents for those items of major concern, with crime, vandalism  and downtown revitalization among others. The move by council to hear more from the public comes in the wake of some high profile criticism of council over the last few weeks.

The Sports section featured a look at Dragon boats and girls high school soccer.

(Daily News Archive Items for Wednesday May 12)

Tenth Anniversary of the Nisga'a Treaty Celebrated
Relay for Life picking up momentum
Ashley suggests greater community input
Another tragedy for the McLean clan
Get out migration - cause for a walk

The Northern View
City clarifies Watson Island maintenance spending, surplus remains uncollected-- The Northern View attempts to clear up some of the confusion regarding the funding of maintenance requirements at the Watson Island pulp mill site (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News
Arson update-- CFTK TV outlines the latest developments in the Epicurean apartment fire, the 18 year old Terrace man charged with a number of  arson related charges was released on 10,000 dollar bail on Wednesday. (see article here)

CBC News British Columbia, Daybreak North
Daybreak North is only posting selected items on their website now.

The most recently posted items can be found on the archive page for Daybreak North click here

Daily News, front page headline story 
Tenth anniversary of the Nisga’a Treaty celebrated 
By George T. Baker 
Staff Writer
Daily News
Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Stunning weather matched by first-rate scenery and hundreds of well-wishers marked the 10th anniversary of the Nisga’a Final Agreement in New Aiyansh yesterday

It was on May 10, 2000 that the Nisga’a Lisms Government, along with the provincial and federal governments signed the NFA and ended the 113 year-journey towards self-government and land rights.

“We have created a strong social foundation and an open business environment. A land that is secured,” said Nisga’a President Mitchell Stevens.

The agreement is no small compromise. It was the first modern deal brokered between senior government and a B.C. First Nations and set the precedence for other treaties such as the one brokered in Tswwassen.

The deal was momentous for a people who had wanted control over their territory since 1881, when a group of Nisga’a leaders paddled from the Nass Valley to the legislature in Victoria to ask for an agreement. They were turned away by the government of the day.

Now, the ‘government of the day’ was making speeches and exchanging gifts, a far more positive relationship according to Lt. Gov. Steven Point, who was joined by provincial Minister for Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation George Abbott and Indian and Northern Affairs Deputy Minister Michel Roy.

 “Ten years ago, there were many non-Nisga’a who harboured doubt and believed that it was doomed to fail,” said Point. “Today you have proved them wrong.”

Among the many changes, perhaps the most personal is the way that Nisga’a can now own and sell land to whomever they choose.

Through the Nisga’a Landholding Transition Act, passed last October in the Nisga’a Lisims Government parliament, Nisga’a citizens are granted the opportunity to own their residential property in fee simple.

But with fee simple comes property taxes, and for some that has caused a bit of unease.

Gerald Robinson, the Deputy Chief Councillor for New Aiyansh, told the Daily News that locals living in the Nass Valley who’ve never lived outside the communities are having an adjustment period. By losing their status and housing rights under INAC, they must now deal with property assessors and prepare to pay personal income tax by 2013.

 “There is a risk that we will start losing our band administration professionals to other First Nations communities that have not signed onto a treaty,” explained Robinson. “But we need to stay on top of everything. We must keep the elders and youth involved. Elders have the knowledge and youth, they have the future outlook.”

 Youth was a significant theme throughout the day.

 Special mention was made of the Treaty Babies, the children born since 2000 and who have never known life under the Indian Act.

 “I hope when they grow older, they’ll forgive us,” said Nisga’a Lisms executive Chair Kevin McKay. “But they are our baby boomers. And the treaty is their whole life.”

The Treaty Babies then serenaded the gathering with an ‘O Canada’ sung completely in the Nisga’a language.

One Nisga’a teenager from Greenville, who was barely old enough to remember the treaty signing, said that things are slowly improving in the community. And he hoped locals made the effort to see those days through.

 “It’s our land. I don’t know, how we can ditch it?” said Steven Morgan.

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