Good Evening Senators:
My name is Michelle Miller. I am from the Crow Clan and come from a small community in Northeast BC called Lower Post.
I would like to thank you for allowing my colleague and I the opportunity to present to you some initiatives and projects the Kaska are excited about, as I believe they are an accurate picture of how we see the future of our traditional territory and that of our communities.
I will now provide you with a brief presentation on another initiative that the Kaska have had honoured to participate in.
This initiative is a powerful example of Nation to Nation collaboration and partnerships with public governments.
It consists of 3 Nations, the Kaska, Tahltan and Tlingit in Northern BC and is represented by 6 communities.
As you are aware, concerns for our children’s future is shared among all First Nations across the country.
So, community conversations on how to protect our children in our 3 Nations led to what is now known as the Stikine Wholistic Working Group or SWWG. The SWWG started as a partnership with the Province of BC.
The communities took an approach of the ‘child in the centre’ and made the conscious decision to spell Holistic with a ‘W’ in the front because they knew our communities had to take a whole approach to protecting our children.
The success of this innovative initiative is due to the community driven approach, it was created by the communities as they knew best how to create culturally relevant programs and services to protect our children and families.
This partnership has since snowballed into a 3 Nations Society with its own governance structure that is now actively working on other areas such as education, wildlife and healing programmes among others.
For me personally this has been the most rewarding work that I have had the honour to participate in.
To see how the 7 leaders of the Kaska, Tahltan and Tlingit Nations work collectively in partnerships with both the Provincial and Federal government is an example of true innovation and leadership in changing the dialogue of First Nations in BC and fulfilling our vision which says, “Our Northern Homelands are culturally vibrant, economically stable and socially connected.”
Senators that is the statement of how we see our future!
We have a number of reports and evaluations (I would be glad to provide you with a set) that show our success which garnered the attention of Minister Philpot and was followed by an invitation to present our work here in Ottawa in January of this year.
More recently we have been nominated for the Premier’s Award promoting innovation and excellence.
And Senators, it’s the worst kept secret because we know we are going to win!