Douglas First Nation members overwhelming voted to end their community’s participation in the In-SHUCK-ch treaty process. The referendum was held because “Our council was instructed by our members to ensure that Douglas First Nation’s interests were protected in the Final Agreement,” said Chief Don Harris. “Given the level of uncertainty around the protection of our interests, we felt that the Douglas members should determine whether or not we continued to participate in the treaty process.”
In-SHUCK-ch, Canada and British Columbia are close to initialling the In-SHUCK-ch Final Agreement which will be ratified by In-SHUCK-ch eligible voters later this year. While there are 931 members in the three First Nations – Douglas, Skatin, and Samahquam, to be eligible to vote on the ratification of a Final Agreement you must be enrolled as an In-SHUCK-ch citizen. “Many Douglas members believe that a separate vote of our band members is required to deal with band assets, businesses and structures” said Chief Don Harris.
Douglas First Nation partnered with Cloudworks Energy to develop six run-of-river independent power projects within Douglas traditional territory providing significant current and future benefits to the band without limiting the nature and scope of Aboriginal title. “We believe in ‘power to the people’ including the power to change our future through economic and political means” said Darryl Peters, Douglas First Nation Business Development Manager. “And, we are able to have members participate in those decisions respectfully.” In-SHUCK-ch rejected resource revenue sharing with the Province of BC in favour of a capital transfer which will severely limit future economic benefits to Douglas.
Douglas members will consider their future political course through community meetings planned for March including their ongoing participation with the St’at’imc Chiefs Council, a traditional forum for leaders of the 11 St’at’imc bands.
The In-SHUCK-ch treaty process was undertaken by a society formed for the purpose of treaty negotiations. The In-SHUCK-ch Nation Agreement in Principle was signed on August 25, 2007 after a vote of In-SHUCk-ch members.