The Xeni Gwet’in First Nation and B.C. Conservation Officer Service took part in an official signing ceremony Wednesday in Nemiah Valley to promote the sustainability of wildlife through a memorandum of understanding.
Chief Jimmy Lulua says since winning Title Land in 2014, they’ve also inherited everything that comes with it.
“You become your own government and enforcement is only thing from-you have to enforce your own laws, policies, and procedures,” he said.
“The best thing to do is have a relationship with your neighbor, and RCMP, Ambulance Service, COS, Natural Resources because those are things you deal with when you own land.”
The MOU which came into effect in August 2018 promotes collaboration on the management, protection, and stewardship of natural resources, fish and wildlife in its traditional territory, according to Xeni Gwet’in First Nation, provincial and federal laws.
It also according to a joint news release promotes communication and collaboration between the COS and the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation, allowing for joint enforcement with the Tsilhqot’in Title Land Rangers. This includes enforcing communal restrictions, which prohibit the harvesting of cow moose for Xeni Gwet’in membership in its traditional territories.
“It’s been a long time coming. March first of this year I just stepped into a new role, and I don’t think there has been stuff like this put in place beforehand,” Lulula said.
“It’s been an exciting year and there has a been a lot of stuff happening on Title Land-we had the Prime Minister here to sign some government documents with us to transferring of governments which is one piece of it. This is a new ground that no First Nation has ever walked before so this makes it really exciting work; not to say that everything is going to be perfect but at least it’s a start.”
“I told them at the ceremony today [Wednesay] that it’s like a new relationship; when you’re a teenager you go through the honeymoon stage, but at the end of the day you will have conflict but of will be able to work it out so this is the first step.”