British Columbia NationTalk

Sacred and Strong – Report on the Health of First Nations Women and Girls Tells Stories of Strength, Resilience

Jul 28, 2021

​The partnership between the First Nations Health Authority and the Provincial Health Officer takes a different approach to reporting on the health and wellness of First Nations women and girls.​

Sacred and Strong: Upholding our Matriarchal Roles carries the voices of over 120 women who have shared their stories and lived experiences to represent, create a connection with and speak as the First Nations women and girls behind the data. From the specially created artwork on the cover, to the photographs and quotes included within, this is no ordinary report.

Grounded in First Nations perspectives of wholistic wellness, the collaboration behind this important work aims to celebrate the many ways that First Nations women and girls in BC are flourishing, and to bring light to where systemic barriers continue to negatively impact their health and self-determination.

Read the letter from Dr. Shannon McDonald, FNHA’s Acting Chief Medical Officer, and Drs. Bonnie Henry and Daniele Behn Smith from the Office of the Provincial Health Officer:

​Visit url (​) for highlights and to view the full report.​

Read More:


Wildfires, Logging, and Climate Change Jeopardize Old Growth: UBCIC Advances Protect Our Elder Trees Declaration

July 28, 2021

((Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil Waututh/ Vancouver, B.C. – July 28, 2021) The Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) is calling on the provincial government for immediate action and meaningful engagement with First Nations to protect old-growth forests that, having been pushed to the brink of extinction by years of over-logging and systemic mismanagement, now risk further irreparable destruction as intense wildfires rage across the province.

Recognizing that a colonial legacy of resource extraction and the violation of First Nations’ free, prior, and informed consent has critically endangered old growth forests and undermined Indigenous Title and Rights, UBCIC continues to fight for the changes needed to protect our disappearing giants. In the face of escalating aggressive wildfires that have led to a provincial state of emergency, by Resolution 2021-38, UBCIC has advanced and endorsed a critical guiding document – the Protect Our Elder Trees Declaration. Developed by First Nation chiefs and UBCIC members, this Declaration affirms support for the implementation of the Old Growth Strategic Review Panel’s recommendations and advances a First Nations approach to old growth management that is guided by ancestral laws, responsibilities, and upholding Title and Rights.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, UBCIC President, stated “As we go deeper into a deadly and aggressive wildfire season, it is imperative the provincial government takes rapid action to protect old growth. We’ve heard the commitments, but where is the action? The Protect Our Elder Trees Declaration describes the critical relationship First Nations have with old growth forests and strengthens a sustainable, First Nations-led approach to old growth conservation that supports our ancestral laws and responsibilities. UBCIC encourages all First Nations in the province to review, adapt, and adopt the Declaration so that we may work collectively to transform an outdated forestry system that continues to deprive First Nations of their consent and leave them the most at-risk and contentious areas for logging. If this government is serious about protecting old growth they must stop the chainsaws now to maintain all options and begin the process of working with First Nations on support for permanent protection. This opt in strategy the government is currently pursuing for deferrals is too slow and is resulting in critical old growth being logged without the consent of First Nations. The government should instead pursue a province-wide deferral and an opt into permanent protection option for discussions with First Nations. ”

“Recent reports and maps released by researchers verify a disturbing reality we are fighting to correct: there is only a small fraction of the original big-treed old growth forests remaining and current logging deferrals, which were enacted in September 2021, have done nothing to protect the most at-risk old growth areas. These areas are now further imperiled by the wildfires which have burned more than 360,000 hectares in B.C. since April 1st of this year ” stated Chief Don Tom, Vice-President. “Now more than ever, do we need the Protect Our Elder Trees Declaration and a strong, unified approach to old growth and forest management. Over the past few months, tensions have risen between First Nation members and activists, and we have seen on the ground conflict over old growth exacerbate and reinforce harmful divisions within communities. The Province must do a full assessment of its annual allowable harvest and have a frank consideration of changing forestry practices immediately. They need to create a system that ensures First Nations will have their elder trees, such as the big cedars we have enjoyed and carved since time immemorial, for generations to come.”

“Our elder trees are vital for the health and future survival of our forests – their survival ensures we will have forests that are not only capable of sustaining the cultural needs and livelihood of Indigenous peoples but are more resilient to wildfires and climate change,” stated Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, Secretary-Treasurer of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. “As we transition into a period in which extreme wildfires are becoming norm as a result of climate change, and in which logging and post-logging practices have created more uniform landscapes that are more susceptible to severe fires, the protection of old growth will be integral. Large, thick barked old growth trees are more resilient to wildfires and help create biodiverse landscapes that are more resistant to burning. These forests also hold some of the highest carbon stores of any on the planet – and harvesting releases the vast majority of that carbon immediately, something the planet cannot afford. We urge the Province to take immediate action to defer logging in remaining at-risk old growth forests as defined by the Old Growth Strategic Review panel in their April 30, 2020 report. We need ecological restoration, not logging in these forests. If it is not possible to identify these at-risk areas immediately, then all old forest should be deferred from harvest for an interim period so that irreplaceable opportunities are not lost.”

Enclosed: Resolution 2021-38 “Support for the Protect Our Elder Trees Declaration”
Protect Our Elder Trees Declaration


Media inquiries:

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President, 250-490-5314
Chief Don Tom, Vice-President, 250-813-3315
Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, Secretary-Treasurer, c/o 604-778-866-0548

UBCIC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. For more information, please visit


BC Government: Tripartite MOU paves the way for future agreements

July 28, 2021

SNUNEYMUXW TERRITORY – Snuneymuxw First Nation, the Government of B.C. and Canada celebrated continued progress in their relationship with a new tripartite memorandum of understanding (MOU).

Snuneymuxw First Nation Chief Mike Wyse; Murray Rankin, B.C.’s Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation; and Carolyn Bennett, federal Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations; signed the new MOU during a virtual meeting to advance meaningful reconciliation.

This MOU brings all parties together, building on the existing but independent relationships Canada and B.C. have with Snuneymuxw First Nation.

Snuneymuxw and Canada signed a Letter of Understanding in August 2019 that established a framework for advancing reconciliation and the recognition of Snuneymuxw’s rights. The parties continue to work toward the transfer of the former Camp Nanaimo property.

Snuneymuxw and B.C. signed two framework agreements in September 2020, creating a shared vision for advancing reconciliation and transferring a package of Crown land to Snuneymuxw. Both 2020 agreements build on a 2013 reconciliation agreement. All three B.C. – Snuneymuxw agreements recognized the role Canada has in furthering future negotiations and ongoing collaborative discussions.

The new, tripartite MOU is an important next step that formalizes a new negotiations table between the federal, provincial and Snuneymuxw governments, and sets out priority items for resolution, such as the implementation of the 1854 Treaty and near-term land reconciliation.

This MOU demonstrates the commitment of both levels of government toward implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and its role as the framework for implementation of Indigenous rights. This demonstrates a shift toward stronger processes based on recognition of rights, respect and mutual support.

This agreement comes at a time when many Nations are dealing with myriad issues, including the ongoing impact of the residential school system and the social and cultural impacts related to development. For many, these painful legacies place a great burden on the community. Agreements such as this can create an opportunity to address the historical impacts of colonialism through the return of traditional lands and a strengthening of Indigenous-led stewardship and protection of traditional territories and marine areas.


Chief Mike Wyse, Snuneymuxw First Nation –

“Getting to this day has been a long journey for our chiefs and leaders, many of whom are no longer with us to witness this day. I acknowledge them, and our Council pays respect to our Elders and all of our ancestors for what they endured, their strength and wisdom to protect our language, culture and sacred ways of life. Snuneymuxw people have survived difficult times, and we are focused on recovering our traditional territories and marine areas, and protecting them for the future.

“Snuneymuxw is encouraged by the conclusion of this agreement with Canada and British Columbia. It is historic and path-breaking in that it provides acknowledgment and a way forward to address historical issues pertaining to our traditional territories and impacts to our rights and practices. We now feel governments will be paddling the same path with us to uphold the Treaty and ensure it is implemented as intended.”

Carolyn Bennett, federal Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations –

“Supporting Indigenous nations in fulfilling their vision of self-determination is critical to advancing reconciliation and transforming relationships. Congratulations and thank you to Chief Mike Wyse and the Snuneymuxw First Nation on your dedication, leadership and determination. By signing this memorandum of understanding today, we are reaching a significant milestone that advances our nation-to-nation relationship. We will continue to work in partnership with Indigenous communities in British Columbia to move forward on their priorities and to accelerate their path to self-determination.”

Murray Rankin, B.C.’s Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation –

“This memorandum of understanding is a strong example of how Snuneymuxw, Canada and the Province are working collaboratively to support reconciliation and resolve long-standing and often challenging issues. I’m excited for the future agreements that will come as we follow this path together.”

Sheila Malcolmson, MLA for Nanaimo –

“Snuneymuxw First Nation continues to advance relationships in our region, based on mutual respect, which I’ve been honoured to witness. Today’s memorandum of understanding will guide negotiations between B.C., Snuneymuxw and Canada going forward. This is another important step for everyone who lives on these lands.”

Quick Facts:

  • The Snuneymuxw First Nation is a large Coast Salish, Hul’q’umi’num-speaking Nation with traditional territory and marine areas in the mid-Vancouver Island, Nanaimo estuary, Gulf Islands, and lower Fraser areas of British Columbia.
  • Snuneymuxw First Nation leaders entered into a Treaty with Sir James Douglas in 1854, which the Supreme Court of Canada has recognized as a valid and binding Treaty between the Nation and the Crown.
  • Snuneymuxw has more than 1,700 members and six reserves covering 266 hectares, and its land base is a small fraction of their traditional territories and marine areas. The Nation is pursuing a series of specific land claims, which have been accepted for negotiation or require resolution to advance meaningful reconciliation.
  • Snuneymuxw traditional territory was taken for use as an Indian Hospital, and the members of the Nation continue to be impacted by residential schools and other colonial policies.

Learn More:

Snuneymuxw First Nation:

Canada and Snuneymuxw First Nation Letter of Understanding (2019):

B.C. and Snuneymuxw agreements:


Stephen Binder
Senior Public Affairs Officer
Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation
778 677-2174

Gillian Hanson
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations
819 997-0002

Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada
Media Relations
[email protected]
819 934-2302

Connect with the Province of B.C. at:


Two-Eyed Seeing Network Sets Out To Redefine Workforce Development for Indigenous Youth

VICTORIA (July 27, 2021) – A new partnership, led by the Construction Foundation of BC, seeks to build dialogue and develop innovative solutions around the future of skills and training with Indigenous youth and their community leaders.

Beginning this summer, the Two Eyed Seeing Network will host a series of focus groups to seek guidance and input from First Nations communities and youth across the province to help design the Network and gather promising practices around workforce development, including what those that have had the greatest positive impact on youth in their communities.

“Indigenous youth are vital to our future workforce,” shared Abigail Fulton, Executive Director of the Construction Foundation of BC. “The Two Eyed Seeing Network will engage First Nations youth now to ensure their voices have been included  in the collective mapping of our future careers.”

Over the next two years, the Network will conduct a series of round tables sessions across the province to explore the past, present and future of workforce development in British Columbia. To guide the process, Network partners will use a ‘Two-Eyed Seeing’ approach using both a Western and an Indigenous lens – blending new technologies, standards, and practices in a manner that honours the whole person and their relationship with the land and with others.

“The Two Eyed Seeing Network will bring First Nations communities and youth together with industry leaders and education providers to co-create a new pathway to ensure Indigenous youth are successful in their pursuit of future careers,” shared Two Eyed Seeing Consulting CCC Inc owner, Dean Heron. “There are new career opportunities on the horizon in clean technology; clean energy; natural resource extraction and processing; marine shipping; the built environment; and manufacturing.  We want to ensure that First Nations youth in BC are at the table when these new careers arrive.”

The Two Eyed Seeing Network, funded by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Centre, is a partnership between the:   Construction Foundation of BC, Two Eyed Seeing Consulting CCC Inc., Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC), Foresight Cleantech Accelerator Centre, Vancouver Island University and the Electrical Joint Training Committee.


The Construction Foundation of BC is committed to inclusion and diversity in the workplace and in the communities in which we live and work.  Our participation in the Two Eyed Seeing Network is just one way that we are committed to working with and supporting Indigenous led organizations and communities.


The Future Skills Centre (FSC) is a forward-thinking centre for research and collaboration dedicated to preparing Canadians for employment success. We believe Canadians should feel confident about the skills they have to succeed in a changing workforce. As a pan-Canadian community, we are collaborating to rigorously identify, test, measure, and share innovative approaches to assessing and developing the skills Canadians need to thrive in the days and years ahead. The Future Skills Centre was founded by a consortium whose members are Ryerson University, Blueprint, and The Conference Board of Canada, and is funded by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Program.

The Two Eyed Seeing Network Advisory includes: Construction Foundation of BC, Two Eyed Seeing Consulting CCC Inc., Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC), Foresight Cleantech Accelerator Centre, Vancouver Island University and the Electrical Joint Training Committee.

LINK TO: Complete Release

LINK TO: Program Partner Background Information



Colleen McConnell
Director of Public Relations, Construction Foundation of BC
250 220 5861
[email protected]


Interior Health administers more than one million vaccine doses

IH WIDE – Interior Health (IH) has surpassed administering its millionth dose of COVID-19 vaccine throughout the Interior as the #journey2immunity campaign continues.

“We are proud to report that IH has surpassed this incredible milestone, as we mark the Vax for B.C. campaign kick-off,” said Interior Health president and CEO Susan Brown. “We have made remarkable progress and we plan to keep going as we work to fight this challenging pandemic together.”

In total, 1,021,323 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered throughout Interior Health to date. This includes over 563,334 first doses and 457,989 second doses.

“Now people can drop-in to any Interior Health immunization clinic for either dose of the COVID-19 vaccine – no appointment required. ” added Brown. “Whether you schedule an appointment or simply drop-in to any of our immunization clinics, we are continuing to make the vaccine available across the Interior. As the wildfire season intensifies, get immunized sooner rather than later, and protect yourself and your loved ones from illness.”

People are eligible for their second dose at seven weeks (49 days) from the date they received their first dose.

The Interior’s vaccine rollout is a coordinated effort between Interior Health and the First Nations Health Authority.

How to get vaccinated

People can also get their first or second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by dropping in to any IH immunization clinic or by making an appointment.

To make an appointment, register online by visiting the provincial website at:, call 1-833-838-2323, or visit a Service BC office listed here, and then book an appointment.

For a list of all Interior Health COVID-19 immunization clinics and other resources visit:

COVID-19 vaccine information

To learn about B.C.’s Restart Plan and COVID-19 Immunization Plan, visit:


Media, for information:

[email protected]


First artists selected for Broadway Subway Project art installations

July 28, 2021

VICTORIA – The Broadway Subway Project has taken another step forward, as three artists and one team have been selected to create art installations for four upcoming SkyTrain stations.

A two-phase procurement process began in 2020 with an open call to artists and teams residing in Canada for art that will be showcased at the Great Northern Way-Emily Carr, Mount Pleasant, Broadway-City Hall and South Granville stations. The competition selection panel was comprised of visual art professionals and representatives from the Province, the City of Vancouver and TransLink.

In addition, the Province is working with Musqueam Indian Band, Squamish Nation and Tsleil-Waututh Nation on a separate and parallel process for Indigenous art for the Broadway Subway Project. The Cultural Recognition Program includes art across six stations, with prominent Indigenous artworks planned for Arbutus, Oak-VGH and Great Northern Way-Emily Carr stations.

Concepts for all artworks will be revealed at a future date. Artists will work to complete designs in co-ordination with final station designs and technical details related to installation.

The Broadway Subway Project is a 5.7-kilometre extension of the Millennium Line from VCC-Clark Station to Broadway and Arbutus, adding six stations along the line.

It will provide fast, frequent and convenient SkyTrain service to B.C.’s second-largest jobs centre, world-class health-care services, an emerging innovation and research hub, and growing residential communities.

Construction is underway and on schedule for the line to be in service in 2025.

Learn More:

Broadway Subway Project:

A backgrounder follows.


Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
Media Relations
Government Communications and Public Engagement
250 356-8241


Broadway Subway Project artists

Great Northern Way-Emily Carr Station

Lou Sheppard is a Canadian artist working in interdisciplinary audio, performance and installation-based practice. He often looks to what is missing or can no longer be experienced in a particular place, creating art that memorializes characteristics that once existed in the area surrounding the installation. Sheppard will engage Emily Carr University of Art and Design students in conceptual development and/or artwork production.

Mount Pleasant Station

Sylvan Hamburger grew up in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood and was always surrounded by actors and artists. At age seven, one of his drawings was used as a poster for a theatre, sparking an interest in drawing, printing and creating that has lasted to this day. He works primarily with printmaking techniques, salvaged materials, textiles and installations.

Broadway-City Hall Station

The artist team is Theatre Replacement (James Long and Maiko Yamamoto), in collaboration with Vanessa Kwan, Remy Siu and Cindy Mochizuki. Specializing in interactive media, animation, video, live performance and installation, the Broadway Subject Project marks the first time this team of five artists has collaborated on a project.

South Granville Station

Vancouver-born Derek Root is a graduate of Emily Carr University of Art and Design and has exhibited across Canada and internationally. His commissioned work uses the language of geometric abstraction and vibrant colour to alter viewers’ readings of architecture and space.


Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
Media Relations
Government Communications and Public Engagement
250 356-8241

Connect with the Province of B.C. at:


Calling All Educators! CFN Wants to Broaden Our Network of Stewardship Trainers

The Coastal Stewardship Network, a program of CFN-GBI, is seeking skilled educators to help us continue creating rich learning experiences for Indigenous adult learners in land and marine stewardship.

Our training covers a broad range of learning areas, including all types of environmental monitoring, archaeology, Indigenous laws and governance, compliance and enforcement, and a wide array of technical skills, such as data management, computer skills, and GIS and mapping.

If you want to apply your education skills to a great cause that will help enhance First Nations’ stewardship efforts throughout the North and Central Coast and Haida Gwaii, then we’d love to hear from you!

Interested individuals can share their resume, references and example of their work by completing this form:

For more information on CSN’s innovative stewardship training programs, and a list of desired qualifications we are looking for in educators, please see our Request for Qualifications: Instructors and Training Professionals (pdf).


Indigenous overdose response fund applications open for northern communities –

PRINCE GEORGE – The Pounds Project has partnered with the First Nations Health Authority for a new approach in resolving the opioid crisis. The Northern Indigenous Opioid Response Fund is now open for applications.

“We know that that [the Indigenous community] is being disproportionately affected by the overdose crisis – they make up for 15% of fatal overdoses,” said Executive Director of The Pounds Project, Jordan Stewart.

Stewart added that in 2021 numbers are expected to be almost six times higher for fatal overdoses among Indigenous Peoples in B.C.

“This overdose crisis, this poising epidemic is creating heartbreak in every level of our community. The hope of this fund is that we are going to create similar efforts in other communities,” continued Stewart.

Read More:

Tahltan Nation COVID-19 Emergency Management Update 07/27/2021

The Tahltan Nation COVID-19 Emergency Management Team (TNCEMT) met today and would like to inform the Tahltan Nation that two individuals (one adult and one child) have tested positive for COVID-19 in Dease Lake.

As a result, and according to our policy, effective immediately all three communities are now in lockdown and will remain in lockdown until contact tracing is completed and Tahltan leadership lifts the lockdown order.

It is important we remain calm, united and understand that TNCEMT will be adapting to our circumstances with our number one priority being: keeping our people safe.

It is understood that the two individuals who tested positive are okay and are self monitoring. Currently our thoughts and prayers go to the family, and the Tahltan Nation stands ready to support you.

The TNCEMT would like to remind everyone to remain diligent and ensure only verifiable information is shared. We all understand the damage that false information can have.


  • Stay Home: Unless you must go to work, or you are going onto the land to exercise with those in your household (people you live with);
  • People scheduled to go back to camp can do so and those coming out are asked to return to their communities where they permanently reside. People coming and going to camps need to notify their local EMC;
  • Avoid ALL Non-Essential Trips In Your Community: Stop going to other communities;
  • Limit the number of times you go to high traffic areas such as the store or post office;
  • Physical Distancing: Do not gather in groups. Ensure you stay a minimum of 6 feet away from other people;
  • Wear A Mask;
  • Wash Hands Regularly: Wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds or more. Soap is the best-known remedy for killing this virus so wash frequently;
  • Cough or Sneeze Into Your Elbow or a Tissue: Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Put your tissue in a waste basket. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands;
  • Don’t Touch Your Face: Don’t transfer the virus into your body by touching your eyes, nose or mouth;
  • If you have the slightest of symptoms stay home and contact the health centre;
  • If you get tested for COVID-19 stay in isolation until negative lab results; and
  • Stores in Iskut and Telegraph Creek: Mandatory mask wearing and only 1 person per household may access the store.


What if I live in Territory but I am currently outside. Is it safe to return?

If you live in Territory, you may return as long as you follow all measures above.

What if I am at Fish Camp, or I left and I want to return to Fish Camp?

Please contact the local EMC for further instructions.

What if I am Tahltan or non-Tahltan and want to come visit the Territory?

At this time, everyone is asked to assist the Tahltan Nation in our efforts to stay at home and to not travel to Tahltan Territory.


B.C. court ruling could mean First Nations consent needed for any new project on historic treaty lands – Financial Post

Jul 28, 2021

Ruling dramatically lowers the bar for First Nations to demonstrate their treaty rights have been infringed

A British Columbia Supreme Court decision requiring the provincial government to consider the “cumulative effects” of development could mandate First Nations’ consent for any new project on historic treaty lands in Canada.

“The decision can be construed as granting Blueberry River First Nations (BRFN) a veto on new development over its entire territory, thereby transferring control of a substantial portion of B.C.’s resource base from the province to BRFN,” said Sander Duncanson, a partner in Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP’s Calgary office, where he practises Aboriginal and environmental law.

Read More:

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