Nuxalk Chief Councilor candidates answer your questions

Nuxalk Chief Councilor candidates answer your questions

  • Wed Feb 27th, 2013 6:00am
  • News

Incumbent Andrew Andy

Andrew Andy – Current Chief Councilor

Question #1:

How do you feel about the role of the Band Chief in terms of achieving the goals brought forth by the recent Idle No More movement?

The Idle No More movement is important for Canada and to Nuxalk. The Nuxalk Nation has never been idle.  It has been amazing to see the community so united and working together towards a common cause. Community members have made their voices heard at Idle No More demonstrations. This movement clearly speaks to the need for Nuxalk to assert their title and rights and to stand together and exercise those rights Idle No More has brought together our leaders, our elders and our youth to stand together, shoulder to shoulder with a common purpose.

It is now critical that the “movement” move forward. The next steps will be to clearly define the specific goals necessary to free Canada’s indigenous peoples from ongoing dependency and poverty and to articulate a strategy for moving forward. Media attention to the issues is not enough – solutions are required! Solutions must be made by and for the native peoples of Canada.It is critical for Canada’s indigenous leader’s to participate in working with the movement to bring about real, tangible change for our communities. Nuxalk will continue to support the movement’s efforts in Ottawa to develop a new reality for Canada’s indigenous peoples!  There is GREAT strength in a united front, when Nuxalk stands as One Mind and One Heart, we will take back our power and positive change will be the outcome.

Question #2:

How do you plan to engage with the community when major decisions are to be made and how often do you feel Chief and Council should report back to the community?

It is important to engage the community in major decisions that affect the well being of the community members.  Chief and Council report back to the community through a variety of communication tools including personal face-to-face meetings, engagement of youth and elders, newsletters and band meetings. When appropriate, advisory committees also are an excellent way to assist Chief and Council in appropriate decision-making.

From day one of taking office, our Council agreed on the absolute need for being open and transparent.  Each Councillor began their term with a swearing-in ceremony that was witnessed by a community member pledged to keeping them accountable.  Throughout the current term we are proud of the 80% attendance record, an incredible record for a group of volunteers!

If re-elected, I will hold a series of Community Facilitated Forums with the goal of developing a clear strategy for the next 3, 5, 10 and 20 years. This strategy will be comprehensive in nature and will require sincere input from all of our members both on and off reserve. We still have many important issues to tackle such as lateral violence, health, health travel, youth, economic development, administration, governance, and our environment. Once this strategy is completed the community will celebrate a “new beginnings” at a community Celebration Feast.

Question #3:

How would you build economic development in the community and what type of economic development do you see in the future?

“People pay attention to you when you are a businessman” (Chief Louie). Economic development in the community is essential if we are to become self-sufficient and leave behind our dependency on Ottawa.

Our Council, through Nuxalk Development Corporation, is proud of our record in establishing and growing business as Nuxalk. Some of our accomplishments include: Formation of a new development company with highly qualified individuals in senior management positions. We are building business-to-business relationships within the Bella Coola Valley and also within the whole Region; as a result we have been successful in employing Nuxalk members in meaningful work opportunities

We are partners in re-developing the former Interfor booming grounds to include barge-loading and tourism opportunities. We recently formed a partnership in the Central Coast Fisheries Association along with the Wuikinuxv, Kitasoo and Heiltsuk Nations to further First Nations interests in commercial fisheries. We are working with the consulting firm MNP to advise us on effective governance structures and taxation policies/bylaws.

We have reorganized much of forestry business with Nuxalk Forestry Limited Partnership, a company that will work to support Nuxalk community goals for building financial independence and providing employment and training opportunities. Good jobs are the best way to escape poverty.

It is true that we have challenges to overcome, but with the resilience, foresight and determination of all of the Nuxalk Community members I am confident that the future is bright!

 

Wally Webber – Former Marine Use Planning Coordinator

Question #1:

How do you feel about the role of the Band Chief in terms of achieving the goals brought forth by the recent Idle No More movement?

If used effectively, the Band Council system can support the goals of Idle No More and help to improve community services such as health, education and housing. As a Nuxalk hereditary chief and like many Nuxalkmc, I strongly agree with the goals of Idle No More: to halt the destruction of the environment, to act on our inherent rights and uphold our ancestral governments.

Question #2:

How do plan to engage with the community when major decisions are to be made and how often do you feel Chief and Council should report back to the community?

I will work with council to create a community involvement process. We must thoroughly involve the community in every major decision through meaningful and clear discussions. We will have an annual general meeting as well as present mandatory quarterly updates from each department of the band office, following with a question and answer period with Chief and Council. Communication is a priority and it needs to start from the beginning with all Nuxalkmc involved.

Question #3:

How would you build economic development in the community and what type of economic development do you see in the future?

I will focus on the creation of a local and self-reliant economy that produces goods and services that remain within the community. We must rebuild and train our workforce in positions that directly go back into the community to benefit our youth, health and livelihood. I believe in our people and I have the faith that we can lead projects ourselves and work within our territory in sustainable manner for the benefit of our future generations.

 

Theresa Hood – Former Band Manager

Question #1:

How do you feel about the role of the Band Chief in terms of achieving the goals brought forth by the recent Idle No More movement?

The Nuxalk have held its aboriginal rights and title interests within its defined traditional territory since time immemorial. Many of the goals of the Idle No More Movement are in line with our Nation’s interests; however, we take our direction from our Nation and our Hereditary Leaders.

We believe in self-determination of our interests, we believe that all of our members should be able to live in and benefit from our resources within our traditional territory, and be an effective voice in determining what happens around us. We stand for good governance – not a heavy handed government, and to being able to determine what is best for our community and our membership as a whole when it comes to decision-making and determining activities within our traditional territory.

Question #2:

How do you plan to engage with the community when major decisions are to be made and how often do you feel Chief and Council should report back to the community?

I believe, at minimum, Chief and Council should report to its membership through effective use of newsletters, on a monthly basis, and community meetings should be held on a quarterly basis. Chief and Council are elected to lead and that includes leadership in soliciting input from our hereditary leaders as well as our community.

Issues of a major initiative that could impact our traditional territory and/or the resources within, need to be discussed openly and candidly with the membership. As well, we need to report regularly on our financial situation – our members have the right to know, and we have the responsibility to keep them informed.

Question #3:

How would you build economic development in the community and what type of economic development do you see in the future?

There have been a number of attempts at trying to get something going – The first thing that I see we need as a simple plan. The plan starts with getting our financial house in order – if you do not have money you cannot do anything. Scraping the bottom of the bucket all the time does not allow anyone the time to look at what can be done, what should be done, and how to start it.

We need to look at what business model will work for us, now, and moving into the future – we have to look at what are the priorities for the community, we have to look at what opportunities we have and what leverage we can bring to make things happen. The communities that have been successful have followed this path; they have started small and built on their successes. We can do this too.

That is the “how” and to the question of “what” – there is dependent upon what our community wants. There are some opportunities that we have not even scratched the surface with yet. We need to take a different approach – we have to engage our members, our community and our neighbours. Let’s not look for the “home run” but the “small successes” that we can build on to make bigger successes.