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Cook’s Ferry Band, Teck Highland Valley sign Legacy Agreement

Agreement acknowledges historical transfer of four Cook’s Ferry reserve lands to predecessors of HVC
The Cook’s Ferry Band and Teck Highland Valley Copper have signed a Legacy Agreement in acknowledgement of the historical transfer of four Cook’s Ferry reserve lands to predecessors of Highland Valley Copper. (Photo credit: Cook’s Ferry Band)

Cook’s Ferry Indian Band and Teck Resources Limited have signed an agreement between the Band and Teck Highland Valley Copper Mine (HVC), which supports reconciliation in respect to the historical transfer of four Cook’s Ferry reserve lands to predecessors of HVC.

The Legacy Agreement was guided by Teck’s and Cook’s Ferry’s mutual interest in facilitating reconciliation. It was also made in acknowledgement of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The Legacy Agreement is described as a “forward-looking relationship building process”. It includes resources and work plans for Cook’s Ferry and HVC to work toward closing the socio-economic gap and addressing cultural impacts related to the historical transfer of the former Cook’s Ferry reserve lands.

The agreement also sets a specific Cook’s Ferry-HVC framework for meaningful engagement and communication to support implementation of the agreement.

“We recognize the unique heritage and culture of the Cook’s Ferry Indian Band, their connection to the lands that constituted the reserve lands used for HVC, and our responsibility to respect the rights, cultures, knowledge, and interests of Cook’s Ferry,” said Matt Parrilla, General Manager, Teck Highland Valley Copper Operations.

“This agreement reflects our commitment to support reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples and to build strong and lasting relationships in the regions where we operate.”

Chief Christine Walkem said “Cook’s Ferry is pleased to reach this important milestone and begin the process to address longstanding and ongoing adverse effects of the surrender of our four reserve lands for HVC.

“The resulting Legacy Agreement will assist Cook’s Ferry to address the historic legacy of HVC on our way of life and provide a better future for our community.”

The agreement intends to build positive legacies that are focused on several priorities. These include:

- Increase knowledge and recognition, and contemplation of future return, of the former Cook’s Ferry reserve lands in the Highland Valley;

- Support priorities of Cook’s Ferry and its members, including language learning opportunities, cultural practices, and socio-economic opportunities;

- Foster additional agricultural and other business opportunities on Cook’s Ferry reserve lands for the benefit of members and future generations;

- Support access to water resources to support agricultural and socio-economic opportunities; and

- Planning for the development of a purpose-built cultural centre.

Barbara Roden

About the Author: Barbara Roden

I joined Black Press in 2012 working the Circulation desk of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal and edited the paper during the summers until February 2016.
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