Joining the Te’Mexw Treaty Advisory Committee is an opportunity for Oak Bay on myriad levels, says the councillor tasked with representing the community.
The advisory committee is a group of elected officials, staff and observers who represent local governments in the Capital Regional District impacted by the Te’mexw treaty negotiations. All meetings are conducted in-camera.
The committee was formed about 14 years ago when local municipalities voiced a desire to know more about the treaty process and ensure they had a voice in the process.
“I think it’s an exciting opportunity for Oak Bay. I think it’s a huge learning opportunity as well,” said Coun. Cairine Green, who initially attended meetings as an observer and was officially tasked as Oak Bay’s designate in December. Coun. Hazel Braithwaite serves as alternate.
“Indigenous truth and reconciliation has sharpened the focus of the importance to First Nations and Indigenous communities of land use, economic development and prosperity sharing,” Green said.
She’s driven somewhat by her past – a career working with Indigenous communities in the mid-Island before moving south, and then as a manager of Indigenous education with the province – and the future. “You never know enough as a non-Indigenous person, it’s lifelong learning,” she said.
Last March, Green also saw support from council to have Oak Bay seek guidance from the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations to add Lekwungen place names around the community. The municipality lies in pre-contact territories of Lekwungen-speaking peoples.
The Te’mexw Treaty Association represents five First Nations: Scia’new (Beecher Bay), Malahat, Snaw-naw-AS (Nanoose), Songhees and T’Sou-ke (Sooke). Te’mexw traditional territory is on southern Vancouver Island and the east coast of Vancouver Island around Nanoose Bay.
Started with a statement of intent in 1994, the negotiations are in Stage 5 of 6.
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