And so a new beginning begins.
The first of meetings in what is expected to be a new era in the relationship between First Nations and municipal governments in the Shuswap will take place in Salmon Arm.
On Sept. 30, representatives from the Adams Lake, Neskonlith, Little Shuswap Lake and Splatsin First Nations gathered at the Adams Lake Conference Centre with reps from the Columbia Shuswap Regional District and Salmon Arm, Enderby, Chase and Sicamous councils to formalize a communications agreement.
As declared at the September gathering, it puts into writing a sense of trust, mutual respect and recognition of legitimacy between First Nations and other local governments. It mandates openness, transparency and “no surprises” in communication between these governments going forward.
It also encourages all parties to come together, both formally and informally, to speak on issues of importance to Secwepemc people and other local communities. This includes a yearly formal gathering of elected officials from communities that signed the agreement.
Salmon Arm Mayor Alan Harrison told council on Feb. 25 he’s been approached twice by Adams Lake Coun. Gina Johnny to see if the city would be willing to host the first annual meeting.
“I think it’s a great honour to be asked. I indicated we’re very interested.”
His request for $1,5oo from the council initiatives fund to host the meeting was approved by council.
The plan is to hold it on Thursday, June 6, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with the venue to be announced.
“We’re wanting to get the meeting set early so as many officials as possible can attend,” he said.