ROTHENBURGER – First Nations membership on TNRD board a complicated challenge
RECONCILIATION is a challenging path to follow.
It remains unclear as to what it will ultimately look like. It seems to me, though, that until there’s some sort of political structure to it, reconciliation will remain elusive.
As an example, one possibility at the local level is a formal alliance between the Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc and the Thompson Nicola Regional District that would involve TteS membership on the regional board.
I encouraged this when I was on the board and broached it with Kúkpi7 Rosanne Casimir. She was certainly interested though I sensed her appreciation of the challenges involved.
“I believe that we will get there,” she said.
I’m pleased to see the TNRD actively pursuing the idea. Not only that, coincidental to discussions at the TNRD, the provincial government is signalling that it may legislate such arrangements as mandatory.
It would actually become a two-part process, which I’ll get into in a moment but it would essentially require a re-invention of the regional district.
This might take years to become reality but, as was pointed out at a TNRD board meeting earlier this year, supporting “inclusive regional governance by advancing First Nations participation in regional district boards” has become part of the provincial government’s commitment on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
As attractive an idea as it is, adding First Nations representation to the regional board presents a whole host of challenges.
Mel Rothenburger is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a recipient of the Jack Webster Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award. He has served as mayor of Kamloops, school board chair and TNRD director, and is a retired daily newspaper editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Makes great sense to me. But I still have a concern as a resident of Sun Rivers. We identify with the City of Kamloops, but are not included in any consultations, decisions or discussion about what’s happening in the city. TNRD mostly serves rural residents, and has little to do with Sun Rivers. Tk’emlups is naturally concerned with its residents, and although the Sun Rivers community was developed on band land with initially band leadership, now the band has not much to do with the residents – but at least we get invited to their open houses and info sessions. Seems like we fall between the cracks of 3 jurisdictions.