The six signatories of the Northern First Nations Alliance (NFNA,) a newly-formed collaboration between Indigenous governments in the Northwest, are seen here June 29 in Terrace. Back: Don Roberts, chief councillor Kitsumkalum First Nation, Bruce Innis, deputy chief councillor Gitxaala Nation, Delbert Good, economic development Gitanyow Band. Front: Judy Gerow, chief councillor Kitselas First Nation, Crystal Smith, chief councillor Haisla Nation, Eva Clayton, president, Nisga’a Lisims Government.

The six signatories of the Northern First Nations Alliance (NFNA,) a newly-formed collaboration between Indigenous governments in the Northwest, are seen here June 29 in Terrace. Back: Don Roberts, chief councillor Kitsumkalum First Nation, Bruce Innis, deputy chief councillor Gitxaala Nation, Delbert Good, economic development Gitanyow Band. Front: Judy Gerow, chief councillor Kitselas First Nation, Crystal Smith, chief councillor Haisla Nation, Eva Clayton, president, Nisga’a Lisims Government.

Northwest Indigenous governments form new alliance

Alliance intended as way to share resources, maximize opportunities

Several Northwestern Indigenous governments have formed an alliance to better share information and resources.

The Northern First Nations Alliance (NFNA) counts the Haisla Nation, the Nisga’a Nation and Gitanyow Band among its members, as well as three Tsimshian governments: Kitselas First Nation, Kitsumkalum First Nation and Gitxaala Nation.

Leaders and representatives from those groups met in Terrace June 29 and June 30 for the signing of a memorandum of understanding, a document signifying the official creation of the NFNA. There are four general issues on which the NFNA members plan to collaborate: housing, youth, employment and training, and health and wellness.

“Up to this point, individual nations or individuals have approached opportunities in isolation, possibly duplicating efforts or missing out because of the inability to provide the appropriate funding or infrastructure,” the memorandum of understanding states. “The NFNA has an opportunity to collaborate and work in partnership to identify and prepare for future regional opportunities.”

Crystal Smith, chief councillor of the Haisla Nation and one of the signatories of the memorandum, said one example of how NFNA members could collaborate would be by sharing training sessions.

She gave the example of a hypothetical training session for marine work related to the LNG Canada facility in Kitimat.

“We can put on a training session that would hold 15 of our members … but we don’t fill the seats with all of our people. We maybe get five Haislas that are interested in that type of work,” she said. “So we would reach out to Gitxaala, reach out to other nations and say ‘we have eight seats, do you have people to fill them?’” she said.

Eva Clayton, president of the Nisga’a Lisims Government and also a signatory of the memorandum, said she is very happy to see a modern and constructive collaboration between First Nations in the Northwest because she remembers darker times.

“Way back in the day, our leaders saw fit to try to bring all of the first nations together in the Northwest,” she said.

“It was to take a look at how we could come together when the Department of Indian Affairs used to put all the funding on the middle of the table and all of the nations had to fight over it. And it was based on needs, and this is what created a lot of the circumstances that we had to live with.”

“Coming from that kind of history, I’m really really happy.”

Clayton said she hopes subsequent generations of Indigenous leaders in the Northwest carry on the spirit of collaboration signified by the NFNA.

Jeannie Parnell, co-ordinator for the NFNA, said the NFNA is a non-political group.

“We come together for the betterment of all our communities and our members of our people, to improve their lives,” she said.



jake.wray@terracestandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Helping Hands of Terrace sorting facility was completed in November 2020. Phase two added a second shipping container and a roof, meaning that multiple people can sort recyclables at one time. (Ben Bogstie/Terrace Standard)
VIDEO: Inside Helping Hands of Terrace’s sorting facility

Phase two of the facility was completed late last year

Kitselas Administration office. (Kitselas First Nation website photo)
Kitselas First Nation candidates announced for June 10 election

Over three dozen candidates vying for position of one chief councillor and six council members

“Skeena,” by John Hudson and Paul Hanslow is one of five fonts in the running to become the default for Microsoft systems and Office programs. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Font named after Skeena River could become the next Microsoft default

One of the five new fonts will replace Calibri, which has been Microsoft’s default since 2007

The road to Telegraph Creek (Hwy 51) was closed April 15 due to a washout. On May 4, the road was opened to light-duty passenger vehicles during specific times. (BC Transportation and Infrastructure/Facebook)
Telegraph Creek Road opens for light-duty vehicles

Road has been closed since April 15 due to a washout

Crew works on the Howe Creek Trail broad walk near the northeast corner of Christy Park.
Howe Creek Trail repair work under progress

Residents asked to avoid using trail near the northeast corner of Christy Park

Jose Marchand prepares Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination doses at a mobile clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, in Montreal, Friday, April 30, 2021. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is coming under fire after contradicting the advice Canadians have been receiving for weeks to take the first vaccine against COVID-19 that they’re offered. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Trudeau says he is glad he got AstraZeneca, vaccines are only way out of pandemic

‘The most important thing is to get vaccinated with the first vaccine offered to you’

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dip in COVID-19 cases with 572 newly announced in B.C.

No new deaths have been reported but hospitalized patients are up to 481, with 161 being treated in intensive care

Solar panels on a parking garage at the University of B.C. will be used to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter captured to supply a vehicle filling station. (UBC video)
UBC parkade project to use solar energy for hydrogen vehicles

Demonstration project gets $5.6M in low-carbon fuel credits

FILE – A student arrives at school as teachers dressed in red participate in a solidarity march to raise awareness about cases of COVID-19 at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. ‘should be able to’ offer 1st dose of COVID vaccine to kids 12+ by end of June: Henry

Health Canada authorized the vaccine for younger teens this morning

A woman in the Harrison Mills area was attacked by a cougar on Tuesday, May 4. B.C. Conservation Officers killed two male cougars in the area; the attack was determined to be predatory in nature. (File photo)
2 cougars killed following attack on woman in Agassiz area

Attack victim remains in hospital in stable condition

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. CDC updates info, acknowledging small respiratory droplets can spread COVID-19

Large droplets, not aerosols had been fixture of public health messaging for many months

A picture of Shirley Ann Soosay was rendered from a postmortem photographer and circulated on social media. (DDP graphic)
B.C. genealogist key to naming murder victim in decades-old California cold case

In July 1980, Shirley Ann Soosay was raped and stabbed to death

Mary Kitagawa was born on Salt Spring Island and was seven years old when she was interned along with 22,000 B.C. residents in 1942. (B.C. government video)
B.C. funds health services for survivors of Japanese internment

Seniors describe legacy of World War II displacement

Most Read