The gradual signing by northern First Nations to a provincial program offering millions of dollars tied to the prospect of natural gas pipelines crossing through their traditional territories is a continuation of a broad policy which now stretches over several decades.
And that is to slowly – and everything involving government action takes place very slowly – establish an economic base by which First Nations can prosper.
With the exception in our area of the Nisga’a who have chosen to develop their economy within the context of their ground-breaking 2000 land and government agreement with the provincial and federal governments, other First Nations are choosing to negotiate agreements separate from political or government to government arrangements.
The first of these economic agreements concerned forestry as witnessed by ones involving the Kitselas and Kitsumkalum to the point that today, each has a stand alone forestry operation.
Specific to natural gas, the pipeline deals signed by the Kitselas First Nation several weeks ago broaden the objective of economic development.
However First Nations seek to place themselves within the economy of northwestern B.C. the result is stability and the certainty that when businesses consider investment in the region, the pathway is clear.
As First Nations prosper, so will everyone else.