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OKANAGAN INDIAN BAND (OKIB) INFO

WESTSIDE ROAD BC

Comment Form at the bottom of this page

Last updated July 01, 2017

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UPDATED: Raw sewage, algae reported in Okanagan Lake
Vernon Morning Star - Jun 25th, 2017

The Okanagan Indian Band is asking all residents and visitors to refrain from entering into the north arm of Okanagan Lake until further notice


UPDATED: The previous report of raw sewage into Okanagan Lake has been assessed and the results indicate a combination of high organic material (sewage output), grass, leaves and burlap, sand and dead animals, and with the added high temperatures, an algae bloom.

The Okanagan Indian Band will continue to monitor the area and notes the algae bloom occurrence will be a common sight over the next week.

“At this time, there is not an odour and as the algae bloom becomes oxygenated, a distinct sulphur odour will be a natural release,” states the band.

A number of factors increase the presence of blue/green algae: Higher than normal temperatures, changing water levels and the increase of nutrients making their way into the watershed from fertilizers and sewage runoff.

Residents are urged not to go into the water or have contact with the water, do not drink the water and do not eat fish caught where there is a blue/green algae bloom.

*******************************************

A raw sewage alert has been issued for the north end of Okanagan Lake.

The Okanagan Indian Band’s emergency operations centre has received a report of a raw sewage discharge and the incident has been reported to the Ministry of Environment for investigation.

“The EOC is asking all residents and visitors to refrain from entering into the north arm of Okanagan Lake until further notice and to not consume surface waters drawn from Okanagan Lake,” states the release.

A specific location for the discharge has now been provided at this point.

The release goes on to say that raw sewage could contain E.coli, giardia, cryptosporidium, heptatis A, cholera and other diseases.

“Open cuts and wounds can become severely infected by contaminated water. Early symptoms from exposure to sewage water pollutins may include upset stomach, intestinal problems, headaches and other flu-like symptoms. For open wounds, watch for redness, swelling and soreness. You should seek medical attention if you suspect illness or infections.”

Source: https://www.vernonmorningstar.com/news/raw-sewage-reported-in-okanagan-lake/

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Band puts out call for ESS help
Vernon Morning Star - by Roger Knox - Jun 8th, 2017

Okanagan Indian Band looking for volunteers to help those affected by flooding

Properties on Okanagan Indian Band lands have been impacted by a rising Okanagan Lake. The band is looking for emergency service volunteers to help those affected by flooding. (Facebook photo)
The Okanagan Indian Band has put out an urgent call for Emergency Social Services (ESS) volunteers.

OKIB community members forced from their homes by flooding, or other emergencies may be eligible for short-term assistance for lodging and groceries. In order to access those services they will be directed to their local Emergency Social Services (ESS) Team.

“We are in urgent need of volunteers to help with this recent state of emergency in our community,” said Shaylen Smith, OKIB communications and events coordinator. “There is a need for Emergency Social Services volunteers to assist flood affected residents.”

Shifts are for Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and the request is for volunteers to commit to one day a week.

ESS Volunteers may be involved in:

 Identifying locations for Reception Centre’s and group lodging;

 Recruitment of additional team members;

 Working with local businesses, service organizations and government agencies;

 Issuing lodging and meal referrals for people forced from their homes;


Each year about 5,000 British Columbians volunteer as emergency social service workers.

If you are interested in volunteering for the Emergency Social Services (ESS) please call the EOC-OKIB 250-542-7132

Source: http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/news/band-puts-out-call-for-ess-help/

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Waterfront health advisory issued
Vernon Morning Star - Jun 7th, 2017


Signs posted along Okanagan Indian Band properties after “contamination event”

Flooding will be the main topic at a town hall meeting hosted by the Okanagan Indian Band.

The band announced a meeting set for Saturday, from 6-to-9 p.m. at the Head of the Lake Hall.

Topics to be discussed include updates on weather, power utility services, Emergency Management B.C. and disaster financial assistance.

The meeting is open to all residents who have been affected by flooding on IR#1-Okanagan and IR #6-Priest Valley.

Both reserves had waterfront health advisory signs posted by the First Nations Health Authority along properties Wednesday.

The signs recommend people and pets not come in contact with the waterfront or water.

Source: http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/news/waterfront-health-advisory-issued/

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Okanagan Indian Band issues evacuation order
Vernon Morning Star - Jun 3rd, 2017

Order is for residents/visitors of Jack Road and high road of Louis Estates Road

The Okanagan Indian Band has issued an evacuation order and further evacuation alerts due to the high level of Okanagan Lake.

On Saturday, the band issued an evacuation order for residents and visitors of Jack Road – Beachfront lots 1-5, and all lots below the high road of Louis Estates Road.

As an evacuation order was issued, residents must leave the area immediately and register with emergency social services by calling 1-250-307-1956 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.; close all windows and doors; shut off gas and electrical appliances other than refrigerators and freezers; gather family or take a neighbour or someone who needs help.

Residents are asked to take critical items such as medicine, purse, wallet and keys if they are available. Take pets in pet kennels or on a leash.

Propane tanks should be secured so they won’t float away; the valves must be tightened so the tanks won’t leak. If possible, it is advised to move the tanks from the flood-prone area.

Do not use more vehicles than you have to, and do not use telephones unless you need emergency service.

Follow the directions of emergency personnel and obey traffic control. Travel will be one-way only out of the area to allow emergency vehicles access. Re-admission is not permitted until the order is lifted.

Please check the OKIB website at www.okib.ca for more information.

ALERT ISSUED

Also on Saturday, evacuation alerts were issued for residents and visitors on properties along Okanagan Indian Band Reserve #1, Westside Road waterfront properties to Reserve #6, Priest Valley. An alert was also issued to residents adjacent to Vernon Creek, which is the strip of land on Lakeshore Road near Kin Beach.

The band was busy putting in a gabion wall on Lakeshore Road Friday to help deal with the rising water levels (see more below).

The issuing of an alert means residents and visitors should be prepared for immediate evacuation. That means getting personal items, family members and pets ready in case an evacuation order is issued.

“Every attempt will be made to provide as much advanced notice as possible should evacuation be required,” states the band on its website. “Changing weather conditions, however, may result in little or no notice. Be prepared.”

FLOOD RISK ASSESSMENT

Emergency Management B.C. conducted a flood risk assessment on Lakeshore Road in Vernon Friday.

Results from the assessment, according to a release on the OKIB website, deemed protection measures of infrastructure are required.

“The mitigation efforts in placement of a gabion wall for the specific flooded area addresses the integrity and vulnerability of Lakeshore Road as the Vernon Creek back flow created wave action that may cause an increased level of erosion to said roadway,” stated the band.

The OKIB and its emergency operation centre thanked the continued efforts of all crews deployed by the province to assist with sandbagging efforts, gabion wall placement was well as other flood-fighting duties.

As of Saturday afternoon, the OKIB said the current level of Okanagan Lake is 343.22 metres, with the lake increasing 2.5 centimetres overnight.

The expected peak level of the lake is 343.25 metres.

Source: http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/news/okanagan-indian-band-issues-evacuation-order/

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Bands differ over territory
Vernon Morning Star - Richard Rolke - Mar 5th, 2017


Splatsin Chief Wayne Christian

Okanagan Indian Band has concerns about an agreement between the Splatsin and Silver Star resort
Differences of opinion are surfacing over who claims a local mountain.

The Okanagan Indian Band is expressing concerns about a recent memorandum of understanding between Silver Star Mountain Resort and the Splatsin, which is part of the Shuswap Nation.

“If the province and our neighbours want to draw lines on a map, so be it. But our lines haven’t changed and are based on historical fact,” Byron Louis, OKIB chief, told The Morning Star.

On behalf of the Okanagan Nation Alliance, Louis recently wrote a letter to the Splatsin and the provincial government.

“Silver Star Mountain Resort is located within the exclusive and unextinguished territory of the Sy/7x Okanagan Nation,” wrote Louis.

“This area falls within the OKIB’s area of responsibility and has the responsibility to ensure that the Sy/7x Okanagan Nation’s title and rights and territorial integrity are fully protected.”

The Splatsin are defending their memorandum of understanding with Silver Star Mountain Resort.

“Splatsin is a border community within the Secwepemc Nation and there is mixed (Syilx (Okanagan) and Secwepemc (Shuswap) blood within the community,” said Wayne Christian, Splatsin chief, in a letter.

“Splatsin holds much oral history of the Silver Star Mountain area as it was, and still is, an important component of our season round. The BX Creek-Silver Star area is known to us as Tsuqqwtsin, which translates to Red Mouthed Fish.”

Christian goes on to say that his band recognizes Silver Star as being shared with the OKIB.

“This shared protocol was reaffirmed by both our elders at a joint meeting held Oct. 28, 2002 where a motion was passed stating that Silver Star Mountain is a shared area between the two communities,” he said.

Louis says the provincial government is responsible for the overlapping claims and ignoring the title and rights of the Okanagan.

“They want to create uncertainty and that the courts will say, ‘No one owns it,” he told The Morning Star.

“We can’t allow it. If someone draws lines on a map, there’s no justification for us to respect it.”

The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations says it’s aware of the overlapping territorial claims between the OKIB and the Splatsin.

“The B.C. government has been in touch with both nations highlighting B.C.’s requirement to consult with both nations and that neither consultation nor consultation agreements with one band or nation in no way limits the aboriginal rights of the other band or nation,” states the ministry in an e-mail.

“While it is best for neighbouring First Nations to work together to resolve differences, the province is always prepared to facilitate discussion where First Nations find it helpful.”

Frustration with the government has led to the OKIB cancelling Ministry of Forests and B.C. Hydro projects on its land.

“We’re prepared to do it again. We have no choice,” said Louis.

The Splatsin are calling for a meeting with the OKIB to resolve the conflict.

“We need to stop challenging each other’s claims and start working together in the role of caretakers to our shared areas for future generations,” said Christian in his letter.

Silver Star Mountain Resort deferred comment on the matter.

Source: http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/news/bands-differ-over-territory/

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Okanagan Indian Band 'vehemently and vigorously' opposing neighbouring band's claim to Silver Star Mountain
InfoNews.ca - By Charlotte Helston - March 02, 2017

VERNON - Letters back and forth between the Okanagan Indian Band and Splatsin First Nation illustrate just how complex traditional territorial rights are at Silver Star Mountain.

The strongly worded letters came just days after a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Splatsin First Nation and Silver Star Mountain Resort. The agreement set the “foundation for collaboration amongst the two parties moving into the future” including “protecting and enhancing cultural resources” according to a Feb. 21 press release from the band and the resort. It says the Splatsin and Secwepemc people travelled to the mountain for various cultural activities including hunting, and gathering wild food and medicine.

An open letter obtained by iNFOnews.ca, dated Feb. 23, expresses the Okanagan Indian Band’s opposition to the Memorandum of Understanding on the basis that Silver Star Resort is located within the “exclusive and unextinguished territory of the Syilx Okanagan Nation.”

“The Okanagan Indian Band vehemently and vigorously opposes the Splatsin First Nation's claims that the vicinity and area encompassing the Silver Star Mountain Resort are within the Splatsin's First Nation's area of caretaker responsibility,” Chief Byron Louis says in the letter.

Louis says the Okanagan Indian Band has the responsibility to ensure the nation’s territorial integrity is fully protected, and is committed to upholding laws passed down from ancestors.

“The Okanagan Indian Band has upheld these responsibilities on behalf of its members and the collective membership of the Syilx Okanagan Nation for millennia,” Louis says.
Louis references a 2002 Memorandum of Understanding his band has with Silver Star Mountain Resort and says they have a positive working relationship, however he points out the provincial government ‘required’ the resort to consult other First Nations under its ‘flawed process’ for development agreements.

“(The) divisive and underhanded tactics of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources - Mountain Resorts Branch has resulted in an utter and complete disregard of the Syilx Okanagan Nation's exclusive title, rights and interests in the Silver Star area,” Louis says.

The band is calling for an immediate suspension in the province’s requirement for the resort to consult with the Splatsin First Nation, and wants a meeting with senior provincial officials to address the ‘longstanding and escalating issue’ of Splatsin’s ‘numerous attempts’ to claim land rights.

“For far too long, the Okanagan Indian Band has been forced to defend Syilx Okanagan territorial boundaries against encroachment from other First Nation communities attempting to assert and claim interests within Syilx Okanagan territory. The unnecessary burden of defending our territorial integrity simply because the provincial government's inability to sort out its own internal processes is completely unacceptable.”

‘THERE IS MIXED SYILX AND SECWEPEMC BLOOD’

In a response letter to the Okanagan Indian Band, Splatsin chief Kukpi7 Wayne Christian says their oral history shows they also have cultural ties to the Silver Star area.

“Splatsin is a border community within the Secwepemc nation and there is mixed Syilx and Secwepemc blood within the community,” Christian says.

He says the mixed ancestry stems from intermarriage that "ocurred post contact as our community was nearly decimated by smallpox.”

“Splatsin holds much oral history of the Silver Mountain area as it was, and still is, an important component of our season round,” Christian says.

His band recognizes the mountain as ‘shared’ between the two communities and says it is reaffirmed as such by elders at a meeting in 2002.

“All First Nations face the same challenges in getting our inherent title and rights recognized. We should not have to fight amongst ourselves on this matter,” Christian says.

For its part, the provincial government says it will be responding directly to the Okanagan Nation Alliance but declined specific details ‘out of respect for all.’ In response to a request for an interview, the Ministry of Lands, Forests and Natural Resources sent a written statement, which reads, in part:

“The B.C. government has been in touch with both Nations highlighting B.C.'s requirement to consult with both Nations and that neither consultation nor consultation agreements with one Band or Nation in no way limits the Aboriginal rights of the other Band or Nation. While it is best for neighbouring First Nations to work together to resolve differences, the Province is always prepared to facilitate discussion where First Nations find it helpful.”

When contacted, Silver Star’s managing director Ken Derpak declined an interview.

“Out of respect for all parties we won’t make any further comment at this point,” Derpak says.

Letters from both bands can be read, in full, below.

02_23_2017 Okib - 2017 Feb 23 - Sfn-moflnro-marr-pbc - Splatsin Silver Star Mou (002) by Charlotte Helston on Scribd

Source: http://infotel.ca/newsitem/okanagan-indian-band-vehemently-and-vigorously-opposing-neighbouring-bands-claim-to-silver-star-mountain/it40286

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A response
Vernon Morning Star - Oct 23, 2016

This letter is in response to Chief Byron Louis' comments on the moorage of unsightly boats and barges just off of Okanagan Indian Band land on Okanagan Lake.

Here is a quote from you in The Morning Star Oct. 2: "All of these barges and vessels aren't monitored or under any standard to ensure environment standards are maintained."

What sir, do you say about your own lands such as the property on the corner of Highway 97 and Westside Road? I believe that on this land, there is a graveyard of derelict machinery, boats and vehicles. They have been there for many years, yet your band has chosen to ignore this unsightly property, which is in full view of thousands of local people and tourists that travel this way every year.

You talk about environmental standards, yet these derelict vehicles and machinery are polluting this land with old engine oil, transmission oil, different oil, brake fluid, windshield washer solvent and anti-freeze, as well as broken glass, rotting tires and rust from the rotting vehicles.

Have you or your band made any attempt to clean up the eyesore? This land would cost a fortune to get it back to environmentally friendly condition.

With all due respect, I leave this situation with you and your band. Please feel free to respond with a proposal as to how you and your band will get your own lands back to being environmentally friendly.

Rick Orlando
Westside

Source: http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/opinion/letters/397939421.html

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Fintry Queen moorage draws band criticism
by Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - Oct 2, 2016

The Fintry Queen, which used to be based in Kelowna, is currently moored at the head of Okanagan Lake.— Image Credit: Photo Submitted

The Okanagan Indian Band is increasingly frustrated with boats abandoned off its shore.

The arrival of the Fintry Queen at the head of Okanagan Lake has escalated concerns from the band about vessels moored in the lake.

“There is no less then four barges located in the (Westside Road) area,” said Chief Byron Louis.

“Then across the lake in front of our reserve lands, we have two large vessels. One has been moored off the eastern shore for well over five years and now the Fintry Queen. All of these barges and vessels aren’t monitored or under any standard to ensure environment standards are maintained.”

Louis says there have also been issues with people accessing the boats through reserve land.

“We have problems with their guests trespassing on reserve lands and it’s only going to escalate,” he said of conflicts between trespassers and band members.

“This is especially true during summer months and at the height of fire season with open fires.”

The band is currently seeking legal advice on boats left in the lake.

“But why are we having to go to this extreme to get resolution on this matter?” he said.

“Why are we always forced by this (provincial) government to react in the only way they understand and that’s through the courts. We should be spending our hard-earned resources on education and other areas that achieve real social and economic benefit and yet we’re forced to spend it in this manner.”

The Fintry Queen was based in Kelowna for many years and provided tours on the lake. It has been evicted from moorage in Kelowna and West Kelowna.

Andy Schwab, Fintry Queen owner, says he is seeking a permanent home for the vessel possibly in Summerland, and it is being stored temporarily over the winter near Vernon.

“It’s perhaps the next safest place on the lake we can get to,” he said, adding that a group of Vernon area residents are lending a hand.

“They are maintaining the anchors properly.”

Schwab says he wasn’t aware that the boat is moored off OKIB land and he says he will contact Louis to discuss the matter further.

“We’re not looking for a permanent home there. The ship is of no value to us sitting there,” he said.

“We don’t want to see it stay there. The game plan is to get it operating.”

Transport Canada says it doesn’t grant approval for moorage of boats.

However, moorage requires permission from the owner of the space (either marina or bed of waterway) occupied by the vessel,” said Daniel Savoie, with agency media relations.

“Vessels moored at anchor also need to comply with the collision regulations.”

Source: http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/news/395462691.html

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Okanagan band pursues legal action over explosives
by Staff Writer - Vernon Morning Star - Oct 5, 2016

Then Okanagan Indian Band is seeking legal action over military explosives.— Image Credit: Photo Submitted

The Okanagan Indian Band is taking Ottawa to court over military explosives.

The band has filed a civil claim in the Supreme Court of B.C. against the attorney general of Canada, the official representative of the Department of National Defence, for what it says is 26 years of refusing remove unexploded ordnances from reserve lands.

“DND and Canada have neglected their duty to remove UXOs. Our band members aren’t able to safely use, or develop these areas,” said Chief Byron Louis.

“The affected lands are prime areas of value for commercial, residential and agricultural uses. We have been patient and made every effort to work with Canada on the timely removal of UXOs, but after nearly three decades of limited clean-up efforts, we are tired of waiting.”

DND used reserve lands for military training, including the firing of live munitions, at various times between 1939 and 1990. Canada

Louis says the lease agreements required DND to clean up and remove military munitions scrap and unexploded ordnances once military use of the area ceased.

Between 1944 and 1973, nine civilians have been killed and three injured from UXOs on the Goose Lake range, Glenemma range and other former ranges in the Vernon area. This August, an explosive was found during a wildfire near Predator Ridge.

"The contamination caused by decades of UXO and munitions scrap in the ground is another key concern; removal of these materials must be accompanied by remediation of the lands," said Louis.

"Chief and council will continue to take progressive steps to resolve the issue of abandoned UXO on reserve lands in an effort to increase the safety and well-being of everyone living in the Okanagan."

Source: http://www.kelownacapnews.com/news/396032841.html

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OKIB hangs red dresses as part of missing, murdered women vigil
by Richard Rolke - Kelowna Capital News - Oct 5, 2016

Carol Chalifoux takes part in the Sisters in Spirit vigil on the Okanagan Indian Reserve Tuesday.— Image Credit: Richard Rolke

Statistics often strip Canada’s murdered and missing aboriginal women of their identities.

An RCMP report indicates there have been about 1,200 women and girls go missing or killed nationally over 30 years, and while the figure may actually be higher, advocates insist the focus must be on the loss of individual lives.

“These women were daughters, mothers and aunts,” said Coola Louis, an Okanagan Indian Band councillor during the Sisters in Spirit vigil Tuesday.

“These women had places in our hearts. They were beautiful women capable of doing beautiful things.”

The Sisters in Spirit National Day of Vigils was part of the See Me, Hear Me, Remember Me Red Dress campaign, with red dresses symbolizing the victims of violence.

“There is greater strength in unity and we’re coming together,” said Glen Louis, one of the organizers.

The Native Women’s Association of Canada says that between 2000 and 2008, aboriginal women and girls represented 10 per cent of all female homicides in Canada but they only make up three per cent of the country’s female population.

“It’s going to take all of us collectively to address this national shame,” said Coola Louis.

For Coun. Allan Louis, action must occur among the younger generations.

“We need to educate our girls and boys about the seriousness of these crimes to our sisters,” he said.

For Joan Vedan, she continues to struggle with the pain caused by her mother’s murder in Vancouver in 1988.

“I wish I could have told her how much I needed her,” said Vedan, who was 18 at the time.

“I hope the government will take care of this issue because it’s a crisis.”

As part of the vigil, red dresses were hung on a fence along Westside Road.

“It’s not just one day that we remember. We remember every day,” said Glenda Louis.

Source: http://www.kelownacapnews.com/news/395978221.html

Blue Divider Line

Fintry Queen moorage draws band criticism
by Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - Oct 2, 2016

The Fintry Queen, which used to be based in Kelowna, is currently moored at the head of Okanagan Lake.— Image Credit: Photo Submitted

The Okanagan Indian Band is increasingly frustrated with boats abandoned off its shore.

The arrival of the Fintry Queen at the head of Okanagan Lake has escalated concerns from the band about vessels moored in the lake.

“There is no less then four barges located in the (Westside Road) area,” said Chief Byron Louis.

“Then across the lake in front of our reserve lands, we have two large vessels. One has been moored off the eastern shore for well over five years and now the Fintry Queen. All of these barges and vessels aren’t monitored or under any standard to ensure environment standards are maintained.”

Louis says there have also been issues with people accessing the boats through reserve land.

“We have problems with their guests trespassing on reserve lands and it’s only going to escalate,” he said of conflicts between trespassers and band members.

“This is especially true during summer months and at the height of fire season with open fires.”

The band is currently seeking legal advice on boats left in the lake.

“But why are we having to go to this extreme to get resolution on this matter?” he said.

“Why are we always forced by this (provincial) government to react in the only way they understand and that’s through the courts. We should be spending our hard-earned resources on education and other areas that achieve real social and economic benefit and yet we’re forced to spend it in this manner.”

The Fintry Queen was based in Kelowna for many years and provided tours on the lake. It has been evicted from moorage in Kelowna and West Kelowna.

Andy Schwab, Fintry Queen owner, says he is seeking a permanent home for the vessel possibly in Summerland, and it is being stored temporarily over the winter near Vernon.

“It’s perhaps the next safest place on the lake we can get to,” he said, adding that a group of Vernon area residents are lending a hand.

“They are maintaining the anchors properly.”

Schwab says he wasn’t aware that the boat is moored off OKIB land and he says he will contact Louis to discuss the matter further.

“We’re not looking for a permanent home there. The ship is of no value to us sitting there,” he said.

“We don’t want to see it stay there. The game plan is to get it operating.”

Transport Canada says it doesn’t grant approval for moorage of boats.

However, moorage requires permission from the owner of the space (either marina or bed of waterway) occupied by the vessel,” said Daniel Savoie, with agency media relations.

“Vessels moored at anchor also need to comply with the collision regulations.”

Source: http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/news/395462691.html

Blue Divider Line

Okanagan band members seek justice for murdered women
by Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - Oct 4, 2016

Carol Chalifoux takes part in the Sisters in Spirit vigil on the Okanagan Indian Reserve Tuesday.— Image Credit: Richard Rolke/Morning Star

Statistics often strip Canada’s murdered and missing aboriginal women of their identities.

An RCMP report indicates there have been about 1,200 women and girls go missing or killed nationally over 30 years, and while the figure may actually be higher, advocates insist the focus must be on the loss of individual lives.

“These women were daughters, mothers and aunts,” said Coola Louis, an Okanagan Indian Band councillor during the Sisters in Spirit vigil Tuesday.

“These women had places in our hearts. They were beautiful women capable of doing beautiful things.”

The Sisters in Spirit National Day of Vigils was part of the See Me, Hear Me, Remember Me Red Dress campaign, with red dresses symbolizing the victims of violence.

“There is greater strength in unity and we’re coming together,” said Glen Louis, one of the organizers.

The Native Women’s Association of Canada says that between 2000 and 2008, aboriginal women and girls represented 10 per cent of all female homicides in Canada but they only make up three per cent of the country’s female population.

“It’s going to take all of us collectively to address this national shame,” said Coola Louis.

For Coun. Allan Louis, action must occur among the younger generations.

“We need to educate our girls and boys about the seriousness of these crimes to our sisters,” he said.

For Joan Vedan, she continues to struggle with the pain caused by her mother’s murder in Vancouver in 1988.

“I wish I could have told her how much I needed her,” said Vedan, who was 18 at the time.

“I hope the government will take care of this issue because it’s a crisis.”

As part of the vigil, red dresses were hung on a fence along Westside Road.

“It’s not just one day that we remember. We remember every day,” said Glenda Louis.

Source: http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/news/395890231.html

Blue Divider Line

Sockeye fry released today
Castanet.net - Darren Handschuh - Jun 13, 2016 | Story: 168097

Mother Nature will get a helping hand today when the Okanagan Indian Band releases thousands of sockeye fry into Okanagan Lake.

The fish will be released into Six Mile Creek – which spills into the lake.

Prayers and songs will be held at 6:30 p.m. with the fish being released at 7 p.m. behind the OKIB fire hall, followed by hotdogs and hamburgers and give aways.

Similar fry releases were also planned for Trout Creek near Summerland and Mission Creek in Kelowna.

The release of sockeye fry at Six Mile Creek is the first release in the northern end of their habitat.

The releases are in recognition and celebration of the Syilx peoples’ continued efforts to bring sockeye salmon back to the Okanagan, and in particular to Okanagan Lake.

According to the Okanagan Nation Alliance, the releases are critical given that sockeye salmon were nearly extinct in the Okanagan basin. In the 1960s, the Columbia River Treaty and other developments led to the creation of industrial reservoirs and the building of hydro-electric developments on the Columbia River, making it impossible for fish passage, while deeply impacting Syilx cultural and food systems.

Years of hard work and political advocacy, particularly in the last decade, have seen the ONA working with provincial, federal and U.S. tribes and agencies to rebuild this sockeye run from 3,000 up to 500,000 salmon returning annually.

The conservation efforts are especially critical as last year’s drought and heatwave devastated an expected robust Okanagan sockeye salmon run.

Source: http://www.castanet.net/news/Vernon/168097/Sockeye-fry-released-today

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Why a private developer got $11M to remove bombs while the Okanagan Indian Band is still waiting
By Charlotte Helston - InfoTel - January 19, 2016

Photo not attached
Clearance work at the Madeline Lake range on Okanagan Indian Band lands in September 2014.

‘THE RICH GET RICHER AND THE FIRST NATIONS ARE LEFT IN THE AVENUES LAID OUT BY THE GOVERNMENT’

VERNON - While a private developer was recently paid an $11-million settlement for land used by the Department of National Defence for weapons training, a First Nation in the same city continues to watch investors walk away while it waits for the department to clean up thousands of acres of prime real estate left littered with explosives.

The Vernon area was used extensively by the Defence Department for military training during and after the Second World War — practices that involved live battle simulations, active firing, and in some cases, very little cleanup. Many thousands of pounds of unexploded explosive ordnances — mortars, grenades, artillery shells and small arms ammunition known collectively as UXO’s — have since been combed from the earth and disposed of, but many more lie buried.

Just ask the Okanagan Indian Band, which pulled 10,000 pounds of UXO from just two acres of land last year. According to band chief Byron Louis, there’s a lot more where that came from, but little help from the Defence Department.

“We’ve been trying to talk to them, trying to work with them to get some sort of movement on this because the land in question is of high economic value,” Louis says.

So far, multiple meetings, trips to Ottawa, and numerous emails has resulted in $125,000 annually for the next four years for clearance work on band land, Louis says. The band’s director of lands and economic development Darcy Aubin says it’s not nearly enough.

“It doesn’t even scratch the surface. For $125,000, I don’t even know if you can clear an acre,” Aubin says.

Not far from the reserve lands sits 1,300 acres bought in 2005 by developer K&L Land Partnerships, which later sued the government after it found out the land was used for weapons training. It was recently paid an $11-million settlement from the Defence Department as compensation for environmental damages.

“If you look at that as K&L bought their land in 2005, and by 2016, they’re going to have it clean and ready for sale, and on top of that receiving $11 million… With them after 11 years getting that type of result, and with us for over 30 years, it pales in comparison,” Louis says.

The settlement was just slightly more than the Defence Department’s annual budget of $10 million for clearance work across Canada.

“Suddenly they went and found $11 million for this one, what’s the difference?” Louis says. “I think it’s more or less that DND takes a risk management approach to this and looks at which one poses the gravest threat and applies what little funding there is to that greatest threat…. It’s a very short-sighted approach.”

Aside from the obvious safety concerns associated with former military training sites, the issue has left the band’s precious lands in limbo.

“My job is to approach developers, but as soon as I let them know there’s UXO on the land, it’s very hard to keep their interest,” Aubin says. “We’re trying to attract someone to come and invest, and they can either come back in 10 years, or invest right next door.”

By that he means the land being developed by K&L Land Partnerships. Like the band’s reserve lands, the property affords sweeping views of the Okanagan Valley and is quite desirable, Aubin says.

“We now have to shift our focus to other areas we can clear quickly enough to actually actualize some profit on those lands,” Aubin says. “It’s the story of the rich get richer and the First Nations are left in the avenues laid out by the government, and those are not attractive avenues.”

It could take years, and likely hundreds of millions of dollars to clear the land to a commercial level — something the band says should have been done long ago.

No one from the Department of National Defence was available for an interview, but it did send an email statement to iNFOnews.ca saying it is "working closely with the leadership of the Okanagan Indian Band to address areas of immediate concern."

“The Department responds as expeditiously as possible to Okanagan Indian Band concerns and requests for risk assessments…. To support the Okanagan Indian Band’s future development plans, DND will continue to assess and initiate clearances once the Band has finalized its economic development implementation plan and timelines.”

Louis isn’t aware of any legal requirement for the band to complete development plans and timelines in order to get the land cleared, and insists the department should clean up what it left behind as soon as possible.

“This is beautiful land,” Louis says. “When you look at that area, it’s such a shame. Just across the valley you have Sparkling Hills, you look at Predator Ridge, and The Rise…. We’ve got equal to or superior in terms of real estate.”

The original lease agreement signed in 1952 states the Defence Department "agrees to remove, or dispose of all duds from the permit area at the termination of any firing practice during which said duds were fired on said permit area." The permit was for one year at a rental rate of $1,450.

“Even back then, (the band) had the foresight to know these were harmful and possibly dangerous materials to have on the reserve, and that clean-up needed to be addressed, which it rightfully should be,” Aubin says.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at chelston "at" infonews.ca or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email mjones "at" infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

Source: http://infotel.ca/newsitem/why-a-private-developer-got-11m-to-remove-bombs-while-the-okanagan-indian-band-is-still-waiting/it26953

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Swan Lake sewer process moves ahead
by Staff Writer - Vernon Morning Star - Nov 16, 2015

All hands were in as partners in a prooposed sewer treatment service met on the shores of Swan Lake.

Engineering consultants have begun the scope of work to explore options for waste water recovery for the Swan Lake commercial corridor, the south Spallumcheen industrial area and portions of the Okanagan Indian Band.

“This partnership provides an opportunity to protect Swan Lake and its surrounding wetlands,” said Janice Brown, Spallumcheen mayor.

“The ability to recover waste water creates a wide range of economic development opportunities”, added Bob Fleming and Mike Macnabb, Regional District of North Okanagan directors.

The jurisdictions are trying to establish relationships together.

“It’s great to be working with our neighbours,” said Byron Louis, OKIB chief.

“More funding opportunities arise when small governments stop competing for provincial and federal grant dollars and start collaborating.”

Further details will be available as the plan develops.

Source: http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/news/350684611.html

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Board offers sewer extension help
by Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - Nov 8, 2015

The prospect of sewer extending into rural jurisdictions is garnering the attention of the Okanagan’s primary water agency.

Areas B and C, Spallumcheen and the Okanagan Indian Band are considering options for sanitary sewer.

“That’s the kind of thing we can help with,” said Anna Warwick Sears, Okanagan Basin Water Board executive director.

OBWB provides grants to communities throughout the valley to upgrade or install sewer systems as a way of shutting down septic systems and flows of phosphorous into lakes.

Beyond issuing its own grants, OBWB will support jurisdictions applying to senior government for infrastructure funds.

“We try to help communities with funds,” said Warwick Sears.

As part of the process, the electoral areas, Spallumcheen and the OKIB will develop a master waste water recovery plan to see if a sewer system is practical and financially sustainable.

Source:  http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/news/342126301.html

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NDP receives FN support
Castanet.net - by Nicholas Johansen | Story: 149499 - Oct 10, 2015

With advanced polls having already opened and only nine days left until election day the NDP has received a large backing of support from British Columbia’s First Nations community.

Angelique Wood, NDP candidate for the mouthful of a riding, Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, met with Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) on Friday at the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology in Merritt.

The meeting, which was open to the public, was an open discussion about Wood and the NDP’s platform, how they will address aboriginal issues, and how they plan on defeating the governing Conservative party.

This comes just two days after the UBCIC threw their weight behind the entire federal NDP platform.

“The NDP platform addresses the key issues of closing the education gap, strengthening Indigenous communities, addressing the housing crisis, prioritizing health care, and growing a sustainable economy,” said Phillip in a statement. “Obviously they listened and carefully considered the needs of Indigenous communities.”

The UBCIC is a political organization founded in 1969 that unites the many First Nations people of B.C.

While Phillip and the UBCIC said they like the NDP platform, their support also stems from their desire to remove Stephen Harper and the Conservatives from power.

“By stark contrast, the Conservatives are attempting to win public support by deliberately fomenting racial divisions within Canadian society,” Phillip said. “Conservative Party member and former MP John Cummins recently rebuked women who have gone missing from Highway 16, mostly Indigenous, for engaging in ‘risky behavior.’ His abusive remarks completely ignore the well-documented impacts of economically marginalized aboriginal communities and institutionalized racism, and are incredibly offensive.”

Phillip made headlines last November by joining the hundreds of protesters on Burnaby Mountain who opposed the Kinder Morgan Pipeline on the mountain. He was arrested, along with dozens of others, for crossing a police line which allowed Kinder Morgan crews to do survey work on the mountain.

All charges stemming from the arrests were later thrown out by the courts.

Phillip said he, along with the UBCIC is hoping for a change in government following the Oct. 19 election.

“On behalf of my 15 grandchildren, I am looking forward to exercising my right to vote on Oct. 19, to get the Harper government out, and encourage everyone to do the same,” he said. “Let’s make real change!”

Source:  http://www.castanet.net/news/BC/149499/NDP-receives-FN-support

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Election 2015: Okanagan Indian Band Watching Federal Election Closely
by Kevin Parnell - Kelowna Capital News - Sep 24, 2015

The Okanagan Indian Band won't be endorsing any political party in this year's federal election for fear that it could have a negative impact on the band's future ability to partner with the federal government.

OKIB chief Byron Louis says aboriginal leaders have been stung in the past by publicly supporting one party over another and he added that he has rarely voted in federal elections because he doesn't want his band to suffer the consequences of supporting the wrong party.

"Asking First Nations at the national level and down to endorse any political party puts us in a very bad position," said Louis. "In the past we have suffered greatly for this. We are not in a position to be critical of anybody because they have a way of making us pay. It's undeniable and a reality for a lot of First Nations. Why take a chance (by voting) if you are going to be penalized for your vote."

Louis pointed to high profile First Nations leaders such as Ovide Mercredi, the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations from 1994 to '97, who had a close relationship to prime minister Brian Mulroney and the Progressive Conservative party. But according to Louis, when the Liberals took power after the PC, funding to to the AFN was slashed.

Louis also said it was the same with national chief Matthew Coon Come (2000 to 2003), who spoke out against PM Jean Chretien and Canada's treatment of aboriginals only to see funding cut by as much as a third the next year.

Louis said while the privacy of individual band member votes would be protected it wouldn't be difficult for the governing party to find out who a particular native band was supporting. But he added as First Nations groups continue to evolve and become more self sufficient with development of its reserve land, the backlash for speaking out may come to an end.

"The current process of punishing First Nations for being outspoken is going to be short-lived," said Louis. "Once First Nations get back on their economic feet they will not have the opportunity to do that. With economic power, you finally get the respect of the powers that be. Up to this date we have been low in economic power but as that grows so does the ability to start to win influence."

Louis said the seven different native bands in the Okanagan (The OKIB, WFN, Penticton, Osoyoos, Upper and Lower Similkameen and Upper Nicola) represent some 5,600 First Nations whose economic power is growing with more and more development on native land. And he said that development also serves to stimulate the local and regional economies.

So while Louis said this year's federal election is important, it's more important that First Nations groups have a solid partnership with whichever party is in power.

"For us there is no denying the importance of every federal election for aboriginal people and this one is no different," he said. "We have to really look at the parties and who actually has the potential for forming government and what the platform is going to be for the next four years."

In terms of issues, Louis said the environment and specifically water is a major issue moving forward, especially for those living within 250 kilometres of the Canada-US border, where the majority of Canada's population resides, putting the most stress on water systems.

"We're quite concerned with the lifting of the protection of water in some of these omnibus bills," he said. "To us that's absurd. To lift restrictions or guidelines to protect water doesn't make sense. It's an important issue for everyone. For First Nations the basis of a lot of our Supreme Court challenges have been fish and aquatic resources. We're very concerned about it and so should everybody else be."

With respect to the federal election Louis said he believes OKIB members are paying close attention to the campaign. But with a small band of about 2,000 members, he says it's not like they can make a huge difference in the vote.

"Without a doubt I really believe that there is a high percentage of our members that are paying attention because whoever is sitting behind the Prime Minister's desk has the ability to affect them," said Louis. "I think our people are watching. But when you take into consideration our numbers, it's not really like we could greatly effect any number of elections in the Okanagan Valley. There are places where First Nations in Canada can make a difference in some northern ridings where First Nations are 40 or 50 per cent of the population. But for a lot of us we are more or less dictated to by demographics."

Source:  http://www.kelownacapnews.com/news/329244511.html

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.pdf icon July 27, 2015 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

4. ADOPTION OF MINUTES

4.1 Regular Board Meeting - July 16, 2015 (All Directors - Unweighted Vote)

It was noted that the review of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's Calls to Action will be done in consultation with UBCM and other local governments who are also reviewing this 'Calls to Action'.

BAKER/STACK
THAT the Regular Board meeting minutes of July 16, 2015 be adopted.

CARRIED Unanimously

-------------------------------

.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio July 27, 2015 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (147 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files July 27, 2015 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Director Item - Director Baker and Stack about Truth and Reconciliation Commission - .wma (1.11 MB)

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.pdf icon July 16, 2015 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

11. DIRECTOR ITEMS

a) Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's Calls to Action report. Discussion ensued regarding the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's Calls to Action report and whether there are actionable areas for consideration by the Regional District.

FINDLATERISTACK
THAT staff be directed to review the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's Calls to Action and report back to the Regional Board with respect to potential actionable areas for the Regional District.

CARRIED Unanimously

-------------------------------

.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio July 16, 2015 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (95.5 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files July 16, 2015 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Director Item - WFN Derrickson asking the board to look at the recommendations made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission - .wma (2.49 MB)

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Chief claims emails deleted
Castanet.net - by The Canadian Press | Story: 141226 - Jun 1, 2015

The Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs alleges that a federal government bureaucrat ordered the destruction of legal opinions over the potential of B.C. First Nations to reach land-claim agreements.

The allegations come days after a former B.C. government worker alleges he was told to delete emails connected to the Highway of Tears investigation into murdered and missing women that were part of a Freedom of Information request.

Union Grand Chief Stewart Phillip claims a federal access to information request shows a director with Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada ordered the destruction of the legal opinions.

Phillip says the union has filed a formal complaint with the Office of the information Commissioner to investigate the destruction of the emails.

Neither the Information Commissioner of Canada nor a spokesperson at Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada were immediately available for comment.

B.C.'s Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham has launched an investigation into the provincial allegations that were filed under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Source: castanet.net/news/BC/141226/Chief-claims-emails-deleted

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'Definition of Indian giving'
Castanet.net - by Jon Manchester | Story: 141043 - May 29, 2015

Chief Byron Louis says he doesn't want to kill the idea of a multi-use trail on the old Okanagan rail corridor – but historical wrongs must be corrected.

In a statement released Friday, Louis said the band sought to postpone the sale ... "not to prevent the creation of a multi-use corridor. We fully recognize the benefits of being closer to nature and experiencing all her beauty; our people have lived in and around this valley for thousands of years for a reason."

The band council attended B.C. Supreme Court hearings in Vancouver this week, seeking an injunction to postpone sale of the corridor by CN to local municipalities.

"We sought an injunction to the sale to put on record that the Okanagan Indian Band was allocated a reserve in 1877 by the Joint Indian Reserve Commission."

He called it an injustice when, 15 years later, the Commonage Reserve IR #9 was taken back for creation of the railroad.

It is, he wrote, "and pardon the expression, the very definition of Indian giving."

A court decision on the injunction is expected Monday.

"Regardless of the decision of Justice Myers ... the OKIB will continue to assert our title and rights to all of our territory," said Louis.

"In 1910 the chiefs of the Okanagan, Shuswap and Thompson joined together and presented a letter to Sir Wilfred Laurier demanding the settlement of the land question. In July of this year, the chiefs of the Interior Alliance are meeting again to discuss matters of mutual importance – and reconciliation will be high on our agenda."

Louis said historical wrongs and long-held beliefs about First Nations people need to be corrected.

"We can’t help but agree with Justice Murray Sinclair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which has studied the effects of the Indian Residential Schools on Canadians, when he said on May 24:

'…at the same time that aboriginal people were being demeaned in the schools and their culture and language were being taken away from them and they were being told that they were inferior…and that they were unworthy of being respected — that very same message was being given to the non-aboriginal children in the public schools as well.'”

We see the end result of that equation almost every day, said Louis.

The chief said he's hoping Okanagan residents can take a page from Vancouver when it comes to making things right.

"Seeking reconciliation with First Nations people is the only way forward without having past injustices continuing to resurface," said Louis. "Reconciliation means taking the time to listen, hear, acknowledge that you understand what has been told to you and be willing to do more about it than say 'it happened a long time ago.'"

Source: castanet.net/news/Vernon/141043/Definition-of-Indian-giving

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OKIB goes to the polls
Castanet.net - by Kevin Rothwell | Story: 136736 - Apr 2, 2015

OKIB Chief Byron Louis 2015
Photo: Contributed - sylix.org
OKIB Chief Byron Louis

Okanagan Indian Band members are voting for a new chief and council today.

There are three people running for chief – incumbent Byron Louis and former chiefs Fabian Alexis and Dan Wilson.

Eighteen people are running for council.

They are: Homer Alexis, Jonathan Alexis, Leona Bonneau, Linda Bonneau, Reynolds Bonneau, Mollie Bono, Lyle Brewer, Valerie Chiba, Dustin Good Water, Tim Isaac, Garett Lawrence, Allan Louis, Cecilia Louis, Coo-la Cachoot Louis, Diane Louis, Sheldon Louis, Raymond Marchand, Guy Robins, Russel Williams, Dan Wilson, Leland Wilson, Patricia Wilson, William Wilson and Maureen Ziprick.

Voting runs until 8 p.m. at the Head of the Lake hall.

A total of 574 band members from both on and off the reserve voted in the last council election.

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Rail purchase plan proceeds despite opposition
by Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - Dec 17, 2014

Proponents of purchasing a railway corridor are staying the course despite high-profile opposition.

The Okanagan Indian Band has come out against the agreement local jurisdictions have signed to purchase the Canadian National line from Coldstream to Kelowna for $22 million. The band insists the corridor is part of an outstanding land claim.

“We have no control over that and we’re working through the rules as we know it. To just stop (the purchase process), we would lose that opportunity,” said Jim Garlick, Coldstream mayor.

“We’re not trying to infringe on anything with the band because we have no powers (with First Nations land claims).”

Juliette Cunningham, Greater Vernon Advisory Committee chairperson, is reluctant to comment on how the band’s opposition may impact the rail purchase.

“We will have to talk to City of Kelowna staff who have been the lead in negotiations,” she said.

Kelowna officials say they were aware of the band’s land claims with the federal government along Wood and Kalamalka lakes.

“Our understanding is that CN has the right to legally dispose of the railway corridor and that this is a land claim issue between the OKIB and senior levels of government,” said Doug Gilchrist, Kelowna’s division director of community planning and real estate.

“The city does not take stands on land claim issues between First Nations and senior levels of government as it's outside of our jurisdiction. The City of Kelowna will continue to work with the OKIB through the joint planning initiative currently underway for the mutual benefits of all our citizens.”

The corridor is part of the Commonage claim, which the band says was created when reserve land was taken away from the band in the late 1800s.

“In our eyes, the resolution of the OKIB’s entitlement to the Commonage Reserve remains outstanding business,” said Byron Louis, Okanagan Indian Band chief.

“We offered the mayors the opportunity to back our claim. First, it would have helped to build much needed bridges between parties and cultures and second, it would have saved the taxpayers $22 million.”

The band has forwarded the issue to legal counsel for further review, but that hasn’t halted optimism among the Okanagan Rail Trail Initiative that a recreational corridor can be developed.

“This doesn’t surprise me because there’s still an unresolved issue,” said Brad Clements, initiative president, of the band’s concerns about the land purchase.

“All of us in the Okanagan need to understand the history and where the band is coming from. It’s part of the process. There will still be a solution.”

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Band's water system upgraded
Vernon Morning Star - Dec 19, 2014

The Okanagan Indian Band’s water system has experienced some upgrades.

Through $4,655,433 from the federal government, the band has received new distribution and supply lines, a pump house, treatment system and reservoir.

“Our government will be funding important upgrades so community members can have the same access to safe and clean water that other Canadians enjoy,” said Colin Mayes, Okanagan-Shuswap MP.

“We recognize that improving water and wastewater systems on reserve is crucial to supporting healthy, self-sufficient and prosperous First Nation communities.”

The Okanagan Indian Band is home to 1,959 members, 823 of whom live on reserve.

“Things grow where water flows and the upgraded water system will certainly help our community grow as we complete our land use plan and work towards further upgrades to our infrastructure,” said Byron Louis, band chief.

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OKIB opposes CN Rail sale
Castanet.net - by Wayne Moore | Story: 129017 - Dec 16, 2014

Photo: Contributed - National Aboriginal Council on Species at Risk National Aboriginal Council on Species at Risk
The Okanagan Indian Band has come out in opposition to the sale of the CN Rail line between Kelowna and Vernon.

In a news release issued late Tuesday afternoon, the OKIB states that, while reports in the media have focused on a 2.5km portion of the line which passes through the Duck Lake Indian Reserve (IR #7) it's the balance of the rail line which the OKIB sought to have returned.

“A significant portion of the line lies within the OKIB’s Commonage Reserve, IR #9,” says OKIB Chief Byron Louis.

"The Commonage Reserve was allotted by the Joint Reserve Commission in 1877 and without consultation, the land was taken back. The OKIB has never lawfully surrendered our title to the land.”

The Okanagan Indian Band advanced a specific claim for the Commonage Reserve in 2002 and while Canada originally accepted the claim for negotiations, they later withdrew the release went on to say.

“In our eyes, the resolution of the OKIB’s entitlement to the Commonage Reserve remains outstanding business,” says Chief Louis.

“We had hoped that the wave of reconciliation from coastal cities like Vancouver would have washed over the Okanagan.”

In 2012, during a land dispute between the Musqueam Indian Band, a land developer and the Province, Mayor Gregor Robertson of Vancouver publicly supported the Musqueam.

A “Year of Reconciliation,” was declared in 2013-2014 by the City of Vancouver and a unanimous vote by the Mayor and Council of Vancouver recognized that the city was founded on unceded First Nations territory.

“We offered the mayors the opportunity to back our claim.

First, it would have helped to build much needed bridges between parties and cultures and second, it would have saved the tax payers $22M.”

The Okanagan Indian Band has forwarded this file to legal counsel for further review and action.

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New land claim seeks massive territory on B.C.'s South Coast, including Stanley Park
by Jeff Lee, Vancouver Sun - Dec 2, 2014

Tiny, unrecognized Hwlitsum First Nation launches ‘novel’ lawsuit

New land claim seeks massive territory on B.C.'s South Coast, including Stanley Park


The tiny Hwlitsum band was formed in 2000 after its chief, Rocky Wilson (pictured here), won a 15-year Supreme Court fight to regain his full Indian status.
Photograph by: Ian Lindsay , Vancouver Sun files
A small group of dispossessed aboriginals in Delta are laying claim to a vast swath of southern Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland, including Stanley Park.

The group members, who have no federal or provincial recognition and no reserve, want their pick of all federal, provincial and municipal lands within the claimed territory.

Saying their territory was wrongly taken after the shelling of a Gulf Islands village by a Royal Navy gunboat in 1863, the Hwlitsum First Nation are claiming in a B.C. Supreme Court action $1 billion each in damages from the provincial and federal governments.

They also want land that has been promised to the Tsawwassen First Nation as part of that group’s treaty settlement agreement.

The case could stall efforts by the federal and provincial governments to resolve long-standing claims by recognized First Nations.

The tiny Hwlitsum band was formed in 2000 after its chief, Ray Wilson, won a 15-year Supreme Court fight to regain his full Indian status. However, Wilson and his extended family, which comprises about 250 people, have been unable to get official federal and provincial recognition of their band, with the result that they remain a First Nation in name only. They have filed a statement of intent with the B.C. Treaty Commission, but their claim has not advanced very far.

Frustrated at the lack of progress and worried that lands they claim may be given to others, the Hwlitsum launched a wide-ranging civil suit on Nov. 7 in which they applied for a large number of injunctions to stop any dispersal of lands that might compromise their claim. In addition to the federal and provincial governments, they named the cities of Vancouver, Richmond and Delta, the Vancouver park board, the Capital Regional District and the Islands Trust, the regional government that oversees the Gulf Islands.

The suit appears to be aimed at preventing the provincial government from transferring land at Brunswick Point in Delta to the Tsawwassen First Nation as part of that group’s treaty settlement agreement. The land borders Canoe Pass, which the Hwlitsum say was the site of an ancestral village the province burned in the 1970s when it expropriated the surrounding lands for the Roberts Bank coal port. The province has agreed to first sell the lands back to farming families they expropriated from in the first place, with the proviso that any lands not sold would then be transferred to the Tsawwassen nation. The Hwlitsum say the land should be offered to them as part of any settlement.

The Hwlitsum say they should be given title to many other lands, including municipally held properties. They specifically say six Hwlitsum members should each be given 160 acres of Stanley Park, or almost all of the 1,001-acre park.

Chief Wilson declined to comment on the case, and his lawyer, Alberta-based Jeffrey Rath, did not reply to an email seeking comment.

The Hwlitsum say they are the descendants of a powerful and feared tribe called the Lamalcha, whose pre-colonial reach extended throughout the southern Strait of Georgia as far up the Fraser River as Yale. Some of those lands, they say, were jointly shared with other Coast Salish tribes. In a 40-page notice of civil claim, they say one of their principal villages was on Kuper Island near present-day Chemainus, which they abandoned in April 1863, when the gunboat HMS Forward shelled it during a dispute. In the ensuing days, several Lamalcha chiefs were captured and hanged, an act the Hwlitsum say would be a war crime today. When colonial powers subsumed and redistributed the Hwlitsum into “Indian bands” — including the Tsawwassen and Musqueam — their true aboriginal title was confused with claims of other nations, they said in their claim.

Last week, a B.C. Supreme Court judge set aside all of the injunction applications the Hwlitsum filed in their claim, pending a challenge from the federal and provincial governments on whether the band has any legal standing. The case will be heard in March.

The judge also ruled that the municipal governments, Capital Regional District, Islands Trust and park board will not have to file any response to the claim until the provincial and federal government challenge has been decided.

The case is far from simple, according to Geoff Plant, a former B.C. attorney-general and the lawyer representing the Tsawwassen First Nation. The Tsawwassen treaty agreement doesn’t take away other First Nations’ aboriginal rights, he said. “The Tsawwassen treaty is not supposed to extinguish anybody else’s aboriginal right. The government can’t do a deal with one First Nation that prejudices another First Nation’s rights. The Hwlitsum are saying, ‘You’ve forgot about us. First you dispossessed us, you forgot about us, and then you ignored us. And now is our time.’”

Plant said it remains to be seen whether the Hwlitsum have a case, but he noted that even without reserves and official recognition, aboriginal people who assert their “Indian-ness” under the Constitution, may have federally protected rights.

“The constitutional question is if you decide to assert your “Indian-ness” and you are truly aboriginal by ancestry, then if you have a group, is that then a First Nation?” he said. “Irrespective of whether or not a government has formally recognized you, if your argument is that you were wrongly excluded, then you go off to court and say governments can’t eliminate our aboriginal rights and title. We exist, we’re here, we’re still here, this is our territory, and you need to make some kind of a declaration that recognizes that.”

The case also has set a precedent for municipalities, according to Reece Harding, a lawyer with Young Anderson who represents both Delta and the Islands Trust.

In the past, First Nations have included provincial and federal lands in their claims, but stopped at municipal governments. The Hwlitsum in this case specifically seek a claim that including those lands.

“This is a novel and serious claim, the first I have seen,” said Harding. “I have never seen a First Nation seeking municipal land before, and it will be of concern to other municipalities.”

Plant also noted that the notice of civil claim doesn’t expressly exclude privately owned land, something that has normally been the case in other land claims cases.

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Okanagan Indian Band clarifies remuneration
by Staff Writer - Vernon Morning Star - Aug 8, 2014

The Okanagan Indian Band’s elected officials are responding to concerns about remuneration.

Federal legislation recently required all First Nations in the country to post online the wages and expenses of chiefs and band councils.

“You can’t make simple comparisons based off of population,” said Chief Byron Louis, with the Okanagan Indian Band.

“Canada has a population of about 35 million and Prime Minister Harper makes more than $300,000 a year, while the U.S. has about 313 million and President Obama makes $400,000 a year; it’s not about population, it’s about responsibilities.”

For the year ended March 31, Louis had a salary of $44,034 and expenses of $39,618 for a total of $83,652.

The total salary and expenses for band councillors were $31,530 for Homer Alexis, $33,012 for Lyle Brewer, $34,727 for June Cole, $31,614 for Tim Isaac, $34,777 for Allan Louis, $37,150 for Coo-La Louis, $39,878 for Diane Louis, $34,097 for Raymond Marchand, $36,038 for Russell Williams and $34,916 for Leland Wilson.

Louis says his council is responsible for all policies relating to health care, education, housing, economic development and territorial stewardship, and their responsibilities do not end at the reserve boundary.

“The needs of our membership often extend beyond the boundaries of our reserves,” said Louis.

“We assist band members from Vernon to Vancouver and beyond and that isn’t the case for a municipality.”

The Okanagan Indian Band has a total registered population of 1,962, with 840 band members residing on reserve lands.

Louis added that municipalities can rely on health authorities, non-profit organizations and school boards to administer health, education, economic development and housing programs.

Regarding remuneration, Louis says he will engage band members at a fall meeting.

“Remuneration is a matter between elected officials and the people they’re accountable to,” said Louis.

“It has been our practice for well over a decade to provide this information to our membership.”

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Landmark Supreme Court ruling grants land title to B.C. First Nation
BY PETER O'NEIL, VANCOUVER SUN JUNE 26, 2014

Landmark Supreme Court ruling grants land title to B.C. First Nation

Chief Roger William talks after a court decision was reached for a Tsilhqot’in Nation land claim case in Victoria on November 21, 2007. The Supreme Court of Canada, in the most important aboriginal rights case in the nation’s history, ruled that the Tsilhqot’in First Nation has title – or owns – 1,750 square kilometres of land in south central B.C.
Photograph by: TROY FLEECE , Regina Leader-Post

OTTAWA — A room full of surprised veteran B.C. Aboriginal leaders erupted in “cheers and tears” after the Supreme Court of Canada, in the most important aboriginal rights case in the country’s history, ruled that the Tsilhqot’in First Nation has title 1,750 square kilometres of land in south central B.C.

The landmark ruling will provide a clear and less onerous roadmap for all unresolved land claims in B.C. and throughout Canada involving First Nations seeking to negotiate modern treaties – or to fight for their land rights in court.

The unanimous ruling from all eight judges was written by Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin.

“Aboriginal title confers the right to use and control the land and to reap the benefits flowing from it,” she found.

However, the ruling also made clear that economic development on title land can continue – either with consent, or if there is no consent when the Crown has proven that the project has a “compelling and substantial” public interest.

The decision was immediately described as by aboriginal leaders as the mark of an epic shift in Canada-First Nations relations, and a signal to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and provincial premiers to take treaty negotiations more seriously.

“This will be a game-changer in terms of the landscape in British Columbia and throughout the rest of the country where there is unextingushed Aboriginal title,” said Jody Wilson-Raybould, regional B.C. chief of the Assembly of First Nations.

“This has to be the wake-up call for governments, both the provincial and federal governments, and we look to Mr. Harper to actually see this as the fundamental impetus to sit down at the table and truly and meaningfully move towards reconciliation.”

“The decision is an opportunity to truly settle, once and for all, the land question in BC -- where our Nations are not simply making claims to the Crown under an outdated federal policy but where there must be true reconciliation based on recognition and where the outcome of negotiations is certain.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, suggested that all economic projects on traditional Aboriginal territories will now require “consent” as well as consultation before they proceed.

That, in turn, will mean problems for the two major proposals to build oil sands pipelines through B.C. on territory claimed by various First Nations.

“We are in an entirely different ballgame,” Phillip, told a Vancouver news conference.

Pipeline proponents Enbridge and Kinder Morgan are “probably back on their heels,” said Phillip, who told journalists that the room full of First Nation leaders exploded into “cheers and tears” after learning of the judgement.

The federal government reacted cautiously, saying it is reviewing the ruling before considering its “next steps” in its relationship with Aboriginal peoples.

“The decision by the Supreme Court of Canada on the appeal filed in the Roger William case involves complex and significant legal issues concerning the nature of Aboriginal title in the Province of British Columbia,” Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt said in a statement.

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.pdf icon June 12, 2014 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting

Nothing is mentioned in the Highlights about about Director Gray discussion about CN Rail Corridor because it was a Director Item (Railway track turned into a trail)

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio June 12, 2014 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (11.3 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files June 12, 2014 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Director Item - Gray, Findlater, Fielding about the railway corridor being a public trail - .wma (4.28 MB)

.pdf icon June 12, 2014 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Nothing is mentioned in the Agenda about Director Gray discussion about CN Rail Corridor because it was a Director Item (Railway track turned into a trail)

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio June 12, 2014 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (11.3 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files June 12, 2014 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Director Item - Gray, Findlater, Fielding about the railway corridor being a public trail - .wma (4.28 MB)

.pdf icon June 12, 2014 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

8. DIRECTOR ITEMS

Director Gray noted that in regards to the CN Rail corridor there is public support to keep the rail line as a public transportation corridor between Kelowna and North Okanagan. The various local governments in the region are reviewing options. A portion of the right-of-way goes through the Okanagan Indian Band lands and that land will revert to the Band.

It was noted that the right-of-way was partially purchased and partially granted to Northern Pacific, the Province took it over and paid to develop the railway and the Federal government paid to lay the track. CN Rail believes the line belongs to them.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio June 12, 2014 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (11.3 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files June 12, 2014 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Director Item - Gray, Findlater, Fielding about the railway corridor being a public trail - .wma (4.28 MB)

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.pdf icon May 26, 2014 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting

Nothing was mentioned in the Highlights about this Director Item - Mayor Gray inviting OKIB Duck Lake reserve to become a non-voting member of the Regional Board.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio May 26, 2014 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (22.2 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files May 26, 2014 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Director Item - Mayor Gray inviting OKIB Duck Lake reserve to become a non-voting member of the Regional Board - .wma (4.61 MB)

.pdf icon May 26, 2014 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

9. DIRECTOR ITEMS

b) Okanagan Indian Band

Director Gray raised the issue as to whether the Okanagan Indian Band (OKIB) should be invited to the Regional Board table as a non-voting member.

Although the Band does not share in service agreements with the RDCO as Westbank First Nation does, their lands border the Regional District in Central Okanagan West Electoral Area, in addition to municipal borders of Lake Country and Kelowna.

GRAY/BAKER
THAT staff be directed to review the merits and any potential concerns to inviting the Okanagan Indian Band to join the Regional Board as a non-voting member and report back to the Board in due course.

CARRIED Unanimously

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio May 26, 2014 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (22.2 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files May 26, 2014 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Director Item - Mayor Gray inviting OKIB Duck Lake reserve to become a non-voting member of the Regional Board - .wma (4.61 MB)

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Township raises concerns on federal policy
By Roger Knox - Vernon Morning Star - October 27, 2013

Proposed amendments to a federal policy on additions to aboriginal reserves and reserve creation has Delta’s mayor and the Township of Spallumcheen concerned.

Delta Mayor Lois E. Jackson sent a letter to all provincial mayors and councils expressing worries about the proposed amendments. The changes, she claims, will have some very significant implications for local governments.

“In particular, the changes will allow First Nations to add lands to their reserves that are outside of their traditional territory,” wrote Jackson.

“The ramifications for a community like ours, which has three reserves nearby, is that we won’t have any veto power,” said township Coun. Todd York.

In her letter, Jackson pointed out seven main points for concern, ranging from the reasons for additions, location of reserve lands, land use, no veto power and net tax loss.

She also stated the proposed amendments are unclear as to how the new policy will impact provincial Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR), as it is not mentioned in the policy document.

“There has to be another side to the story,” said Coun. Andrew Casson. “I can see them wanting to expand into Crown lands, but to move into municipal boundary lands, it’s a completely different structure.

“The complexity of this, to me, is mind boggling. There has to be more to it.”

Coun. Todd York motioned to write a strongly worded letter to MLAs, Premier Christy Clark, B.C. MPs, B.C. senate members and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

“I’d like to see us voice our concerns that we weren’t involved in the process of decision making,” said York. “Before this is rammed down everybody’s throat, I’d like them to invite us and communities like ours to speak on behalf of this.”

York’s motion was unanimously supported.

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OKIB gets funding for energy project
By Staff Writer - Vernon Morning Star - November 01, 2013

The Okanagan Indian Band will benefit from the most recent round of funding under the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund (FNCEBF).

The Okanagan Indian Band is receiving $30,000 in funding to support a Community Energy Plan and Clean Energy Opportunities Assessment Project.

Funding will be used to undertake a community energy plan within the Okanagan Indian Band’s Traditional Territory. The plan will assess solar, wind, biomass and hydropower within the reserve and traditional territory as well as energy-saving opportunities.

“It is wonderful to see this funding going to support the Okanagan Indian Band in their creation of a Community Energy Plan and commitment to an environmentally sustainable energy future,” said Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster. “This funding will provide important opportunities to use traditional territory and the Okanagan Indian Band reservation in a sustainable way.”

Since 2011, the provincial government has invested more than $5.1 million to support clean energy opportunities in over 80 Aboriginal communities across B.C., including wind energy, biomass and run-of-river hydroelectric power.

Clean-energy technology is one of the fastest growing industries in B.C., with more than 200 organizations, 68 per cent of which were formed in the past decade.

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Lake Country backs band planning
Vernon Morning Star - October 9, 2011 - by Richard Rolke

The Okanagan Indian Band's desire for long-term planning has the backing of a neighbour.

Lake Country council will support the band's application to a federal program for land use planning initiatives.

"It's good to see them moving forward," said Mayor James Baker.

The band's Duck Lake reserve is immediately adjacent to the municipal boundaries and Baker says and development there could impact his community.

"We'd like to see them get some projects that provide them with revenue and we are pleased to provide them with services," said Baker referring to water and planning assistance.

Sewer services would likely be available form the City of Kelowna which encompasses the reserve lands.

The band is seeking funds from the federal B.C. Capacity Initiative.

The program, which is funded by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, helps bands prepare for consultation, negotiation and management of land and resources as part of current or future aboriginal title settlement agreements.

All B.C. First Nations with unresolved land claims are eligible to apply for funds.

Under the B.C. Capacity Initiative the maximum amount of funding that can be requested for a proposal that is submitted on behalf of one First Nation community or organization is $75,000 for one fiscal year. The maximum funding available for a regional proposal that is submitted on behalf of several First Nation communities is $200,000 for one fiscal year.

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Central district backs Band expansion plan
Vernon Morning Star - By Staff Writer - June 12, 2011

The Okanagan Indian Band’s expansion plans are garnering support from a local jurisdiction.

On Thursday, Regional District of Central Okanagan directors gave conditional support to the band’s proposal to add 1,088 hectares of land to its reserve on the west side of Okanagan Lake.

“Four properties totalling 84 hectares are owned by the band and are located northwest of Westshore Estates within the Central Okanagan West Electoral Area,” said Bruce Smith, RDCO communications co-ordinator.

The remainder of the land is within the Regional District of North Okanagan.

The band is in year eight of a 10-year process to have the federal Department of Aboriginal Affairs add the land to the reserve.

The land in question is known as the Beau Park Ranch, and it was purchased in 2002 using funds from a land claims settlement. The settlement was for 1,147 acres removed from the reserve in 1881.

RDCO’s support is conditional on protection and exclusion of road rights-of-way and retention of unrestricted public access to adjacent private and Crown land.

The district also wants the band to host an open house to advise the community of the possible implications of the proposed reserve expansion.

Beau Park Ranch would increase the Okanagan Indian Band’s total reserve land base to about 28,000 acres.

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.pdf icon June 9, 2011 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Regional Board Meeting

Okanagan Indian Band Reserve Expansion

The Regional Board has given conditional support to an application from the Okanagan Indian Band to Indian and Northern Affairs Canada to a proposed expansion of its Reserve #1. The Band wants to add approximately 1,088-hectares of land to its reserve. Four properties totalling 84-hectares are owned by the Band and are located northwest of Westshore Estates within the Central Okanagan West Electoral Area. The Band indicates the reserve expansion is related to its 2002 settlement of a boundary claim acknowledging a historical survey error of its reserve.

The Board support is conditional on protection and exclusion of road rights of way, retention of unrestricted public access to adjacent private and Crown land and that the Band host a Public Open House to advise the community of the implications of the proposed reserve expansion.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio June 9, 2011 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (25 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files June 9, 2011 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about the OKIB Reserve Expansion - .wma (232 KB)

.pdf icon June 9, 2011 Regional District of Central Okanagan Special Board Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Item 5.1 Indian and Northern Affairs Canada - OKIB.pdf

*Note* This is only a snippett of the 13 pages, click link above for the entire contents

Agenda No: 5.1
Mtg. Date: June 09, 2011

DEVELOPMENT SERVICES DEPARTMENT REPORT For the Regional Board June 9th, 2009

TO: Chair & Members of the Regional Board
FROM: Ron Fralick, Planner 1
DATE: May 30,2011
SUBJECT: Indian and Northern Affairs Canada referral to consider addition of lands to Okanagan Indian Reserve (I.R.) No.1 (Our File: 0400-60)
LOCATION: The four (4) parcels within the Central Okanagan West Electoral Area of the Regional District of Central Okanagan are located northwest of Westshore Estates.
LEGAL: Within RDCO; Lot 3, DL's 913, 3788, & 3912, ODYD, Plan 33458, except Plan H18677; Lot 12, DL's 3788 & 4068, ODYD, Plan 33459; Lot 5, DL's 3788, 4067, & 4068, ODYD, Plan 33459; and Lot 2, DL's 4067 & 4068, ODYD, Plan 33459

RECOMMENDATION:
THAT the Regional Board conditionally supports Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) referral for the addition of private parcels within the Regional District of Central Okanagan to I.R. #1 subject to the following:
>- That the road right-of-ways of Beau Park Road, Gates Road, Bouleau Lake Road, and Whiteman's Creek Road are protected and excluded from the proposed addition to I.R. #1, as per the June 11, 2009 comments from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure;
>- Retention of unfettered public access, as per the May 11, 2009 comments from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (formerly Ministry of Forests and Range);
>- Issues and concerns of other key agencies are unknown at this time and should be taken into consideration by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (ie: Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations);
>- That the Okanagan Indian Band be required to hold a Public Open House to advise the community of the implications of the addition-to-reserve proposal;

AND FURTHER THAT the Development Services Department Report dated May 30, 2011 be forwarded to Indian and Northern Affairs Canada for their information and consideration.

PURPOSE:
To consider a proposal from Indian and Northern Affairs to allow the addition of approximately 84 ha (208 acres) of private lands within the RDCO to Okanagan Indian Reserve (I.R.) No.1.

BACKGROUND:
The Okanagan Indian Band has requested that Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) add lands to Okanagan I.R. No.1 (the Reserve). The four (4) parcels within the Central Okanagan West Electoral Area of the Regional District of Central Okanagan are adjacent to Beau Park Rd., Gates Rd., Whiteman Creek Rd., and Bouleau Lake Rd. northwest of Westshore Estates. The remaining lands that form part of the referral are located within the North Okanagan Regional District (NORD).

Of the 1088 hectares of land under review, approximately 84 ha (208 acres) are located within the RDCO.

The Regional Board at their meeting of June 22, 2009 recommended non-support of the Indian and Northern Affairs referral due to a number of concerns. The concerns are noted in the June 22, 2009 Board resolution which is appended to the report.

Subsequent to June 2009, the Okanagan Indian Band requested in their letter of February 4, 2011 that they be provided with an opportunity to make a presentation to the Regional Board to provide additional information and convince the Board to support their addition-to-reserve status.

The Board heard from the Okanagan Indian Band at their meeting of March 21, 2011 and the Board agreed to reconsider its original resolution (Resolution #153/09) and directed staff to provide a report on the issues raised on June 22, 2009 and the items raised by the Board and OKIB at the March 21, 2011 meeting (A copy of the Board minutes related to this matter is attached).

Regional District staff met with representatives of the Okanagan Indian Band on April 4, 2011 and it was agreed that the Band would provide additional information in order to satisfy the request of the Regional Board. To this end, the attached letter from the Chief of the Okanagan Indian Band was received on May 19, 2011. In summary, the letter provides further information concerning settlement and historic confirmation, the addition-to-reserve process, road access issues, future land use of the subject lands, and public consultation planned by the Band.

RELEVANT INFORMATION:
APPLICANT: Okanagan Indian Band
ZONING: Lands within RDCO are zoned Ai Agricultural and RU2 Rural 2
OCP: Lands within RDCO are designated Agriculture & Large Holding
EXISTING USE: Unknown (Privately owned on behalf of Okanagan Indian Band)
ALR: Partly within the ALR

KEY AGENCY REFERRALS (Provided to the Board on June 22, 2009):

The Ministry of Forests and Range is primarily concerned with the transfer of private land to reserve status and the impact for access to range and forest resources. Once transferred, addition of the lands to reserve status is under Federal authority and the Ministry loses any rightsof-way, non-gazetted roads, structure or buildings that are not identified.

Specifically, they advise that the primary access to the Whiteman Creek, Naswhito and Bouleau FSR's is via Beau Park and Whiteman Creek Roads which are identified as passing through the proposed area. They recommend that clearances be created for these roads to ensure unfettered public and industrial access to the Forest Road systems. Access to these roads is critical to Ministry tenure holders (timber and range) as well as for fire control.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure advises that they have no objection subject to the road right-of-ways for Beau Park Road, Gates Road, Bouleau Lake Road, and Whiteman
Creek Road being protected and excluded from the proposed addition to I. R. No.1.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Lands advises that it is their understanding that the small segments of lands that are currently within the ALR will remain in the ALR after being added to the Reserve. Therefore their interests are unaffected by the proposal.

The Agricultural Land Commission notes that portions of the lands identified on the detailed map appended to the application are situated within the ALR. The Commission also wishes to advise that portions of the subject lands formed part of an application in 1980 (Beaupark Ranch Ltd.) to subdivide six large parcels into 28 parcels.  The Commission believed that the subdivision proposal would represent an intrusion of small parcels into a ranching area leading to the reduction of the overall long-term agricultural potential of the lands under application. The Commission refused the application.

Westbank First Nation advises that the subject lands and resources fall within Westbank First Nation's traditional territory. WFN fully supports the acquisition of the lands in order that they are added to Okanagan Indian Reserve No.1.

PLANNING STAFF COMMENTS:
Notwithstanding the new information provided by the Okanagan Indian Band, Planning staff continues to have concerns with the proposal to add the subject parcels to I.R. #1 as this will result in segregation of this rural community. As noted on the map appended to the referral, the subject parcels within the RDCO are not contiguous. Parcels under RDCO jurisdiction will be subject to all of our bylaws and requirements pertaining to land development, while the lands proposed for reserve status will be subject to different standards and requirements.

This scenario could ultimately result in varying and conflicting land uses within the same geographic community. While the Okanagan Indian Band indicates in their May 17, 2011 letter that they have committed to holding a Public Open House regarding the addition-to-reserve status proposal, there is no legislated requirement that we are aware of mandating the Band to complete future public consultation related to land use changes on the newly established reserve lands.

With respect to road access concerns, the May 17, 2011 letter indicates that the proposed reserve lands have been surveyed so as to exclude certain roads and these excluded roads will not be transferred to reserve status. These roads have not been identified by the Band and Planning staff continues to concur with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure in that protection and exclusion of the road right-of-ways for the four roads (noted earlier) forms part of the approval.

In addition, the Ministry of Forests and Range recommended that unfettered public and industrial access to the Forest Road systems is secured. Access to these roads is critical to Ministry tenure holders (timber and range) as well as for fire control. These roads also provide public access for numerous recreational opportunities on Crown lands to the west.

Of final note, issues and concerns of other key agencies (ie: Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts) continue to be unknown at this time and should be taken into consideration by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada.
In recognition of the above, the Development Services Department recommends that the Regional Board offer conditional support to the Indian and Northern Affairs Canada referral, as per the Recommendation section at the beginning of the report.

Respectfully submitted,
Ron Fralick, MCIP
Planner 1

Dan Plamondon, Director of Development Services

Attach.
RF/th

don't forget to click link above for the entire 13 pages

 

Map of Beau Park - OKIB Reserve Expansion - DRAFT
This map also shows where RDCO (Central Okanagan) and NORD (North Okanagan) border meet.

Map of Beau Park - OKIB reserve expansion - DRAFT

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio June 9, 2011 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (25 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files June 9, 2011 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about the OKIB Reserve Expansion - .wma (232 KB)

.pdf icon June 9, 2011 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regional Board Meeting Minutes

5. DEVELOPMENT SERVICES

5.1 Report regarding Indian & Northern Affairs Canada addition of land to Okanagan Indian Reserve No.1 (File No. 0400-60) (Unweighted Vote All Directors)

Staff report dated May 30, 2011 outlined the referral application from Indian & Northern Affairs Canada to consider addition of lands to the Okanagan Indian Reserve IR No.1. It was noted that the Band attended the March 21, 2011 Board meeting requesting that the Regional Board reconsider their original resolution of June 22, 2009 opposing the addition of the subject lands.

The Chief of the Okanagan Indian Band forwarded a letter to the Regional District on May 19, 2011 providing further information as requested by the Regional Board.

SHEPHERD/OPHUS
THAT the Regional Board conditionally supports Indian and Northern Affairs Canada referral for the addition of private parcels within the Regional District of Central Okanagan to I.R. #1 subject to the following:

• That the road right-of-ways of Beau Park Road, Gates Road, Bouleau Lake Road, and Whiteman's Creek Road are protected and excluded from the proposed addition to 1.R.#1, as per the June 11, 2009 comments from the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure;
• Retention of unfettered public access, as per the May 11, 2009 comments from the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources (formerly B.C. Ministry of Forests and Range);
• Issues and concerns of other key agencies are unknown at this time and should be taken into consideration by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (ie: B.C. Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations);
• That the Okanagan Indian Band be required to hold a Public Open House to advise the community of the implications of the addition-to-reserve proposal.

AND FURTHER THAT the Development Services Department report dated May 30, 2011 be forwarded to Indian and Northern Affairs Canada for their information and consideration.

CARRIED

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio June 9, 2011 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (25 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files June 9, 2011 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about the OKIB Reserve Expansion - .wma (232 KB)

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Province targets racism
Vernon Morning Star - By Staff Writer - June 03, 2011

Vernon is gaining a hand to help residents embrace each other’s differences.

The province is investing $47,000 in two Vernon organizations to inspire individuals to welcome, accept and embrace differences while promoting harmonious, safe communities.

Vernon and District Immigrant Services Society will receive $25,000 for Interfaith Bridging, while the Social Planning Council for the North Okanagan will receive $22,000 to go towards combatting hate and racism.

“We are a multicultural society and bridging the gaps between cultures can only make us stronger. These grants and these organizations help us create a more tolerant and inclusive B.C.,” said Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster

Some of the goals of the program:

•Promotion of tolerance for other people’s values, including faith, spirituality, culture, ethnicity and racial identities builds closer communities.

•Freedom of religious beliefs and cultural expressions is the right of all Canadians.

•By celebrating cultural diversity, everyone benefits.

•Almost 30 per cent of British Columbians emigrated from another country.

•One quarter of people in B.C. are visible minorities, and five per cent identify as Aboriginal.

•The most ethnically diverse province in Canada, B.C. welcomes nearly 40,000 new immigrants every year.

•Since 2002, the Province has invested $7.9 million toward multiculturalism and anti-racism programs.

•During that same period, the Province has invested more than $2.2 million through EmbraceBC to help 65 communities promote multiculturalism and address issues of racism and hate.

•EmbraceBC is part of WelcomeBC, the province’s strategic immigration framework. EmbraceBC funding is provided by the Province and the Government of Canada through the Agreement for Canada-B.C. Co-operation on Immigration.

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OKIB election results
The Okanagan Indian Band has a new Chief.
AM 1150 News - 4/3/2011 - by Matt Folkard - Kelowna
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Okanagan Indian Band has a new Chief.

Chief Bryon Louis won in a landslide, nearly tripling 2nd place Reynold Bonneau, in Saturdays election.

Homer B Alexis received the most nods for council , 250, and he will be joined by 9 other successful candidates on council.

Louis replaces Fabian Alexis as Chief.

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Chief seeks fourth term
Vernon Morning Star - By Staff Writer - April 01, 2011

Okanagan Indian Band members head to the polls Saturday to elect a new council.

There are four candidates for chief and 33 candidates for the 10 councillor positions on the ballot.

Three-term chief Fabian Alexis is being challenged by former chief Reynolds Bonneau, John (Wilkey) Louie and Byron Louis, for the two-year position.

The candidates for councillor include Homer Alexis, Coreen Bernier, Raymond Bonneau, Phyllis Bonneau-Miller, Mollie Bono, Lyle Brewer, Molly Brewer, Valerie Chiba, Bill Cohen, Barbara (June) Cole, Dustin Goodwater, Nelson Gregoire, Stephen Isaac, Tim Isaac, William Lawrence, Allan Louis, Cool-la Cachoot Louis, Diane Louis, Donald Louis and Frank Louis.

Also on the ballot for council are Bernard Marchand, Peter (Bert) Marchand, Rachel Marchand, Raymond Marchand, Bernadene Marchand-Brown, Susan Oliverius-Marchand, Rhoda Poschenrieder, Emery Robbins Sr., Jon (Jack) Spotted Eagle, Vernon Tronson, Russell Williams, Leland Wilson and William Wilson.

Polls will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Head of the Lake Hall.

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RDCO Board highlights
Castanet.net - by Contributed - Story: 60991 - Mar 23, 2011

The following are highlights from the Regional District of Central Okanagan Board meeting held Monday, March 21, 2011.

Okanagan Indian Band Reserve Expansion - The Regional Board has received a presentation from two Councillors of the Okanagan Indian Band regarding a proposed expansion of its Reserve #1. In 2009, the Regional Board citing a number of concerns opposed the band’s application to Indian and Northern Affairs Canada to add 1,088-hectares to the band reserve. Four of the parcels totalling approximately 190-hectares are privately owned by the band and are located within the Central Okanagan West Electoral Area adjacent to Westshore Estates. The Board has authorized Regional District Development Services staff to meet with the band staff regarding the reserve expansion request and to prepare an updated report for Board consideration.

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Band pursues expansion of reserve lands
Vernon Morning Star - By Richard Rolke - March 25, 2011

Members of the Okanagan Indian Band are navigating bureaucracy to ensure a future land base.

The band is in year eight of a 10-year process to have 1,088 hectares it owns on the west side of Okanagan Lake officially designated as reserve.

“It’s a long and drawn out process with Indian and Northern Affairs Canada,” said Chief Fabian Alexis.

The Beau Park Ranch was purchased in 2002 using funds from a land claims settlement with the federal government. The settlement was for 1,147 acres removed from the reserve in 1881.

The ranch would increase the reserve land base to about 28,000 acres.

“When the lands were purchased, there was the thought that there would be land for future generations around the issue of housing,” said Alexis.

“It will benefit our band in that way.”

Environmental assessments have been completed and consultation is underway with other jurisdictions.

On Monday, band councillors made a presentation to the Central Okanagan Regional District about the proposed expansion of reserve land.

Of the 1,088 hectares, four parcels totalling 190 hectares are adjacent to Westshore Estates and within CORD’s boundaries.

CORD opposed the application in 2009, but it has now decided to consider the matter further.

“We want to go forward and have staff look at it in conjunction with the band,” said Jim Edgson, North Westside Road director.

“We don’t have enough information and we want some points clarified.”

Among the concerns that have arisen from CORD are lost taxes and road access into the area.

Edgson believes the road issue can be addressed.

“What we have to make sure that we do is that any judgements we make are thoughtful and fair,” he said.

Alexis says the band is looking at how to maintain road access, and he insists taxation should not be a reason to oppose reserve status.

“They are looking at their tax dollars but there are very few tax dollars coming from those lands because it’s raw and there is nothing on it,” said Alexis.

“Currently, we do pay taxes on those properties.”

Most of the Beau Park Ranch is located in the North Okanagan Regional District.

In 2009, NORD received a referral from the federal government about the band’s proposal. A firm position was not taken on adding land to the reserve.

“One property has taxable improvements on it, the remaining properties have no taxable improvements according to the 2009 B.C. Assessment Authority tax rolls,” said then-planner Steve Noakes in a letter to INAC.

“The regional district has no infrastructure within this area and there are no community water or community water systems to service the properties. Roads are within the jurisdiction of the province.”

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.pdf icon March 21, 2011 Regional District of Central Okanagan Highlights of the Regular Board Meeting

Okanagan Indian Band Reserve Expansion

The Regional Board has received a presentation from two Councillors of the Okanagan Indian Band regarding a proposed expansion of its Reserve #1.

In 2009, the Regional Board citing a number of concerns opposed the band’s application to Indian and Northern Affairs Canada to add 1,088-hectares to the band reserve. Four of the parcels totalling approximately 190-hectares are privately owned by the band and are located within the Central Okanagan West Electoral Area adjacent to Westshore Estates.

The Board has authorized Regional District Development Services staff to meet with the band staff regarding the reserve expansion request and to prepare an updated report for Board consideration.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio March 21, 2011 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting .mp3 (165 MB)

.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio March 21, 2011 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting revised .mp3 (176 MB)

Windows Media Player File Icon - Click here for help with the audio files March 21, 2011 audio of RDCO Board meeting of just the revised section that was added later .wma (2.47 MB)

Windows Media File Icon March 21, 2011 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about the OKIB Reserve Expansion .wma (13.9 MB)

.pdf icon March 21, 2011 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

5. DELEGATIONS

5.1 Okanagan Indian Band (ONIB) - Councillors Raymond Marchand and Tim Isaac re: Addition to Okanagan IR#1 - Laura Demers Okanagan Indian Band in its letter of February 4, 2011 requested a delegation to discuss the Regional District's opposition to the addition of the subject lands to I. R. No.1. The opposition to the addition was provided to Indian and
Northern Affairs Canada in 2009.

Councillor Marchand addressed the Board noting:
- ONIB wants better dialogue between the two governments
- Four Regional Board members supported the addition to reserve, and now requests a new resolution of support in light of information provided today.
- This is a result of a specific claim filed over two decades ago. Believe portions of land were illegally excluded.
- Land which is being added to reserve constitutes a relatively small acreage.

Land is being returned as a result of unlawfully excluded from reserve before the regional district existed.
- Integral part of claim Canada conceded was valid.
- Want to work out practical solutions from issues raised in Board resolution.
-No forestry road in the area.
-Zoning issues--will not be subject to ALR and zoning requirements.

Bylaws don't apply to reserve lands. Willing to sit down to address issues how lands will be developed.
- Willing to sit down to work out a protocol between the governments to help harmonize land use decisions.
- Want contiguous Band lands. Canada said that the lands are to be touching but they are not - Canada considers in this instance they are.
- The North Okanagan Regional District is not opposed to the addition to lands.

Discussion:
Very positive that dialogue has started.
Is it possible for the Band to hold an information meeting for residents in the area? Yes, this could be done.
Majority of the land is within the North Okanagan Regional District.
Residents have expressed concern in the past with regard to road access.
Information blocks have been done in the past regarding other issues.
ONIB has never blocked road access.

Staff reviewed the lots identified. Lots are privately owned by the band. One lot is in the ALR. ONIB bought the lands and now want to move them to reserve status.
How is the land contiguous? They aren't in this area but it is as a whole these are remnant pieces.

The error by Canada was made off Rattlesnake Point not these lands. In a land settlement with Canada monies were offered by Canada but the Band asked for lands to be moved to reserve status. The Band is now requesting other lands be added to reserve. The Band bought the lands and now want them transferred to reserve.

Need staff report to revisit the issue and report back on ie: historical information; confirm process currently in place; confirm road access issues; what future land use is being planned by the Band; and what public consultation process is planned by the Band.

Is there a timeline for response? June 12 is the deadline for ONIB so a response would be appreciated as soon as possible.

The delegation was thanked for their presentation. Chair Hobson noted the Regional District is willing to continue discussions with the Band that can lead to establish principles and benchmarks for a Protocol Agreement between the two governments, The Administrator will contact ONIB for discuss this further.

FINDLATER/EDGSON
THAT the February 4, 2011 letter from the Okanagan Indian Band regarding Addition to Okanagan I.R #1 be received;

AND THAT the Regional Board reconsider its original resolution #153/09 in opposition to the addition of the subject lands to I,R No, 1;

AND FURTHER THAT staff be directed to provide a report on the issues raised on June 22, 2009 and further considering the items raised by the Board and the Okanagan Indian Band at the March 21, 2011 meeting.

CARRIED

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio March 21, 2011 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting .mp3 (165 MB)

.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio March 21, 2011 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting revised .mp3 (176 MB)

Windows Media Player File Icon - Click here for help with the audio files March 21, 2011 audio of RDCO Board meeting of just the revised section that was added later .wma (2.47 MB)

Windows Media File Icon March 21, 2011 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about the OKIB Reserve Expansion .wma (13.9 MB)

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Full slate for Indian Band election
Vernon Morning Star - By Staff Writer - March 20, 2011

Okanagan Indian Band members will have numerous options when they head to the polls April 2.

There are four candidates for mayor and 33 candidates for the 10 councillor positions.

Three-term chief Fabian Alexis is being challenged by former chief Reynolds Bonneau, John (Wilkey) Louie and Byron Louis, for the two-year position.

There are 33 candidates for the 10 council positions.

They are Homer Alexis, Coreen Bernier, Raymond Bonneau, Phyllis Bonneau-Miller, Mollie Bono, Lyle Brewer, Molly Brewer, Valerie Chiba, Bill Cohen, Barbara (June) Cole, Dustin Goodwater, Nelson Gregoire, Stephen Isaac, Tim Isaac, William Lawrence, Allan Louis, Cool-la Cachoot Louis, Diane Louis, Donald Louis, Frank Louis, Bernard Marchand, Peter (Bert) Marchand, Rachel Marchand, Raymond Marchand, Bernadene Marchand-Brown, Susan Oliverius-Marchand, Rhoda Poschenrieder, Emery Robbins Sr., Jon (Jack) Spotted Eagle, Vernon Tronson, Russell Williams, Leland Wilson and William Wilson.

There will be an all candidates forum Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Head of the Lake Hall.

The April 2 poll will be held at the Head of the Lake Hall from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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OIB supports Phillip for president
Castanet.net - by Contributed - Story: 56584 - Aug 29, 2010

In a release issued Friday, Chief Fabian Alexis announced the Okanagan Indian Band will be supporting Grand Chief Stewart Phillip at the upcoming Union of BC Indian Chiefs election for the top position as president during the Annual General Assembly.

“Grand Chief Stewart Phillip has ably demonstrated he has the knowledge, experience and integrity of character to effectively deliver the mandate and principles of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs,” says Alexis.

“I always appreciate and admire Grand Chief’s immediate willingness and fully committed support to assist when called upon and never once have I witnessed Stewart to quit any fight when things get tough.”

Alexis says Grand Chief Stewart Phillip shows passion in resolving the “Land Question” and boldness to protect and defend Indigenous Title.

"This has been demonstrated over and over on the front line protests in many communities throughout, including support at the Okanagan Indian Band’s front line protest and struggle over the Brown’s Creek Watershed (Wilson Litigation Court Case), which remains to be front and centre at the Supreme Court level."

He says the Wilson Litigation is a Title and Right’s case and started in 1999 by former Chief Dan Wilson and before the courts since 2003.

"Throughout the entirety of the Okanagan Nation’s protection of this priceless area, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip has stood alongside the Okanagan People to protect our lands and water."

He says with Stewart’s knowledge and experience in numerous negotiations with different levels of governments, they are able to remain focused and committed to the larger goals that will confidently set the bar for other Indigenous people that are in similar circumstances and feel the importance to continue in this route.

“Certainly we are moving in the right direction, with over 40 Supreme Court Cases successfully won in favour of First Nations, however, we are not done, and we have to accomplish what we set out to do. We need to be relentless and vigorous in getting this across to the people of Canada and on the international level that denial, denial, denial will not be tolerated by the Governments of Canada and BC.”

"The forthcoming path is instrumental to accomplishing our goals through recognition and resolution of title and land issues, and, we, the Okanagan Indian Band is fully supportive re-electing Grand Chief Stewart Phillip as president of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs."

The Assembly runs from September 15 - 17 in Vancouver.

The Okanagan Indian Band has a membership comprising over 1790 Band members.

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June 22, 2009 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Board Meeting

Reserve Expansion Application

The Regional Board will advise Indian and Northern Affairs Canada that it is opposed to an application from the Okanagan Indian Band to extend its reserve.

The application requests the addition of approximately 1,088-hectares of land including 84- hectares on four parcels within the Central Okanagan West Electoral Area. The Regional Board has a number of concerns including the loss of bylaw
protection and the potential loss of Agricultural Land Commission jurisdiction for the subject properties. It also supports concerns raised by the Ministry of Forests and Range and Ministry of Transportation that public access on roads within the proposed area should be retained and unrestricted.

June 22, 2009 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Agenda

Item 6.5 Indian and Northern Affairs Canada application.pdf

*Note* This is only a snippett, please click link above for entire 8 pages

Agenda No: 6.5
Mtg. Date: June 22, 2009

DEVELOPMENT & ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES DEPARTMENT REPORT

For the Regional Board June 22nd, 2009

TO: Chair & Members of the Regional Board
FROM: Ron Fralick, Planner 1
DATE: June 15, 2009
SUBJECT: Indian and Northern Affairs Canada referral to consider addition of lands to Okanagan Indian Reserve (I.R.) No.1 (Our File: 0400-60)
LOCATION: The four (4) parcels within the Central Okanagan West Electoral Area of the Regional District of Central Okanagan are located northwest of Westshore Estates.
LEGAL: Within RDCO; Lot 3, DL's 913, 3788, & 3912, ODYD, Plan 33458, except Plan H18677; Lot 12, DL's 3788 & 4068, ODYD, Plan 33459; Lot 5, DL's 3788, 4067, & 4068, ODYD, Plan 33459; and Lot 2, DL's 4067 & 4068, ODYD, Plan 33459

RECOMMENDATION:
THAT the Board of Directors of the Regional District of Central Okanagan advises Indian and Northern Affairs Canada of the following issues and concerns related to the addition of the subject lands to I.R. No.1;

>- Retention of unfettered public access, as per comments from the Ministry of Forests and Range and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure;
>- If approved, the subject lands will not be subject to RDCO Bylaws and requirements (ie: subdivision and Environmental Development Permit provisions of the North Westside OCP);
>- Subject parcels within RDCO are not contiguous; this will result in inconsistent land use requirements for neighbouring property owners in the Beau Park Rd., Gates Rd., Whiteman Creek Rd., and Bouleau Lake Rd. areas that are subject to RDCO Bylaws;
>- The Land Commission previously refused an application in 1980 for subdivision within the ALR that included several of the subject parcels. Once added to the Reserve, provisions of the Agricultural Land Commission Act may no longer be applicable for those lands within the ALR (based on Federal jurisdiction and previous case law);
>- Issues and concerns of other key agencies are unknown at this time and should be taken into consideration by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (ie: Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts).

AND FURTHER THAT the Development & Environmental Services Department Report dated June 15, 2009, be forwarded to Indian and Northern Affairs Canada for their information and consideration.

PURPOSE:
To consider a proposal from Indian and Northern Affairs to allow the addition of lands to Okanagan Indian Reserve (I.R.) No.1.

POLICY:
There is no formal Board policy that applies to the proposal.

RATIONAL:
~ If approved, the subject lands will not be subject to RDCO Bylaws and requirements (ie: subdivision and Environmental Development Permit provisions of the North Westside OCP);
~ Subject parcels within the RDCO are not contiguous. This will result in confusing and conflicting land use requirements for neighbouring property owners in the area that will continue to be subject to RDCO Bylaws and requirements;
~ Significant issues and concerns related t6 retention of unfettered public access have been identified by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, Ministry of Forests and Range and the Regional District;
~ Issues and concerns of other key agencies (ie: Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts) are unknown at this time and should be taken into consideration by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada.

BACKGROUND:
The Okanagan Indian Band has requested that Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) add lands to Okanagan I.R. NO.1 (the Reserve). The four (4) parcels within the Central Okanagan West Electoral Area of the Regional District of Central Okanagan are adjacent to Beau Park Rd., Gates Rd.; Whiteman Creek Rd., and Bouleau Lake Rd. northwest of Westshore Estates. The remaining lands that form part of the referral are located within the North Okanagan Regional District (NORD).

Of the 1088 hectares of land under review, approximately 84 ha (208 acres) are located within the RDCO. It appears that a large portion of Lot 3, Plan 33458 is located within the ALR. The subject parcels within RDCO & within NORD are highlighted on the attached 'Beau Park Properties - DRAFT' referral map (dated November 2006).

RELEVANT INFORMATION:
APPLICANT: Okanagan Indian Band
ZONING: Lands within RDCO are zoned A1 Agricultural and RU2 Rural 2
OCP: Lands within RDCO are designated Agriculture & Large Holding
EXISTING USE: Unknown (Privately owned on behalf of Okanagan Indian Band)
ALR: Partly within the ALR

AGENCY REFERRALS:

The Parks Department, Inspections and Engineering staff has no specific comments or objections to the application.

The City of Kelowna indicates that their interests are unaffected by the proposal.

The Ministry of Forests and Range is primarily concerned with the transfer of private land to reserve status and the impact for access to range and forest resources. Once transferred, addition of the lands to reserve status is under Federal authority and the Ministry loses any rights-of-way, non-gazetted roads, structure or buildings that are not identified.

Specifically, they advise that the primary access to the Whiteman Creek, Naswhito and Bouleau FSR's is via Beau Park and Whiteman Creek Roads which are identified as passing through the proposed area. They recommend that clearances be created for these roads to ensure unfettered public and industrial access to the Forest Road systems. Access to these roads is critical to Ministry tenure holders (timber and range) as well as for fire control.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure advises that they have no objection subject to the road right-of-ways for Beau Park Road, Gates Road, Bouleau Lake Road, and Whiteman Creek Road being protected and excluded from the proposed addition to I.R. NO.1.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Lands advises that it is their understanding that the small segments of lands that are currently within the ALR will remain in the ALR after being added to the Reserve. Therefore their interests are unaffected by the proposal.

The Agricultural Land Commission notes that portions of the lands identified on the detailed map appended to the application are situated within the ALR. The Commission also wishes to advise that portions of the subject lands formed part of an application in 1980 (Beaupark Ranch Ltd.) to subdivide six large parcels into 28 parcels. The Commission believed that the subdivision proposal would represent an intrusion of small parcels into a ranching area leading to the reduction of the overall long-term agricultural potential of the lands under application. The Commission refused the application.

Westbank First Nation advises that the subject lands and resources fall within Westbank First Nation's traditional territory. WFN fully supports the acquisition of the lands in order that they are added to Okanagan Indian Reserve NO.1.

Don't forget to click link above for all 8 pages

June 22, 2009 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

*NOTE* This is only a snippett, please click link for entire 8 pages

Agenda No: 6.5
Mtg. Date: June 22, 2009

DEVELOPMENT & ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES DEPT REPORT For the Regional Board June 22nd, 2009

TO: Chair & Members of the Regional Board
FROM: Ron Fralick, Planner 1
DATE: June 15, 2009
SUBJECT: Indian and Northern Affairs Canada referral to consider addition of lands to Okanagan Indian Reserve (I.R.) No.1 (Our File: 0400-60)

LOCATION: The four (4) parcels within the Central Okanagan West Electoral Area of the Regional District of Central Okanagan are located northwest of Westshore Estates.

LEGAL: Within RDCO; Lot 3, DL's 913, 3788, & 3912, ODYD, Plan 33458, except Plan H18677; Lot 12, DL's 3788 & 4068, ODYD, Plan 33459; Lot 5, DL's 3788, 4067, & 4068, ODYD, Plan 33459; and Lot 2, DL's 4067 & 4068, ODYD, Plan 33459

RECOMMENDATION:
THAT the Board of Directors of the Regional District of Central Okanagan advises Indian and Northern Affairs Canada of the following issues and concerns related to the addition of the subject lands to I.R. No.1;

click link above to read more of these minutes

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Located on Local Westside Road Bulletin Boards

Information regarding Okanagan Indian Band Road Use Permit for users of Westside Road on reserve land

The Province has been using roads running through our reserves without proper authority and without proper compensation for far too long.

http://www.okib.ca/senklip/march_2005.pdf

I heard from a local that the Province sent out letters to local residents telling them that they didn't need to pay this fee that the OKIB wants to charge regular users of Westside Road.  Does anyone have a copy of that letter ... so we can post it here for all to see?

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The taxation of leasehold lands.

Source  http://web.uvic.ca/padm/cpss/lgi/pdfs/bbish/prop_tax_rpt1987.pdf

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The Territorial Stewardship Department of the Okanagan Indian Band in general is responsible for Aboriginal Rights, Title and Claims, the Cultural Research Program, GIS Mapping/Information Management, Forestry Stewardship, Fisheries & Watershed Stewardship, Land Referrals, Land and Resource Permitting, and Road Use and Access Permits

Source http://www.okib.ca/departments/territorial_stewardship.php

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The Community Development Division of the Okanagan Indian Band is responsible for the construction, operations and maintenance of all the Band owned and operated facilities and assets. These include but are not limited to the following: Administration buildings, parks, roads, water systems, signage, solid waste disposal and Fire Protection Services.

Source  http://www.okib.ca/departments/community_development.php

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The only agreement entered into between the Band and the Province is an agreement with whereby the Ministry of Transportation will provide the Band with an $18,000 contribution to assist the Band with the costs of completing its comprehensive community planning project.

In making the agreement, the Chief and Council had no interest in transferring the administration and control of Westside Road or any other road to the Province. 

Rather the Councils objective was to resolve outstanding tenure issues, obtain compensation for the Band and locatees affected by past infringements and to clarify the terms and conditions upon which the Province can continue to operate public roads on our reserves. 

The unresolved tenure issues need to be addressed.

The Province has been using roads running through our reserves without proper authority and without proper compensation for far too long. 

It is also high time Council addressed safety and access issues affecting our reserve lands.

The recent agreement with the Ministry of Transportation will also facilitate the advancement of a specific claim developed by the Band in relation to Westside Road.  That claim detailed past and ongoing infringements and was developed with a view to obtaining a settlement on Westside Road.

Source  http://www.okib.ca/senklip/march_2005.pdf
         http://www.okib.ca/news/2005/mar05_westside.php

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The Okanagan Indian Band has requested that Indian Bands receive a portion of the gas tax rebate on the same basis as municipalities and regional districts.

Source  http://www.okib.ca/news/2005/feb05_gastax.php

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First Nations Land Management Act
29 (1) An interest in first nation land may be expropriated by Her Majesty for the use of a federal department or agency and with the consent and by order of the Governor in Council.
http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/f-11.8/239980.html

Expropriation Act

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How will Westside roads be transitioned through WFN Land
Maintenance of roads within WFN (Westbank First Nations) land would remain the responsibility of the MOT (Ministry of Transportation)
Other roads within the study area, with the exception of Hwy 97, would be the responsibility of the incorporated area.
Agreements between WFN, MOT, and the incorporated area could be formulated so that one agency is responsible for the maintenance of all the roads, - (Page 25)
http://www.regionaldistrict.com/docs/engineering/wgcroadstudypresentation.pdf

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If you have comments good or bad, solutions, concerns or complaints regarding the "OKIB ROAD USE PERMIT", please fill out the form below and/or comment to OKIB Territorial Stewardship and/or the Ministry of Transportation.

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The federal government administers Indian Reserve (I.R.) lands and other reserves of provincial Crown land set aside for special purposes such as national parks and military bases. Crown Land Registry maintains records of I.R. and federal reserve lands, as well as some leasing information.

http://www.bcarchives.bc.ca/BC_Research_Guide/BC_Lnd_Rcrd.aspx

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