Letters to the editor 

2010: A Sustainable Odyssey

I am writing in support of the amount of recent First Nations’ activities taking place within Whistler. Most recently, this being the Winter Weetema Festival. It is exciting to see more Lil`Wat, Squamish and other First Nations Peoples share their vast and rich heritage in such a high profile destination.

In the wake of the IOC’s visit, I was very pleased to see the partnerships between the First Nations governments, the Resort Municipality of Whistler, the corporate community and the provincial government. Creating certainty for all British Columbians is not only an absolute necessity for business development, but also because it is the right thing to do.

The British Columbia Capacity Initiative Council is entrusted with the responsibility to help First Nations generate enhanced capacity through comprehensive visioning and operational planning and development, and increased land and resource management. The process we have followed has always entailed partnerships with corporate stakeholders and has been a key element to our success in fostering "profitable certainty." In the last five years, we have helped over 275 regional and individual First Nations organizations and governing bodies attain increased knowledge, negotiating ability and greater technical know-how over their, and our, resources.

Anyone can see that progress requires forward momentum and is critically needed within the treaty process today more than ever – which is why Squamish and Lil`wat Nations should be commended for their innovation. They have decided to bridge the geo-political gap by working "outside the box" and moving forward with co-managed partnerships that will solidify greater economic benefit for their members for some time to come.

Of course one could always argue that achieving sustainability is never easy and often creates imbalance within communities. From a traditional economic point of view, much of First Nations’ beliefs, value systems and traditions are based within this modus operandi . It is the "lens" in which we perceive our world and how we interact within it. My perception is that with nearly 60-65 per cent of the Aboriginal population under the age of 25 and a shrinking social net, the way of the future is a balanced approach that incorporates a sustainable economy with small business development. Modern problems often require modern solutions and one should ride the horse in the direction it’s going. Creating tomorrow’s legacies means training and preparation today. It would be nice to see Whistler, British Columbia, federal and First Nations governing bodies continue to forge ahead and equip this large and eager workforce with the tools they need to write the next chapter.

Justin W. Wilson

Board member, B.C. Capacity Initiative Council

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