About Us

Nanwakolas Council provides services to the member First Nations, including specific technical expertise, operational support and information, facilitation, advice, and coordination of the work of the individual Nations in their stewardship of lands and waters; supporting the work of the First Nations’ Guardians through the Ha-ma-yas Stewardship Network; and advocating for the protection of the member First Nations’ Aboriginal rights when engaging with governments. The member First Nations also work collectively through Nanwakolas Council as a united voice, and dealing with matters of collective regional interest.

Nanwakolas Council has an “open-door” policy that manifests itself in two ways. All other Kwakwa̱ka̱ʼwakw First Nations who wish to join the Council, or work with Nanwakolas Council in some way, may do so. Member First Nations may also pick and choose which Nanwakolas services they would like to receive, and whether to participate in any arrangements or agreements developed or facilitated by Nanwakolas Council. 

Values

With a deep understanding of our responsibilities and commitments, Nanwakolas Council brings these core values to our work:

  • Empowerment of the decision-making authority of each member First Nation
  • Responsiveness to the needs and wishes of the member First Nations
  • Collaboration and inclusiveness in developing solutions and strategies to protect and promote the interests of the member First Nations in their traditional areas
  • Flexibility to respond effectively to changes in the strategic environment in which we operate
  • Integrity and trustworthiness
  • Accountability for our activities
  • Excellence in operational management and activities; and
  • Excellent communication with the member First Nations Chiefs, Councils, and band offices.
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The member First Nations also work collectively through Nanwakolas Council as a united voice, advocating for and protecting Aboriginal rights, and dealing with matters of collective regional interest.

Member Nations

The Nanwakolas Council is comprised of five member First Nations whose traditional territories are located in the Northern Vancouver Island and adjacent South Central Coast areas of British Columbia. 

Red line denotes the combined territories of Nanwakolas member nations.

K'ómoks First Nation
The K’ómoks First Nation is located in the Comox Valley on eastern Vancouver Island of British Columbia, extending from the Salmon River in the north to the Englishman River in the south.
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Mamalilikulla Nation
The Mamalilikulla are based on northern Vancouver Island, in the Queen Charlotte Strait region, with an administrative base is in Campbell River.
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Tlowitsis Nation
The Tlowitsis First Nation’s traditional territory encompasses the mouth of Knight Inlet, from the mainland to Vancouver Island.
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Da'naxda'xw Awaetlala First Nation
The traditional territory of the Da’naxda’xw/Awaetlala First Nation is the area of coastal British Columbia known as Knight Inlet.
Wei Wai Kum First Nation
Wei Wai Kum territory extends from Loughborough Inlet north of Campbell River to the Tsable River in the south. It goes westward to central Vancouver Island, and eastward through the Strait of Georgia.
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What We Do

Nanwakolas means “a place we go to find agreement” in the Kwak̓wala language and is a name that honours traditional ways of making decisions together that will benefit all of the member First Nations.

Nanwakolas Council provides a wide range of services to the member First Nations, including specific technical expertise, operational support and information, facilitation, research and planning support, training assistance, advice, and coordination of the work of the individual Nations in the areas of land and marine waters stewardship; supporting the work of the First Nations’ Guardians through the Ha-ma-yas Stewardship Network; and advocating for the protection of the member First Nations’ Aboriginal rights when engaging with governments on referrals.

Governance

The Board of Directors oversees the work of the Nanwakolas Council at a strategic governance level: implementing our vision, our values, our decisions and our priorities.

Each member First Nation makes their own decisions about resource development within their areas. The Directors make no decisions about matters which may affect a member First Nation’s territory or Aboriginal rights. Rather, we are always guided in what we bring to our work by the direction given to us by the member First Nations.

Each of the member First Nations appoints a representative as a Director to the Nanwakolas Board. Often, the Chief or Chief’s representative is appointed to the Board, which provides a direct link between the work of the Nanwakolas Council and the government of each member First Nation. We make our collective decisions as a Council by consensus.

The appointed Directors choose someone to serve as the Nanwakolas Council President. That person is responsible as a spokesperson for Nanwakolas Council in engagement with the member First Nations, the provincial and federal governments, and third parties. The election of the President is done annually.

Our Support Team

The Nanwakolas Council Board of Directors is comprised of six Directors, with each of the five-member First Nations appointing their own Director and the sixth, the Board President, being appointed by the other Directors. Directors are generally the Chiefs, or a Councillor, of each of the member First Nations thereby providing a direct link between Nanwakolas and the governing Councils of each member First Nation. 

To learn more about our directors and support team click here

History

Since time immemorial, each of the Nanwakolas member First Nations has been responsible for taking care of Aweenak’ola, “the lands we are on,” within their traditional areas. This is a responsibility passed on from the ancestors and given to the First Nations by the Creator.

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As instructed by the Numayms, the Nanwakolas member First Nations have always undertaken their stewardship responsibilities in a way that sustains Aweenak’ola as a living and indivisible whole that includes the people, their different societies, their forms of governance and their culture, and the waters, trees, plants and wildlife of Aweenak’ola. The pasa, which represents the social structure and governance system of each of the member First Nations, also demonstrates the strong ties that each of the Numayms had to Mother Earth, and the will to share the riches and powers of Mother Earth with all peoples.

The Nanwakolas member First Nations fulfill this responsibility both as individual Nations and using a collaborative approach that is part of their ancient tradition. They have always recognized that there is strength in working together to sustain what matters to all.

The Nanwakolas Council was created in 2007 with a shared commitment to exercising long-established decision-making processes and fulfilling responsibilities within the respective traditional areas of each member First Nation. The structure, governance and work of the Council all reflect that commitment.

Through the Nanwakolas Council, the member First Nations work together collaboratively to reach an agreement and to speak with the power of a collective voice on things that matter to all, including recognition, protection and promotion of Aboriginal rights and stewardship of lands and waters.

In March 2006, First Nations who are now members of the Nanwakolas Council entered into a Land Use Plan Agreement-in-Principle (“AIP”) with the province of British Columbia. The AIP set out the parties’ agreements on strategic land use within the south Central Coast area, and included commitments for government-to-government implementation of the AIP and further land use planning work.

After its establishment in 2007, Nanwakolas Council grew beyond its original focus on implementing the AIP. On behalf of and in partnership with the member First Nations, other agreements with the provincial and federal governments have been signed.

These include providing for the establishment of the Referrals Team, community marine planning and the joint leading of the Marine Planning Partnership process, among other things.

The government-to-government strategic management system that began in the Southern Central Coast portion of the member First Nations’  traditional territories has evolved, and what is now known as the Strategic Engagement Agreement applies to the remainder of the traditional territories on Vancouver Island. 

Conservancies and Biodiversity Tourism and Mining Areas were the subject of government-to-government discussions from 2004 to 2006, and confirmed, subject to further discussions being completed, in the 2006 AIP. 

The boundaries of the Conservancies were legislated by the provincial government between 2006 and 2009.  Subsequent Protected Area Collaborative Management Agreements committed to provide the First Nations with enhanced economic opportunities in the Conservancies, and to develop the Management Plans collaboratively.