Protecting and advocating for the Aboriginal rights of the Nanwakolas member First Nations in reviewing applications for provincial tenures and permits and other commercial activity in their traditional areas referred to them for decision
Resource developments like logging, hydro-electric projects, commercial tourism, and mining continue in the territories of the member First Nations. Most of these activities require the permission of the provincial government to take place. Before giving its permission for a proposed activity, the government must consult with the member First Nations. It “refers” proposals to the First Nations to consider and requests a formal response.
At this point in time, the provincial government makes the final decision whether a proposal can proceed, and on what conditions. Nanwakolas Council works with the member First Nations to ensure their Aboriginal rights and interests are fully expressed when responding to the government about proposals.
Role of the Referrals Office
Each of the Nanwakolas member First Nations makes their own decision if a resource development activity can move forward within its territory. The Nanwakolas Council Referrals Office provides information to the member First Nations to assist them in making their decisions and responding to referral applications.
For example, the Referrals Office provides the member First Nations with research and information to help them protect and advocate for their Aboriginal rights and interests, keeps track of the referral timeline, and records their decisions on specific proposals.
The Work of the Referrals Office
- Makes sure that Nanwakolas member First Nations know about all resource development activities within their individual traditional areas
- Keeps a separate confidential database on behalf of each of the member Nations for them to use, recording all decisions they make on different types of applications, and information related to those decisions
- Researches and reports to each member Nation on all applications referred to that member Nation
- Prepares draft responses to the contemplated resource development or activity application for the member Nation to approve and send to the government
- Arranges meetings between the member First Nations and the government, or the applicant, to discuss concerns about an application
- Facilitates discussions about ways to ensure the Aboriginal rights of the member First Nations are recognized and protected.
We encourage companies and individuals proposing to undertake resource development or commercial activities within the traditional areas of the Nanwakolas member First Nations to contact the Referrals Office before applying to the government for a permit or licence.
The Nanwakolas Referrals Team can arrange for them to meet with the First Nation concerned and discuss their proposal. Having this kind of conversation in advance will help the applicant understand the First Nation’s concerns and requirements if the development or activity is to go ahead. The formal application process can be faster and more straightforward by taking a step like this and addressing the matters that are raised in the application.