[Originally Published in the First Nations Strategic Bulletin: Volume 2, Issue 5 - June 30, 2004]OPINION: The B.C. First Nations Plummet - A
Source of Political Imbalance in National ‘Indian’ Politics and CrownGovernment Relations
By Russell DiaboThe
First Nations Summit
has continually collaborated with the federalgovernment in order to implement national federal
, both in B.C. and across Canada. This is not initself surprising, since the First Nations Summit was a co-creation of thefederal and provincial governments, as well as a number of prominent B.C.Indian leaders.
Who is the Summit?
In tracing the history of their own organization, the B.C. First Nations Summitidentifies the beginning in October, 1990, when,
“leaders of First Nations met with the Prime Minister of Canada and thenwith the Premier and Cabinet of British Columbia urging the appointment of a tripartite task force to develop a process for modern treaty negotiations in BC. The federal and provincial governments agreed and on December 3rd, 1990, the BC Claims Task Force was established by agreement of theGovernment of Canada, the Government of British Columbia, and representative leadership of the First Nations.”
The First Nations were a minority partner in this endeavour with threemembers on the BC Claims Task Force and then what became the BC TreatyCommission (BCTC), with one member each from the federal and provincialgovernments. And it was from this beginning that the First Nations Summit wasborn.
“The FNS is comprised of a majority of First Nations and Tribal Councils inBC and provides a forum for First Nations in British Columbia to address issues related to Treaty negotiations as well as other issues of commonconcern. As one of the principals of the treaty negotiation process along with Canada and BC, the First Nations Summit plays an important and ongoing role in ensuring that the process for conducting Treaty negotiations is accessible to all First Nations. However, the Summit does not participate in negotiations at individual treaty tables. Each treaty tableis autonomous in its negotiations.”
National Indian Brotherhood
was re-organized into the
Assemblyof First Nations
in 1982. The B.C. region, particularly the coastal, lower