Celebrating Indigenous Land Code Success: Woodland Cree First Nation & Fort McKay First Nation's Journey to Chilliwack B.C.
September 27, 2023, Chilliwack, BC. - Elvis Thomas, a member of the Woodland Cree First Nation, and Vice-Chair of TALSAA travelled to Chilliwack B.C. in September where his community was presented with a Golden Eagle for their Land Code Success. This prestigious award, given by the Land Advisory Board Resource Centre (LABRC), recognizes Indigenous communities that have successfully passed their land codes in the past year.
Woodland Cree First Nation, along with Fort McKay First Nation, who also received the Golden Eagle Award from the Lands Advisory Board (LAB), celebrated this is a momentous achievement that gives recognition to their commitment to self-governance and management of their lands and resources.
The Annual General Meeting with the Land Code Nation event took place in Chilliwack on September 27th and 28th,2023, and it is a cause for celebration not just for the award recipients, but also for all Indigenous communities who have passed their land codes in the past year.
Woodland Cree First Nation became the 104th First Nation, the first to develop their Land Code in Alberta. They were closely followed by Fort McKay First Nation, the 105th Land Code Nation in Alberta. Other communities who developed their land code in the past year include: Mishkosiiminiziibing from Ontario, Doig River First Nation and Kwiakah First Nation from British Columbia, and Alderville First Nation from Ontario.
The passing of land codes is an important step towards self-determination and sovereignty for First Nations. It allows them to develop their own laws and regulations for land and resource management. This not only empowers First Nation communities, but also ensures that decisions regarding their lands and resources are made by those who have a deep understanding of their traditional territories.
The awards ceremony is a testament to the hard work and dedication and highlights the collaboration between First Nations, governments, and organizations towards a more inclusive and equitable future.
As we celebrate this success, it is important to acknowledge the challenges that Indigenous communities continue to face in asserting their land rights. The passing of land codes is just one step towards reconciliation and there is still much work to be done in ensuring the full recognition and implementation of First Nation land rights.
Elvis' journey to Chilliwack B.C. was not just about receiving an award, but also a reflection of his community's resilience and determination to protect their lands and resources for future generations.
"It was a great honor to be awarded with the Eagle presentation in Chilliwack, BC and meeting with fellow First Nations across Canada and networking with communities across turtle island. We as First Nations people face the same issues across Canada. Working and helping each other is what makes being part of Land Code Nations great! Working together with other First Nations makes us stronger and better prepared for the future." said Thomas.
Fort McKay First Nation (FMFN)
Fort McKay Chief and Council would like to congratulate the Fort McKay First Nation (FMFN) Land Code team for the recognition they attained with the Golden Eagle Award for their stellar work getting their Land Code enacted and verified. This prestigious award, given by the Land Advisory Board Resource Centre (LABRC), recognizes Indigenous communities that have successfully passed their land codes.
Benita Koochicum, Senior Manager of Lands and Leasing, notes that the award is a significant achievement as it recognizes our Nation’s commitment to self-governance and management of lands and resources.
“Fort McKay First Nation now has control over land management and law-making as it applies to its reserve lands,” said Benita. “This strengthens the Nation’s ability to protect and conserve its land and environment in a culturally appropriate way. We are now working hard on the business of implementing the code in a way that reflects the members’ goals for their traditional land in the present and the future.”
The Golden Eagle Award is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the FMFN Land Code team. “Congratulations to everyone involved in this significant milestone in our community.” said Fort McKay Chief and Council.
Congratulations to all the award recipients and their communities on this significant achievement!
The Eagle has landed, but the journey continues.