The Xeni Gwet’in First Nation and B.C. Conservation Officer Service (COS) took part in an official signing ceremony to promote the sustainability of wildlife through a memorandum of understanding (MOU).
The MOU aims to foster an understanding of Xeni Gwet’in First Nation’s customs, traditions, cultural and spiritual practices, as well as traditional knowledge. It also promotes communication and collaboration between the COS and the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation, allowing for joint enforcement with the Tsilhqot’in Title Land Rangers. This includes enforcing communal restrictions, which prohibit the harvesting of cow moose for Xeni Gwet’in membership in its traditional territories.
“This memorandum of understanding is one more step in bolstering compliance, education and enforcement within our Aboriginal Title Lands and entire caretaker area of Xeni Gwet’in. Our food sources are of top priority to us as First Nations people,” said Chief Jimmy Lulua of Xeni Gwet’in First Nations Government. “Collaboration is one of the best ways to ensure success with our wildlife initiatives.”
Located in the Nemiah Valley, 200 kilometres northwest of Williams Lake, the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation is home to approximately 400 people who are strong in their culture and traditional ways. The valley is also home to a variety of animals, such as moose, cougars and bears.
The MOU, which came into effect in August 2018, promotes collaboration on the management, protection and stewardship of natural resources, fish and wildlife in its traditional territory, according to Xeni Gwet’in First Nation, provincial and federal laws.
“The B.C. Conservation Officer Service is pleased to work with the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation on enforcement within their traditional territory and the resulting collaboration and communication that has developed,” said Andy MacKay, COS acting inspector and provincial co-ordinator, restorative justice and First Nations. “The relationship will help strengthen respectful engagement with our agency and Xeni Gwet’in.”
To learn more about the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation, visit: https://www.xenigwetin.net/
To learn more about the B.C. COS, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/natural-resource-stewardship/natural-resource-law-enforcement/conservation-officer-service