Ahousaht First Nation Chief Councillor Greg Louie and Tyee Hawiih Hasheukumis welcomed Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, to their community to celebrate a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will help advance long-lasting reconciliation through respect, co-operation, partnership and a recognition of Ahousaht First Nation rights.
“This AHP-CII-UK agreement is the start of an acknowledgment of who the Ahousaht people are, and have been since time immemorial,” said Chief Louie. “I am happy the Province is learning about the Ahousaht way in our hahouthee and I believe this agreement is a stepping stone to a strong relationship and a better future for everyone.”
The MOU is titled AHP-CII-UK, which translates to English as “going the right way, together”. The canoe is an important symbol to the Ahousaht First Nation, and the MOU envisions building a strong canoe so the Province and the Ahousaht people can paddle together in the same direction.
“The AHP-CII-UK memorandum of understanding represents the important next steps in the working relationship between Ahousaht First Nation and B.C.,” Rankin said. “It will guide our discussions on vitally important topics in a way that respects and recognizes the many essential aspects of Ahousaht’s vision for their community. Together, we are building a robust canoe that will carry us toward a prosperous future.”
Under the MOU, Ahousaht First Nation and the Province will develop a way forward that recognizes Ahousaht’s culture, history, title and rights. Ahousaht has a fundamental and interconnected relationship to the “hahouthee” – the Nation’s territory. The agreement will begin to address the profound impact of colonization on their hahouthee by directing discussions aimed at improving socio-economic opportunities for the Ahousaht community, strengthening Ahousaht governance and building B.C. and Ahousaht’s government-to-government relationship.
AHP-CII-UK also lists priority topics, known as paddles, to reach agreement on the following:
- language and culture;
- community infrastructure and housing;
- health and social development;
- natural resource management;
- economic development; and
- governance, recognition and accountability.
The AHP-CII-UK MOU is a good example of the Province’s commitment to fostering relationships with First Nations grounded in respect and the understanding that long-term reconciliation will only be achieved through a shared vision of the future and not transactional, one-off arrangements.
- The MOU was signed on July 22, 2021, however, pandemic restrictions delayed the celebration.
- Ahousaht First Nation is on the west coast of Vancouver Island and is a member of the Nuu-Chah-Nulth Tribal Council.
- There are more than 2,100 registered Ahousaht First Nation members.
- AHP-CII-UK is pronounced ahp-CHI-ook.
Link to the agreement: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/natural-resource-stewardship/consulting-with-first-nations/first-nations-negotiations/first-nations-a-z-listing/ahousaht-first-nation