A new six-person Haisla Lands Advisory Committee was sworn in on Tuesday, May 17. The committee, made up of Elizabeth Robinson, Sherry Smith, Brent Robinson, Marilyn Furlan, Cyril Grant, and Fred Ringham, is responsible for making decisions on behalf of the Haisla Nation’s lands, and the income generated from the use of those lands.
“The Land Code is actually a federal program, and what it does is it takes more responsibility away from the federal government, and gives it to the First Nation in question, so it gives us more responsibility and flexibility on decisions made for reserve lands,” explained Chief Councillor Ellis Ross.
“In the past, we’d have to get Ottawa’s blessing on every single decision affecting reserve lands,” he said.
“But now that we’ve bought into this land code program, the community decides basically the direction that can be taken in regards to the reserve lands, including any revenues that come from reserve lands.”
Ross explained that the Haisla Nation’s “business-oriented,” as some have called it, perspective evolved out of rights and titles recognition for the Nation.
“Aboriginal Rights and Titles speaks to both consultation and accommodation, and the accommodation side of it is where we looked at… economical accommodation, and we started evolving our approach to accommodation.”
While the Nation has given their support to a number of development projects in the area, Ross said they are quite selective as well.
The Haisla Nation has been leasing land at Bish Cove for the Kitimat LNG project since 2010.