The K’ómoks First Nation (KFN) and Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) have committed to moving forward together in a culture of partnership, including future community to community forums and initiatives to foster better working relationships.
The commitments were made at a community meeting co-hosted by the KFN and the CVRD, which was attended by KFN Chief and council, elders and hereditary chiefs; CVRD directors and staff; City of Courtenay, Town of Comox and Village of Cumberland councillors and staff; and representatives for Members of Parliament Gord Johns and Rachel Blaney and MLA Ronna-Ray Leonard. The forum was intended to bring community officials together to learn about the culture and history of the KFN and provided an opportunity for the newly elected Chief and council to meet with directors and councillors from the CVRD and partner municipalities.
|KFN Dancers Fernanda Pare, Chief Nicole Rempel, Pam Mitchell, Donna Mitchell, Ashley Newman and Katherine Frank (not pictured) with singer Rick Everson.|
“It was so great to see representation from each local municipality,” stated Chief Nicole Rempel of the K’ómoks First Nation. “Our previous and current KFN council shared a vision of bringing our municipalities together to discuss opportunities for collaboration and to develop a shared vision. The hope was to build better relationships by enlightening and bringing awareness of KFN, our history, our culture and our plans for the future. Productive relationships, improved communications and defining our own version of reconciliation will help to close socio-economic gaps and remove barriers that inhibit our common goals that benefit all our communities.”
“As an organization, we are firmly committed to building trust with the KFN and this forum provided us with an opportunity to increase understanding of their culture, priorities and goals,” explained CVRD chair, Bob Wells. “This is an important step in working together on issues of joint interest and furthering our culture of co-operation together as leaders in our communities.”
Judith Sayers of the Hupačasath First Nation delivered the keynote speech, which highlighted the significance of relationship building and partnerships between First Nations and local governments. Sayers has been named as an officer to the Order of Canada and was Chief of the Hupačasath First Nation for 14 years. She has worked tirelessly to promote First Nations rights and title on the international stage and her guidance on how local governments can support First Nations was a key pillar of the event.
Local archeologist Jesse Morin helped to set context for forum attendees by providing background on the history and culture of the Pentlatch area, which is now known as the Comox Valley and located on the unceded traditional territory of the K’ómoks First Nation.
The day ended with a roundtable where attendees expressed their thanks for the opportunity to come together and learn more about the history of their community.