TSUUT’INA FIRST NATION— A historic agreement has been struck between the Province of Alberta and four First Nations in the Cochrane area.
The agreement serves as proof of the province's commitment to Reconciliation, said Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, at the signing of The Alberta-Stoney Nakoda-Tsuut’ina Tribal Council Protocol Agreement on Friday (Oct. 2) at the 7 Chiefs Sportsplex in Tsuut’ina Nation. The agreement encompasses the Bearspaw First Nation, Chiniki First Nation, Tsuut’ina Nation and Wesley First Nation. The four groups have more than 8,000 combined members.
Minister of Indigenous Relations Rick Wilson, Bearspaw First Nation Chief Darcy Dixon, Chiniki First Nation Chief Aaron Young, Wesley First Nation Chief Clifford Poucette and Tsuut’ina First Nation Chief Roy Whitney were on hand for the signing of the protocol.
The Alberta-Stoney Nakoda-Tsuut’ina Tribal Council Protocol Agreement serves to outline the formal process for ministers and chiefs and councils to meet several times throughout the year to address key priority areas that include health, economic growth, education, family services and housing on Nations. The agreement also commits to an annual meeting between the chiefs, Stoney Nakoda-Tsuut’ina Tribal Council and the premier.
The protocol agreement has been designed to allow for the two governments to have a meaningful discussion, share information and explore issues of mutual concerns.
The Alberta government has committed to providing $200,000 in grant support for 2020-21 to support the implementation of the agreement. The agreement will remain in place as long as both parties wish to keep it active.
“Real Reconciliation needs more ways to listen, more ways to work together for meaningful change,” Kenney said. “We are doing all this because for too long Alberta’s prosperity was not fully shared by the first people on this land.”
Kenney said the province will work together and learn from First Nations as they find ways to build resources, protect the environment and address the issues faced by Nation members.
Amazing progress is being made in First Nations across the country and in Alberta, Kenney said, adding the protocol agreement serves as a commitment to ensuring Nation members will have a bright and prosperous future.
“We are here together … To work on Reconciliation,” Kenney said. “This is a beautiful thing that we are creating.”
He described the agreement as the latest step in Reconciliation, cementing the idea that a prosperous Alberta will include prosperous First Nations. He added, any adversity they face will be faced together.
“This historic agreement puts proof behind the word ‘Reconciliation,’ or as I like to call it, ‘reconcili-action,'” Kenney said. “By forming this partnership with Stoney Nakoda-Tsuut’ina Alberta’s government will work closely with our First Peoples to ensure prosperity and opportunity to reach all who call our province home.”
The province and First Nations have much work to do in the coming months, he said, and the plans that are being laid will be matched with actions.
The Stoney Nakoda-Tsuut’ina Tribal Council protocol marks the second agreement signed by the province. The first occurred in April 2016 with Treaty 8 First Nations.
Minister Rick Wilson cited the important relationship the province has with First Nation communities, adding he is looking forward to working together as partners.
“This agreement was signed in the spirit of Reconciliation and goes beyond talk by committing both governments to engage on social and economic issues. We look forward to continuing a productive, shared relationship,” Wilson said.