The Secwepemc Nation and BC Hydro celebrated an agreement in Revelstoke last Wednesday that will determine how the two sides work together in the future. The agreement sets out the process of cooperation between the two sides in order to mitigate the impact, identify economic opportunities and provide guidance on how to be good environmentalists. While the agreement discusses the impact of the past, the ceremony focused on progress. Discussions began in earnest a few months later and the agreement has been developed over the past 2.5 years. It was also recognized that this was only the beginning of the relationship and that there was a need to continue working in the future. The agreement provides for the creation of an executive committee, a steering committee and a working group to advance relations. It establishes a work plan for the next three years. Work on the deal began nearly three years ago, when Christian sent a letter to Jessica McDonald, who had just been appointed CEO of BC Hydro. It started with a traditional prayer followed by a hand drum song played by people from Secwepemc.
There was an exchange of gifts between BC Hydro and the Chiefs or board members from each of the nine Secwpemc groups, followed by speeches and lunch. Ryan Day, the leader of the Bonaparte Indian Band, talked about how BC Hydro took energy from the water to benefit the people of B.C. It was time to give energy back to the water. For Secwepemc, one of the big issues raised was how dams prevented salmon from swimming to their fishing grounds upstream. Instead of eating fish, they received spam, says one elder. „It`s time for us to look at what we need to do in the next 100 years. That`s what it`s all about for me,” Christian said. „We will change the way things are done in this region so that those who are born benefit.” The Rapportship Protocol Agreement was celebrated on May 31 at a ceremony at the Revelstoke Community Centre.
Areas that will be considered in the future include reconciling historical dysfunctions, mitigating past and lasting effects, examining economic benefits for Secwepemc communities, and participating in future BC Hydro activities in the Secwepemc area. „This is an opportunity to build a better future for future generations,” said Chris O`Riley, Deputy CEO of BC Hydro. „We are absolutely committed to building on this relationship.” „We know and understand that in order to move forward, we need to be in touch with the people of the region.” „We are here today to begin a relationship that is long overdue,” said Wayne Christian, Chief of the Secwepemc Nation Tribe. „This relationship helps us to return to the country. The relationship protocol agreement sets out the process of how two parties will work together in the future „The reciprocal relationship we are withdrawing has long been one-sided in taking and sending this power from this water junction, and it has been taken and used by us, more generally, as human beings,” he said. „We must devote time and energy, put it back in our countries and waters, and assume this responsibility in this reciprocal relationship.” „We understood that this was an important opportunity for us because he was talking about the amount of generation from these countries,” McDonald`s said. „We know how important it is to develop this relationship.” „It`s very important and I can really see the benefit that we`re working together and working collaboratively and partnering with BC Hydro, for the region, for water, for grandchildren, for fetuses,” Christian said. . . .