For Immediate Release


March 21, 2006

Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation





VICTORIA – Government has tabled legislation to enact the $100-million New Relationship Trust that will help fund long-term capacity-building for First Nations, Tom Christensen, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, announced today.


“Building capacity in First Nations communities is a clear priority for our government,” said Christensen. “This fund has been established to provide First Nations with the tools, training and skills to participate in social and economic decision-making in their communities. It will also help to foster leadership among First Nations youth and bring about greater self-reliance, prosperity and certainty for First Nations and all British Columbians.”


Announced in the September 2005 Budget Update, the New Relationship fund was designed to support capacity-building for First Nations so they can effectively participate in land and resource management and social programs for their communities.


Shawn Atleo, B.C. Regional Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, is encouraged by the introduction of the New Relationship legislation.


“I have a real sense of hope that this is a clear demonstration of the government’s willingness and commitment to move forward on the vision set out in the New Relationship, and it marks an important step for our people in terms of shared decision-making in land and forestry issues,” said Atleo. “Undoubtedly, we are at a turning point in our journey towards reconciliation, and we as leaders, as well as the Province, must carry forward this momentum for the benefit of our communities.”


The New Relationship Trust Act establishes that a corporation will be created to manage the fund. A seven-member board of directors will also be established. The act states that the board will solicit and consider the opinions of First Nations and the public in the development of a three-year strategic plan. 


“I welcome the establishment of the $100-million New Relationship Trust fund,” said Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. “These capacity funds will enable our First Nations communities to develop comprehensive land-use plans necessary to facilitate shared decision-making and resource revenue-sharing between ourselves and the Province.”


            Government consulted and collaborated with the First Nations Summit, Union of BC Indian Chiefs and the BC Assembly of First Nations to develop the legislation framework. The principles that guided the process included accountability and flexibility to ensure the fund would meet the needs of First Nations and support government’s long-term vision of economic prosperity for First Nations.   


“First Nations in B.C. are encouraged by the creation of the New Relationship Trust as an indication of the provincial government’s commitment in moving forward to an era of transformative change that we hope will lead to greater recognition and reconciliation of First Nations title and rights in B.C.,” said Grand Chief Edward John, a member of the First Nations Summit political executive. “The New Relationship Trust will be an important step in assisting First Nations to build and strengthen their internal capacity to better manage their lands and resources.”


The Province is building a New Relationship with First Nations founded on the principles of mutual respect, reconciliation and recognition of Aboriginal rights. The goal is to ensure Aboriginal people share in the economic and social development of British Columbia, in line with the five great goals for a golden decade. 



 1 backgrounder(s) attached.





Stacey McGaghey

Public Affairs Officer

Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation

250 387-1253

250 360-7538 (cell)





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