The Ahousaht First Nation has partnered with the provincial government to strive towards reconciliation through respect and cooperation.
Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Murray Rankin was welcomed to Ahousaht last week by Chief Councillor Greg Louie and Tyee Hawiih Hasheukumis to celebrate the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the two parties.
The MOU was signed on July 22, 2021, but could not be celebrated in-person at that time due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“This AHP-CII-UK agreement is the start of an acknowledgment of who the Ahousaht people are, and have been since time immemorial,” Louie said through the April 13 announcement.
“I am happy the Province is learning about the Ahousaht way in our hahouthee and I believe this agreement is a stepping stone to a strong relationship and a better future for everyone.”
The MOU is titled AHP-CII-UK, which translates to English as “going the right way, together.”
The agreement strives to improve socio-economic opportunities for the First Nation, which has over 2,100 registered members, and strengthen the community through government-to-government relations.
“The canoe is an important symbol to the Ahousaht First Nation, and the MOU envisions building a strong canoe so the Province and the Ahousaht people can paddle together in the same direction,” the announcement reads.
“Under the MOU, Ahousaht First Nation and the Province will develop a way forward that recognizes Ahousaht’s culture, history, title and rights. Ahousaht has a fundamental and interconnected relationship to the hahouthee—the Nation’s territory.”
Along with economic development, the MOU’s top priorities include language and culture, community infrastructure, health and social development and natural resource management.
“The AHP-CII-UK memorandum of understanding represents the important next steps in the working relationship between Ahousaht First Nation and B.C.,” Rankin said. “It will guide our discussions on vitally important topics in a way that respects and recognizes the many essential aspects of Ahousaht’s vision for their community. Together, we are building a robust canoe that will carry us toward a prosperous future.”