Operating Principles explain how First Nations’ will start their decision making process. For example, these principles might include the need for First Nations peoples to use traditional knowledge to plan and manage their lands. Additional principles may include requiring that any agreements be legally reviewed before being signed, and that any use of traditional knowledge be covered under an intellectual property agreement.
Management and Governance
The resource industry is extremely complex and has the potential to be quite intimidating. It is therefore essential that someone from the affected First Nation is familiar with the issues. Many First Nations have a designated lands and resources manager (“mining coordinator” or “stewardship coordinator”). Other First Nations have councillors with designated mining or resource responsibilities. The designated person’s contact information should be kept up-to-date and provided to mining companies and government representatives.
Many First Nations’ resource policies contain information to answers the following questions:
- What is the community’s governance structure?
- What is the authority and responsibility of the lands and resources manager?
- How will decisions be made and by whom? E.g.:
- Which decisions can and the lands and resources manager make?
- Which decisions require the approval of Chief and Council?
- How will chief and council be kept informed about resource proposals, projects and issues?
- How will community members be kept informed about resource proposals, projects and issues?
The answers to these questions can guide internal community information sharing and decision-making. They can also promote greater certainty, transparency and consistency in First Nations’ decision-making processes to those within and outside the community.
In 2005, First Nations representatives and the BC Government signed the “New Relationship” agreement, which includes commitments to develop shared decision-making processes and institutions for land and resources