A historic agreement has been signed to bring new funding to the Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation (KHFN).
The Hith’alis Agreement, a partnership between the B.C. government, the Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation and Coast Funds, provides $721,000 to enhance stewardship and management activities in KHFN territory in the Broughton Archipelago.
“Partnerships such as this are so important to moving forward with First Nations communities,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “Working together with the Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation, stewardship efforts in the region will receive the support they need to protect and sustain the territory.”
This partnership is being realized through an endowment created at Coast Funds, a conservation finance organization. The endowment will allow KHFN to increase stewardship activities across its territory, including:
increasing the capacity to implement ecosystem-based management;
contributing towards enhancing key salmon watersheds;
providing the opportunity for KHFN members to access local, family-supporting employment based out of Gwa-yas-dums (Gilford Island); and
increasing KHFN’s active presence throughout the territory through a Guardian Watchmen program.
“Now we can start to deliver on our dream of having a big presence on our territories, just like our ancestors did,” said Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation chief councillor Rick Johnson. “Thanks to our Elders, we’ve remained in our traditional lands despite tremendous challenges. By working in partnership with the province and with Coast Funds, we can keep our membership in their territories and we can develop better tools to ensure that economic activities are conducted in our territory in a responsible way.”
The newly endowed funds will facilitate KHFN’s access to sustainable, self-determined stewardship finance. The funding will be managed through coast funds, a globally recognized First Nations conservation finance organization.
“Having stewarded its lands and waters for millennia, Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation hold inherent rights and responsibilities to care for its territories,” said Brodie Guy, CEO of Coast Funds. “We’re honoured to partner with Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation as it builds its source of permanent and sustainable stewardship revenue.”
The endowed funds are managed by Coast Funds as part of an $89-million endowment supporting First Nations stewardship across the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii.
This funding aligns provincial actions with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, supporting partnership and collaborative decision making.
Hith’alis is a Kwak’wala word that means “fixing it together” and reflects KHFN’s approach to reconciliation.
Coast Funds, created in 2007 as part of the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements, acts to facilitate funding to First Nations for territorial stewardship and sustainable economic development.
As with KHFN, other First Nations are engaging Coast Funds to develop and grow similarly endowed stewardship funds.
The goal of the funds is to empower First Nations to achieve healthy and vibrant economies and communities in tandem with the conservation of their homelands for the benefit of future generations.
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