As you know, we are nearing a potential resolution of our long outstanding Flood Claim. We, as your current Chief and Council, feel fortunate to continue the work of many previous Chief and Council’s to move this claim forward and to be in the position of hopefully bringing it to an end. However, we cannot do this without the trust and support of our membership.
The Flood Claim is all of ours. The flooding affects all of us, and the compensation will be there to make life better for all of us. It is therefore important that the decisions that our First Nation will have to make over the next while are made with the best interests of our present as well as our future on-reserve and off-reserve members in mind.
We are committed to doing our part to ensure that the settlement of this claim is conducted in the best interest of our First Nation. We will do this by ensuring that the consultations that will be taking place over the next half-year will provide all members, on-reserve and off-reserve, with plenty of opportunities to inform themselves and have their say on the settlement process, the flood claim, and compensation to be provided to our First Nation.
We are fully committed to listening to the membership on issues such as:
- How consultations and information sharing can be improved
- What the expectations are on the ratification vote, include how the vote is conducted
- How the settlement funds (i.e. compensation paid to the First Nation) should be managed
- Whether some of the settlement funds should be paid out to the membership, and if so, how much
We are also taking steps to improve the consultation process in response to feedback and comments received from the membership. These steps include:
- Hiring a Community Engagement Coordinator to be the contact person for the membership
- Contracting an independent consulting firm specialized in community engagement to coordinate consultation activities
- Exploring other ways to communicate updates and information on the settlement and ratification process
- Scheduling further community meetings.
What we ask from our membership is that you trust in this process, and trust that we have the best interest of our membership and First Nation in mind when organizing and carrying out this consultation process. If you have any concerns about the consultation process or the settlement, we encourage you to share such concerns and see them as an important opportunity to improve the process.
There are plenty of examples where similar settlements have derailed or stalled because of a lack of trust in the leadership and the process that was established to engage the membership in the settlement and ratification process. Some of these examples have been brought to our attention recently through media and Facebook. None of us want that to happen to our settlement. This claim has taken far too long already to be further delayed. We all want to see it resolved.
We therefore ask that all our members work together to ensure that the consultation process that we have embarked on can continue unhindered, without obstructions and serve its purpose; that is to provide all our members with an opportunity to be informed, heard, and voice their thoughts and concerns.
NORTHWEST ANGLE #33 CHIEF AND COUNCIL
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