The Dehcho Assembly and Resolutions from 2015

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The people of the Dehcho have met in Assembly each summer. This is a tradition that goes back for a very long time amongst indigenous people. In addition to dealing with the issues of the people there is a lot of visiting and decisions made about governing. The most recent Assembly of the people of the Dehcho was in Fort Simpson in June 2015.

At the Assembly direction is given to the leadership on any number of issues as well as direction on the Dehcho Process. Over the last twenty years there are a large number of resolutions of the people that I, as the new Chief Negotiator, am becoming familiar with in order to carry out the direction of the people at the negotiating table.

Last summer there were three resolutions that were passed to add to the many from previous years to direct the work of the negotiations team. In 2015 there was a resolution in Fort Simpson which acknowledged that the Dehcho Process is continuing, further that as the Chief Negotiator had provided their full report for the prior year, the Assembly of the Dehcho First Nation supported the negotiations team in applying for some federal government money, called Negotiation Preparedness, to assist in continuing the Dehcho Process.

That funding is a grant, it is not repayable (so there will not be a big “loan” to pay back to the Government of Canada some day) and it is applied for every year. It’s a rather small amount but it helps fund the negotiating process.

Another resolution from last summer’s Assembly was regarding the work that was expected of the Dehcho leadership through the months following the Assembly. The leadership was directed by the Assembly to ensure there was a fall leadership meeting that included Elders, Youth, the leadership generally, as well as general members or citizens, to review, analyze, reflect and strategize on the current agreements that are in place, the land use plan that is in place, and to provide direction in regards to the Dehcho Process.

The third resolution that came out of the 2015 Assembly was that there needed to be a “strategic and tactical plan” developed that would assist the Assembly in determining the future direction of the Dehcho Process. This was a resolution recognizing that this is a crucial time in the negotiating process, and that therefore Grand Chief Herb Norwegian and the leadership were to develop a strategic and tactical plan through workshops on what new tactics, ideas and plans are to be utilized in the Dehcho Process. Three weeks ago I was at the second of those two workshops, a strategic and tactical planning workshop for the Dehcho Process.

We are at a stage right now where the results of that workshop are being documented by the facilitator and being reviewed internally by my team and eventually in the near future by the Dehcho leadership. They will provide guidance going forward into the spring leadership meeting and into the 2016 Dehcho Assembly, for consideration and potentially ratification this summer.

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