We are the Dene and Cree people of southern denendeh, now known as the Fort Nelson First Nation. We are stewards of the land and we honour our Treaty rights and responsibilities for our future generations. We also recognize the need to balance economic security with respect for our traditions, culture and connection to the land, waters and creatures that sustain us.
Our people wish to be on the land learning, teaching, hunting, fishing, trapping, gathering food and medicines, and sharing our harvest with our families and relatives. These activities are at the core of our identity and the FNFN is committed to supporting our members to continue these practices and to ensure a healthy land base for our families to thrive in. We have learned from the lives and experience of our ancestors and we believe:
Chief Jimmie Badine and Headman Tommy Whitehead signed the Fort Nelson adhesion to Treaty No. 8 on August 15, 1910 at the Old Fort village. The 1910 treaty talks affirmed our rights and responsibilities to our lands and ways of life “for as long as the sun shines, the grass grows and the rivers flow.” In the spirit of this treaty of peace, sharing and co-existence, we welcome others to our territory with the promise that they will respect our land, our treaty, and our people.
The purpose of our Land Use Vision is to ensure that our Treaty is upheld and the voices of our people are heard, respected and remembered.
The Vision for managing our land includes two key elements:
We will not be compelled by industry or government, including our own, to agree to the destruction of our territory.
Our Land Use Vision is not only about the protection of natural areas; it also recognizes past and present economic conditions that have impacted our territory and our people. In the past, development has damaged our territory, affecting our health as a people and our economic stability. This cannot and will not happen again. Our territory will not be disrespected, and our people will not be impoverished for the economic gain of industry and outside governments.
We envision a sustainable and adaptable land-based economy where we hold a central role in enhancing the overall health and well-being of our land and our Nation as a whole.
Without vision and action today, our newest generation may witness the last of our traditional land use and ways of being.
We set this vision and will take action so we can thrive as healthy Dene and Cree people in our territory long into the future.