Course:CONS370/Projects/Examining the Integration of Tlazten Nation values in the John Prince Research Forest in British Columbia, Canada

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The Tl'azt'en Nation are a Dakelh-speaking Indigenous community in Canada that are self-described as caretakers of the land. They inhabit the Nak’al Bun region, which extends across the North Shore of Stuart Lake in British Columbia. Many First Nation interests—such as managing local resources to meet goals and needs—have been witnessed in British Columbia. For example, the Tl'azt'en Nation became an early participant in industrial commercial forestry, where they have faced numerous challenges regarding timber rights in Canada. Consequently, cessation of clear-cutting on their traditional territory has become one of their objectives in order to conserve their traditional lands.

Since 1999, the Tl’azt’en Nation has taken effective action towards the conservation of their traditional lands by collaborating with the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC). The collaboration pertains to the John Prince Research Forest, which is an education and research facility spanning over 13,032 hectares of forestland within Tl’azt’en traditional lands. This has created an opportunity for the Tl’azt’en Nation and UNBC to exchange their knowledge with respect to the understanding and management of forests. While education is an important Tl’azt’en value that the John Prince Research Forest has integrated, the integration of other Tl’azt’en values will be examined.

Description[edit | wikitext]

The John Prince Research Forest[edit | wikitext]

The John Prince Research Forest (JPRF) is recognized as the first research forest to be co-managed by a university and a First Nation (Fondahl & Atkinson, 2007). In 1999, the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) and the Tl’azt’en Nation collaborated to form the Chuzghun Resources Corporation (CRC). This self-supporting, non-profit company currently manages the 13,032-hectare forest designated for research, demonstrations, training, and education in the field of forestry known as the JPRF (Grainger et al., 2006; Karjala & Dewhurst, 2003). The JRPF is currently used to promote the region’s ecological and social sustainability through the exchange of their knowledge and values (Grainger et al., 2006). This exchange provides the UNBC with the ability to integrate both traditional and scientific approaches to better interpret the human relationships with the land (Karjala & Dewhurst, 2003). It is for this reason that the JRPF is “internationally recognized…for both its ecological approach to forest stewardship and its leadership in building successful partnerships between Aboriginals and non-Aboriginals” (Grainger et al., 2006, p. 486).

Location[edit | wikitext]

The JPRF is situated in the Sub-Boreal Spruce biogeoclimatic zone of BC (Karjala & Dewhurst, 2003). Its location sits between Chuzghun Bun and Tesgha Bun (Tezzeron and Pinchi Lakes) near Fort St James, British Columbia (Fondahl & Atkinson, 2007). This is approximately 250 kilometres from UNBC’s Prince George campus and makes up 2 percent of Tl’azt’en traditional territory (Fondahl & Atkinson, 2007). Thus, it is acknowledged by the UNBC that Tl’azt’en Nation hold the Aboriginal title and other rights to this area (Yim, 2009).

History[edit | wikitext]

Founded in the year 1990, the UNBC aims to provide the Northern British Columbians with a Natural Resource and Environmental Studies (NRES) program (Grainger et al., 2006). Additionally, the university would serve First Nations of northern British Columbia, including the Tl’azt’en Nation (Grainger et al., 2006). This was the vision of the founding dean of the NRES program, Dr. Fredrick Gilbert (Fondahl & Atkinson, 2007). In 1993, Gilbert had a vision of establishing a research forest near the main campus of UNBC, with at least 10,000-hectares forestland (Fondahl & Atkinson, 2007). Another requirement was the forest’s capability to produce forest products, such as sawlogs and wood fibre, in order to be a successful outdoor teaching and research laboratory (Fondahl & Atkinson, 2007).

Establishing a research forest with the listed requirements was not a possibility for Gilbert. This was partly due to the fact that the majority of the forestlands were occupied by timber companies (Grainger et al., 2006). However, it was evident that the most suitable area was that in the traditional territory of the Tl’azt’en Nation (Grainger et al., 2006). Knowing this, Gilbert proposed the potential research forest to the Fort St. James District Ministry of Forests (Fondahl & Atkinson, 2007). In response, he would need to consult with the members of the  Tl’azt’en Nation currently occupying the land (Fondahl & Atkinson, 2007). Thus, Gilbert had approached the former band manager and deputy chief, John Prince, and his associates (Grainger et al., 2006; Fondahl & Atkinson, 2007).

By 1999, the JPRF was established as both parties had agreed to co-manage the research forest (Grainger et al., 2006). Unfortunately, John Prince had died two years before the research forest’s establishment (Fondahl & Atkinson, 2007). Initially, the research forest was named the UNBC/Tl’azt’en Research Forest, but out of respect for Prince’s active role in pushing this agenda, the research forest was named after him (Fondahl & Atkinson, 2007; Heikkilä & Fondahl, 2012).

Tenure arrangements[edit | wikitext]

The traditional territory of the Tl’azt’en Nation consists of 723,000 ha, but they have full management control of only 9 percent of its land base and resources (Pun, 2016). The remaining 91 percent is under tenure to industrial resource-based license holders that conduct logging, mining, or gas transmission projects on Tl’azt’en territory (Pun, 2016). The BC Provincial Government has not legally ratified the Tl’azt’en Nation’s rights to forest management on their traditional territory, which remains affirmed as unallocated Crown Land (Fondahl & Atkinson, 2007; Pun, 2016). Nevertheless, the Tl’azt’en Nation has acquired control to 9 percent of their lands through tenure agreements which include a forest tenure in the form of a Special-Use Permit held by Chuzghun Resources Corporation (CRC) (Grainger et al., 2006).

Issued by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (MFLNRO), the Special-Use Permit grants the CRC non-exclusive authority to occupy and use the 13,032 ha of Crown land within Tl’azt’en territory (Government of British Columbia, n.d.; Karjala & Dewhurst, 2003; Pun, 2016). The duration of this permit is 25-years and is renewable periodically at 5-year intervals (UNBC, 2014). The reason for establishing the CRC in 2001 was that the BC Provincial Government would only grant tenure to UNBC, but not the Tl’azt’en Nation (Fondahl & Atkinson, 2007).

Since the Tl’azt’en Nation and UNBC equally own the CRC—which is responsible for managing the activities of the JPRF—they both share the rights to the Special-Use Permit grants (Grainger et al., 2006; Yim, 2009). It grants not only the Tl’azt’en Nation the authority to hunt, fish, and gather non-timber forest resources, but also grants UNBC the authority to conduct research activities on wildlife, historical ecology, and forestry within the JPRF which is delineated as Tl’azt’en territory (Karjala & Dewhurst, 2003). Moreover, the Special-Use Permit safeguards Tl’azt’en territory from commercial timber activities because the Tl’azt’en Nation—through its membership in the CRC—has control over the resources within the JPRF such as timber (Karjala & Dewhurst, 2003). Since the Tl’azt’en Nation and UNBC jointly manage the JPRF through the CRC, the Special-Use Permit which the CRC holds is a collaborative management agreement between the Tl'azt'en Nation and UNBC (Grainger et al., 2006; Yim, 2009). From this, it follows that a condition of the Special-Use Permit is the JPRF must be co-managed by the Tl’azt’en Nation and UNBC; if this co-management partnership is discontinued, then the tenure of the land will revert to the Crown (Fondahl & Atkinson, 2007; Yim, 2009).

Alongside the Special-Use Permit, the CRC also holds a License-to-Cut, which the MFLNRO issued and authorized through the BC Forest Act, granting the CRC harvesting privileges in the JPRF (Grainger et al., 2006). The CRC manages the harvesting of 13,000 m3 of timber in the JPRF per annum, which provides local employment and is the central source of funding for the management, research, and educational programs of the JPRF (Yim, 2009). Moreover, under the License-to-Cut, the CRC is responsible for future reforestation and silviculture operations corresponding to the timber harvested (UNBC, 2014).

Administrative arrangements[edit | wikitext]

The administrative arrangements of the JPRF primarily consist of the CRC, which is a federally registered non-profit organization equally owned by the Tl’azt’en Nation and UNBC (Grainger et al., 2006). The establishment of the CRC complies with the Special-Use Permit, which requires that the Tl’azt’en Nation and UNBC are to co-manage the JPRF (Fondahl & Atskinson, 2007; Yim, 2009). The CRC is the managing authority of the JPRF and its activities (Yim, 2009). More precisely, the CRC’s Board of Directors is the decision-making body responsible for directing the forest operations, research, and education programs of the JPRF and its financial management (JPRF, n.d.; Yim, 2009).

The CRC’s Board of Directors has a total of six voting members and two alternates that consists of an equal number of appointees from the Tl’azt’en Nation and UNBC (Grainger et al., 2006; Yim, 2009). One Tl’azt’en appointee and one UNBC appointee co-chair the Board of Directors; these two appointees alternate between leading board meetings, which are held every six to eight weeks (Grainger et al., 2006; Quinn, 2007). The appointees from UNBC include faculty members in the physical and social sciences, administration personnel in the finance department, and a community or industrial representative (Grainger et al., 2006). On the other hand, the appointees from the Tl’azt’en Nation include a government representative such as the Chief, staff members from the natural resources, education, or economic development departments, and a Tl’azt’en First Nation member. Each board member periodically gathers and presents information in board meetings to aid in the decision-making process of the CRC (Grainger et al., 2006).  

The Board of Directors’ decisions can range from strategically planning the type of programs the JPRF will adopt, to making financial decisions which concern budget allocations from the revenue the CRC generates in primarily harvesting timber (Grainger et al., 2006). The decisions of the Board of Directors relating to forest management are subject to the conditions of the Special-Use Permit and License-to-Cut, as well as the laws and regulations relating to the BC Forest Act and Forest Practices Code. For instance, the BC Ministry of Forestry imposed the condition that the JPRF must harvest timber and sell its supply on the provincial timber market. It follows that since the CRC’s Board of Directors has authority on timber harvesting in the JPRF, they must comply with conditions such as the rate-of-cut in timber harvesting—which must be sustainable—as well as reforestation and silviculture obligations corresponding to the timber harvested (Grainger et al., 2006; UNBC, 2014).

The JPRF has offices located in the UNBC campus and Tl’azt’en Nation community, where staff conducts the implementation of decisions made by the Board (Grainger et al., 2006). Staff includes a manager, two research coordinators, and additional seasonal contractors (Quinn, 2007). For instance, forest management on the JPRF is carried out by a team of four full-time contractors that consists of an equal number of Tl’azt’en and non-Tl’azt’en peoples (Grainger et al., 2006). Management duties can typically focus on harvesting timber and silviculture which includes site preparation and planting. Nevertheless, maintaining an equal number of Tl’azt’en and non-Tl’azt’en staff that reports to a Board of Directors also consisting of an equal number is a collaboration intended to foster cross-cultural understanding and respect (Grainger et al., 2006).

Affected Stakeholders[edit | wikitext]

Affected stakeholders are people, groups, or entities that are dependent on their local forests, and have long-term geographic, ancestral/cultural, or subsistence ties to that specific area. In this case study, affected stakeholders include the Tl’azt’en Nation and Tl'azt'en keyoh holders.

Affected Stakeholder Relevant Objectives Relative Power Level of Influence
Tl'azt'en Nation
  • The BC Provincial Government has not legally ratified the Tl’azt’en Nation’s rights to forest management on their traditional territory, so they have no control over the management of the land and resources within their traditional territories, which the BC Provincial Government demarcates as unallocated Crown land (Fondahl & Atkinson, 2007; Pun, 2016).
  • The Tl’azt’en Nation is limited in financial capital, required facilities, and human resources to compete in the forestry sector (Pun, 2016).
  • The Tl’azt’en Nation has been limited in its economic development with few opportunities for employment, however, the JPRF has resulted in the employment of Tl’azt’en people in the forest management of the research forest  (Quinn, 2007).
Low Power Local
Tl'azt'en Keyoh Holders
  • The BC Provincial Government does not recognize keyoh holders as a legal government entity which means that the government does not directly consult with keyoh holders about proposed resource development activities, so they have no influence over the final decision of consultation meetings (Pun, 2016).
  • The ongoing cumulative impacts of industrial activity from logging, mining, and gas transmission projects have hindered Tl’azt’en keyoh holders in conducting their traditional subsistence-based practices (Pun, 2016).
  • The keyohs of these keyoh holders fall within the boundaries of the JPRF land base, so the keyoh holders are subject to the effects of the JPRF’s activities such as timber harvesting which has disrupted their traplines (Fondahl & Atkinson, 2007).
Low Power Local

Interested Outside Stakeholders[edit | wikitext]

Interested stakeholders are people, groups, or entities that are linked in a transaction or activity relating to a forest area, but do not have a long-term dependency on that specific area. In this case study, interested stakeholders include the MFLNRO, UNBC, and CRC.

Interested Stakeholder Relevant Objectives Relative Power Level of Influence
University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC)
  • The reason for UNBC’s interest in pursuing the establishment of the JPRF was that UNBC sought to develop a more practical Natural Resources and Environmental Studies (NRES) by establishing a research forest to facilitate the research and education needs of NRES students and faculty members (Fondahl & Atkinson, 2007).
  • The JPRF land base was large enough for the research forest to be economically viable in producing forest products which would be sold to fund research and education programs (Fondahl & Atkinson, 2007; Grainger et al., 2006).
  • The JPRF land base was ideal for natural resource management and conducting research activities because it featured old stands of Douglas fir as well as a diversity of wildlife, spawning streams, vegetation, and wetland areas (Fondahl & Atkinson, 2007).
Low Power Local
Chuzghun Resources Corporation (CRC)
  • The CRC is the managing authority of the JPRF in which the interests of its Board of Directors are reflected in their decisions that range from the types of programs the JPRF will adopt, to making financial decisions which concern budget allocations from the revenue the CRC generates (Grainger et al., 2006).
  • The CRC holds tenure to the JPRF land base through a Special-Use Permit, they have the authority to control and manage the resources within this land base (Pun, 2016; Karjala & Dewhurst, 2003).
High Power Local
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (MFLNRO)
  • The MFLNRO is a branch of the BC Provincial Government that is responsible for the management of natural resources—such as timber—in BC’s public forests which falls under Crown land (Government of British Columbia, n.d.).
  • The MFLNRO has the authority to administer and revert forest tenure and permits such as the Special-Use permit it issued to the CRC which grants them tenure to the land base of the JPRF (HSPP, 2015).
  • The MFLNRO imposed the condition that the JPRF must harvest timber to sell on the provincial timber market, thereby subjecting the JPRF to stumpage fees for its harvesting activities that must be paid to the provincial government (Booth & Skelton, 2011; Grainger et al., 2006).
High Power Provincial


Discussion[edit | wikitext]

UNBC’s Aims and Intentions in Establishing the JPRF[edit | wikitext]

The UNBC’s motto is written in a Northern Athapaskan language known as Dakelh (Grainger et al., 2006; Pun, 2016). This language is commonly used among the First Nations in north-central British Columbia, including the Tl’azt’en Nation (Grainger et al., 2006). The motto is written as “En cha huna”, which translates to “respect for all living things” (Grainger et al., 2006). This is indicative of the respect UNBC has in its commitment to establish a cooperative, consultative approach towards its collaboration with First Nations (Fondahl & Atkinson, 2007; Grainger et al., 2006). It follows that the establishment of the JPRF would serve as an opportunity to build successful partnerships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples (Grainger et al., 2006). Additionally, the JPRF aims to provide the Tl’azt’en Nation with a role in forest management and land-use decision making, which are critical Tl’azt’en values (Fondahl et al., n.d.; Fondahl & Atkinson, 2007).

Prior to the establishment of the JPRF, the land which it presently occupies—between the Tezzeron and Pinchi Lakes—was claimed by the BC Provincial Government as unallocated Crown land (Fondahl & Atkinson, 2007). This meant that the land was not freehold, thus abolishing the administrative and material control that the Tl’azt’en Nation previously held (Fondahl & Atkinson, 2007). For over two centuries, the Tl’azt’en Nation used this land for “trail networks, burial sites, plant harvest areas (for food, medicines, and implements), culturally modified trees, and spiritual and healing sites” (Fondahl & Atkinson, 2007, p. 75). Although this historical attachment to the land was disregarded by the BC Provincial Government, the Tl’azt’en Nation reacquired management rights to a portion of their traditional land through co-managing the JPRF with the UNBC (Fondahl & Atkinson, 2007; Grainger et al., 2006).

Relative Successes and Failures[edit | wikitext]

In 1995, both the UNBC and Tl’azt’en Nation signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which was a document outlining the foundation of co-managing the research forest (Fondahl & Atkinson, 2007; Grainger et al., 2006). Through the MOU, the Tl’azt’en Nation would receive the JPRF’s economic benefits such as timber supply and employment (Grainger et al., 2006). This is deemed successful as it provides them with the opportunity to continue being the “caretakers of the land” (Tl’azt’en Nation, n.d.). Furthermore, it has alleviated a critical issue within the Tl’azt’en Nation regarding the lack of employment and economic development, which are critical Tl’azt’en values (Fondahl et al., n.d.; Grainger et al., 2006; Quinn, 2007). Initially, many members of the Tl’azt’en Nation, residing in the main village of Tache, could not find work in their local communities (Quinn, 2007). Thus, the local work offered in the JPRF has eliminated the once required 45-minute commute to Fort St. James (Quinn, 2007)

UNBC’s role in the MOU was to use the forestland for research and training purposes, specifically for the NRES program (Grainger et al., 2006). The research UNBC conducts in the JPRF focuses on “forestry operations; wildlife; recreation and tourism; and environmental, social, cultural, and community studies” (Quinn, 2007, p. 59). This has proven to be successful as it promotes the visiting of other researchers and ecotourism, which is a strong desire of the Tl’azt’en Nation (Nepal, 2004; Quinn, 2007). Ecotourism is considered highly important to the members of the Tl’azt’en Nation since it preserves their traditional values; this is reflected in articulating the cultural heritage of the Tl’azt’en Nation’s relationship to their traditional lands through guided tours of the JPRF (Nepal, 2004; Quinn, 2007). From this, it follows that the JPRF is advancing its intentions to incorporate many other values of the Tl’azt’en Nation. These values include demonstrating the importance of wildlife to society; strengthening our connection to nature; and most importantly, education of traditional knowledge as it relates to nature (Karjala et al., 2004; Nepal, 2004; Quinn, 2007).

Ultimately, the objective of these JPRF programs is to prepare students and Tl'azt'en youth to become natural resource managers and community leaders (Quinn, 2007). UNBC has been successful in accomplishing this as its students are engaged in numerous camps and field trips for biology, geography, natural resource management, planning and tourism that are hosted by the UNBC. Meanwhile, the Tl'azt'en youth participate in training programs which have drawn their focus to employment, work experience, and volunteering (Quinn, 2007). Through these programs, the Tl'azt'en youth have constructed traditional trails, pit houses, and interpretive signage all of which promote critical Tl'azt'en values (Fondahl & Atkinson, 2007; Quinn, 2007). Thus, the JPRF has also been very successful in prioritizing the promotion of critical Tl'azt'en values which include employment opportunities for youth, transmitting traditional knowledge and cultural values, and promoting a strong sense of pride and ownership (Fondahl et al., n.d.; Quinn, 2007).

Critical Issues and Conflicts[edit | wikitext]

Although the establishment of the JPRF has proven to be a success in building a partnership with the Tl'azt'en Nation, a major conflict has hindered its economic and educational advancement (Grainger et al., 2006; Fondahl & Atkinson, 2007). In particular, the keyoh holders have objected to both the Tl’azt’en Nation and the UNBC’s decisions to host activities on their traditional family lands (Fondahl & Atkinson, 2007). Although most of the JPRF is comprised of Tl’azt’en Nation traditional territory, it is still within the keyohs of individual families Grainger et al., 2006). Thus, it creates an conflict with the keyoh holders, claiming that the land is first keyoh territory, then Tl’azt’en territory; and that using their land without authorization is a serious infraction (Aasen, 1992; Fondahl & Atkinson, 2007). As a solution to this problem, keyoh holders proposed an idea to the CRC: to provide them with a greater role in the decision-making of activities that are planned on their keyohs (Fondahl & Atkinson, 2007). Furthermore, they would have some veto power over the hosted activities in the JPRF, as well as receiving most of its derived benefits. Undoubtedly, this would create numerous complications regarding whom the forest should benefit (Fondahl & Atkinson, 2007).

However, the CRC is managing this issue by acquiring an equal number of appointees from UNBC and the Tl’azt’en Nation, of whom one of them is a keyoh holder (Grainger et al., 2006). In addition to this, the CRC has granted a policy of shared benefits to the concerned keyoh holders. This policy prioritizes the participation of keyoh members—which is a critical Tl’azt’en value—in research programs, employment opportunities, and a capital fund which is primarily used to enhance community infrastructure such as building cabins, trails, and wildlife programs (Fondahl et al., n.d.; Grainger et al., 2006).

Assessment of Governance and Relative Power[edit | wikitext]

Low Power: Tl’azt’en Nation[edit | wikitext]

The Tl’azt’en Nation are affected stakeholders that have low power. Under the current BC forest policy, the Tl’azt’en Nation—among other First Nations—do not have legal title to control over the management of the land and resources within their traditional territories, which the BC Provincial Government demarcates as unallocated Crown land (Fondahl & Atkinson, 2007; Pun, 2016). Between 2012 and 2013, the Tl’azt’en Nation had access to only 1 percent of timber volume compared to other major licensees; the reason for this is that, unlike major licensees, the Tl’azt’en Nation is limited in financial capital, required facilities, and human resources to compete in the forestry sector (Pun, 2016). It follows that the Tl’azt’en Nation has been limited in its economic development with few opportunities for employment (Quinn, 2007). However, the establishment of the JPRF has resulted in the employment of Tl’azt’en people in the forest management of the research forest (Grainger et al., 2006; Quinn, 2007). It has also resulted in increasing the Tl’azt’en Nation’s control over a portion of their traditional territory and its timber resources; this was possible through the Special-Use Permit and License-to-Cut that were issued to the CRC—which the Tl’azt’en Nation and UNBC jointly manage—thereby granting them tenure to the traditional land the JPRF occupies (Grainger et al., 2006; Quinn, 2007).

Low Power: Tl’azt’en Keyoh Holders[edit | wikitext]

Tl’azt’en keyoh holders are affected stakeholders that have low power. Although they are members of a particular clan belonging to the Tl’azt’en Nation, the BC Provincial Government does not recognize keyoh holders as a legal entity; this means that the government does not directly consult with keyoh holders, so they have no influence regarding forestry decisions (Pun, 2016). Keyoh holders have exclusive customary rights to acquiring resources in their respective keyoh through traditional subsistence-based practices which include hunting, trapping, fishing, and gathering medicinal plants (Grainger et al., 2006; Pun, 2016). However, the ongoing cumulative impacts of industrial activity from logging, mining, and gas transmission projects have hindered Tl’azt’en keyoh holders in conducting their traditional subsistence-based practices (Pun, 2016). Among these impacts, the JPRF—since it began harvesting operations in 1999—has also been a point of contention between some of the keyoh holders and the CRC (Fondahl & Atkinson, 2007). The reason for this is that some of the keyohs fall within the boundaries of the JPRF land base, so the keyoh holders have challenged the right of the CRC to authorize activities on their keyohs (Fondahl & Atkinson, 2007). From this, it follows that the keyoh holders have asked the CRC Board of Directors to compensate them for the disruption of their traplines as a result of the JPRF land base overlapping with their keyohs and traplines (Grainger et al., 2006; Pun, 2016).

Low Power: UNBC[edit | wikitext]

The University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) is an interested stakeholder that has low power. UNBC is not per se the managing authority of the JPRF; rather, UNBC co-manages the JPRF with the Tl’azt’en Nation through the CRC which holds tenure to the JPRF land base (Fondahl & Atskinson, 2007; Yim, 2009).The reason for pursuing the establishment of the JPRF was that UNBC sought to develop a more practical Natural Resources and Environmental Studies (NRES) curriculum that would facilitate the research and education needs of NRES students and faculty members (Fondahl & Atkinson, 2007). The JPRF land base was ideal for natural resource management and research because it featured old stands of Douglas fir as well as a diversity of wildlife, spawning streams, vegetation, and wetland areas (Fondahl & Atkinson, 2007). Since the MOU apportions UNBC with the ability to conduct research in the JPRF, UNBC uses this power to conduct research activities on wildlife, historical ecology, and forestry (Karjala & Dewhurst, 2003; Grainger et al., 2006).

High Power: Chuzghun Resources Corporation[edit | wikitext]

The Chuzghun Resources Corporation (CRC) is an interested stakeholder that has high power. Since the CRC holds tenure to the JPRF land base through a Special-Use Permit, they have the legal power to control and manage the resources within this land base (Pun, 2016; Karjala & Dewhurst, 2003). They also hold a License-to-Cut, so they use their power to manage and harvest timber resources within the JPRF (Karjala & Dewhurst, 2003). The revenue the CRC generates in primarily harvesting timber is used to fund the forest operations, research, and educational programs of the JPRF that the CRC’s Board of Directors manages and directs (Yim, 2009). Through its Board of Directors, the CRC uses its power to make decisions ranging from the types of programs the JPRF will adopt, to making financial decisions which concern budget allocations from the revenue the CRC generates (Grainger et al., 2006). The CRC has used its power in decision-making to allocate revenue generated from logging to fund initiatives that promote critical Tl’azt’en values; these values include outdoor culture camps, enhancing community infrastructure, and maintaining viable populations and habitats of wildlife through wildlife enhancement programs (Fondahl et al., n.d.; Quinn, 2007). If the CRC continues supporting initiatives that promote critical Tl’azt’en values, then this will further strengthen the trusting relationship between the JPRF and Tl’azt’en Nation.

High Power: Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations[edit | wikitext]

The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (MFLNRO) is an interested stakeholder that has high power. The MFLNRO is a branch of the BC Provincial Government that is responsible for the management of natural resources—such as timber—in BC’s public forests which falls under Crown land (Government of British Columbia, n.d.). Moreover, the MFLNRO has the authority to administer forest tenure and permits such as the Special-Use permit it issued to the CRC which grants them tenure to the land base of the JPRF (HSPP, 2015). When the MFLNRO issued the Special-Use permit to the CRC, however, it imposed the condition that the JPRF must harvest timber and sell its supply on the provincial timber market (Grainger et al., 2006). This condition benefits the BC Provincial Government because the JPRF is consequently charged stumpage fees for its harvesting activities that must be paid to the provincial government (Booth & Skelton, 2011; Grainger et al., 2006). It follows that if tenure holders—such as the CRC—do not comply with the conditions of the tenure agreement and Forest Act, then the MFLNRO has the authority to revert forest tenures to the Crown (Cathro & Walsh, 2000).

Recommendations for the JPRF[edit | wikitext]

Promoting Employment Through Ecotourism[edit | wikitext]

Despite the success of the JPRF with employing members of the Tl’azt’en Nation, it has had little effect in alleviating the unemployment rate in the Tl’azt’en Nation which is as high as 85 percent (Pun, 2014). After all, the JPRF employs only two Tl’azt’enne full-time, both of whom are contractors in the forest management for the research forest; other Tl’azt’enne are employed on a part-time or seasonal basis (Quinn, 2007). Thus, initiatives should be undertaken to promote employment opportunities in the JPRF that can benefit the Tl’azt’en.

Since the Tl’azt’en Nation is interested in developing non-timber industries—particularly ecotourism within the JPRF—the CRC should use their authority and make the decision to implement ecotourism into the JPRF (Karjala & Dewhurst, 2003). In doing so, the implementation of ecotourism in the JPRF would benefit the Tl’azt’en Nation by providing them with employment, developing their financial independence, and diversifying their market presence beyond simply the timber industry (Karjala & Dewhurst, 2003). Ecotourism in the JPRF could focus not only on wildlife and nature but also on the cultural heritage of the Tl’azt’en Nation and their historic relationship to their traditional lands (Nepal, 2014).

This is possible through employing Tl’azt’enne as guides, translators, and storytellers that facilitate the tours; these positions would be inclusive of engaging Tl’azt’en youth, elders, males, and females who can all share their local knowledge about their traditional ways of life and values (Nepal, 2014). For instance, they could share their knowledge of traplines, medicinal plants, subsistence practices, and traditional stories, all of which would promote awareness about the cultural integrity of the Tl’azt’en traditional land the JPRF occupies (Nepal, 2014). Researchers and graduate students from UNBC could also facilitate these tours together with the Tl’azt’enne and share their knowledge of their research relating to the JPRF. This would create a holistic approach to learning that incorporates traditional knowledge with scientific knowledge, and thus supports further collaboration between the Tl’azt’en Nation and UNBC.

Increasing Board Meeting Attendance[edit | wikitext]

The CRC board members hold meetings approximately every six to eight weeks where they discuss finances, land management, and the activities of the JPRF (Grainger et al., 2006). The regular attendance of all six board members is essential in providing each and everyone's inputs on management decisions (Grainger et al., 2006). It will allow the CRC to make fair unanimous decisions regarding the potential implementation of programs, budget allocations, capital acquisitions, and administrative policies (Grainger et al., 2006). Despite adopting a small board size, however, it has become an ongoing challenge to have every board member attend meetings regularly; this has hindered the effectiveness of board meetings in facilitating active participation among all the board members who could each share their specific management perspectives (Grainger et al., 2006; Quinn, 2007).

Regular attendance is critical to board performance, so the CRC Board of Directors should agree upon an attendance policy that establishes an expectation of attendance in board meetings (Haan, 2006). In doing so, this attendance policy should mandate that if any board member is absent in two meetings, then they will be subject to removal from the board at the discretion of a unanimous agreement among the board members. The CRC must not rescind from enforcing their attendance policy, otherwise it will indicate to the board members that regular attendance is not mandatory (Haan, 2006).

The JPRF employs support staff whose responsibilities include organizational duties with respect to the functioning of the Board (Grainger et al., 2006). This means that the staff can coordinate with the board members before every scheduled board meeting and deliver Minutes that include a review of management discussions that took place in preceding meetings. This will ensure that all board members have information about what is expected in the performance of their duties as it relates to upcoming meetings; this can reduce role ambiguity among board members, thereby encouraging regular attendance in board meetings (Haan, 2006). If any board members are unable to attend an upcoming meeting due to extenuating circumstances, then they could attend a meeting through a video conference with the board members. This will ensure that no board member is left out of touch and can share their perspectives in the decision-making of the CRC (Haan, 2006).

Promoting Active Participation of Keyoh Holders[edit | wikitext]

The CRC Board of Directors currently reserves one of its six seats for a keyoh holder (Grainger et al., 2006). However, reserving merely a single seat for a keyoh holder means that their voting power is outweighed by the two seats held by the Tl’azt’en Nation and three seats held by UNBC. This means that the Tl’azt’en Nation and UNBC can authorize activities on keyoh territory because they each have more seats than the keyoh holders, which is unfair (Fondahl & Atkinson, 2007).

The keyoh holders desire to be recognized as equal partners with shared authority in the decision-making of the use of land and resources within their keyoh territories (Pun, 2014). So, to promote fairness in the equal partnership between the groups of board members, the CRC should seek to appoint an additional keyoh holder to the Board of Directors; the involvement of keyoh holders is a critical Tl’azt’en value which is an outcome of facilitating active participation of keyoh holders in the decision-making of the CRC (Quinn, 2007). However, to maintain an equal ratio of members from the Tl’azt’en Nation and from UNBC, the CRC should also appoint another UNBC representative. In doing so, the CRC’s “small size” of board members will increase, thereby increasing the diversity of views expressed in board meetings (Grainger et al., 2006). By promoting the role of the Tl’azt’en keyoh holders in the governance of the JPRF, a greater sense of pride and ownership–which is another critical Tl’azt’en value–can develop among the keyoh holders in acquiring control of their keyohs through consultation with the CRC (Quinn, 2007).

References[edit | wikitext]

  1. Aasen, W. K. G. (1992). Should the clans decide?: the problems of modelling self-government among the Carrier-Sekani Indians of British Columbia. Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/docview/304056592?pq-origsite=summon
  2. Booth, A. L., & Skelton, N. W. (2011). “There's a conflict right there”: Integrating indigenous community values into commercial forestry in the Tl'azt'en First Nation. Society and Natural Resources, 24(4), 368-383.
  3. Cathro, J., & Walsh, S. (2000). Tenure Reform in British Columbia: Developing Tenure That Benefits Communities. Retrieved from https://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hfd/library/documents/bib96992.pdf
  4. Fondahl, G., & Atkinson, D. (2007). Remaking space in north-central British Columbia: the establishment of the John Prince Research Forest. BC Studies: The British Columbian Quarterly, (154), 67-95.
  5. Fondahl, G., Leon, B., & Grainger, S. (n.d.). Forestry management based on Local Values: an Example of Forest Co-management in British Columbia. Retrieved from https://www.iwgia.org/images/publications//IA_4-06_British_Colombia.pdf
  6. Government of British Columbia (n.d.). Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. Retrieved from https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/organizational-structure/ministries-organizations/ministries/forests-lands-natural-resource-operations-and-rural-development
  7. Grainger, S., Sherry, E., & Fondahl, G. (2006). The John Prince Research Forest: evolution of a co-management partnership in northern British Columbia. The Forestry Chronicle, 82(4), 484-495.
  8. Haan, R. L. (2006). Absenteeism on nonprofit boards: A relationship between board size, attendance policies, training programs, and meeting types. Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/docview/304933799?pq-origsite=summon
  9. Heikkilä, K., & Fondahl, G. (2012). Co-managed research: non-Indigenous thoughts on an Indigenous toponymy project in northern British Columbia. Journal of Cultural Geography, 29(1), 61-86.
  10. HSPP (2015). Province of British Columbia. Retrieved from http://www.hspp.ca/products/Fibre/forestgovernance.pdf
  11. JPRF (n.d.). WHO WE ARE….Retrieved from http://jprf.ca/about
  12. Karjala, M. K., & Dewhurst, S. M. (2003). Including Aboriginal issues in forest planning: a case study in central interior British Columbia, Canada. Landscape and Urban Planning, 64, 1-17.
  13. Karjala, M. K., Sherry, E. E., & Dewhurst, S. M. (2004). Criteria and indicators for sustainable forest planning: a framework for recording Aboriginal resource and social values. Forest Policy and Economics, 6(2), 95-110.
  14. Nepal, S. K. (2004). Indigenous ecotourism in central British Columbia: The potential for building capacity in the Tl'azt'en Nations territories. Journal of Ecotourism, 3(3), 173-194.
  15. Pun, S. B. (2014). THE OPPORTUNITES AND LIMITATIONS OF FIRST NATIONS FORESTRY AGREEMENTS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: COLLECTIVE EXPERIENCE OF THE TL’AZT’EN NATION & THE FUTURE NEED FOR COMMUNITY-BASED RESOURCE MANAGEMENT & DECISION-MAKING. Retrieved from https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/84873819.pdf
  16. Pun, S. B. (2016). The implications and challenges of First Nations forestry negotiations in British Columbia, Canada: The Tl’azt’en Nation experience. Journal of Sustainable Forestry,35(8), 543-561.
  17. Quinn, S. E. (2007). Locally defined measures of successful forest co-management: A case study of Tl’azt’en Nation and the John Prince Research Forest (Master’s Thesis). Retrieved from http://jprf.ca/files/SarahQuinnThesis.pdf
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  19. UNBC (2014). BOARD OF GOVERNORS PUBLIC MEETING PACKAGE: Saturday, November 29, 2014 UNBC Senate Chambers. Retrieved from https://www.unbc.ca/sites/default/files/sections/governance/november292014bogpublicmeetingpackagenm.pdf
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