Fish and wildlife, increased First Nations representation in the public service and the work of the Yukon Advisory Council on the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, were among the more than a dozen topics discussed at the Yukon Forum held Sept. 18 in Teslin.
The Yukon Forum is a meeting of Yukon First Nations and territorial government cabinet officials held four times each year to focus on shared issues. This time around 16 items were discussed.
Both Premier Sandy Silver and Council of Yukon First Nations Grand Chief Peter Johnston were quick to highlight the work coming out of the forum speaking to reporters by phone from Teslin.
“Today’s Yukon Forum addressed a number of priorities for Yukon First Nations, including increasing representation of Yukon First Nations in the public service and strengthening accountability and collaboration on fish and wildlife issues,” Johnston said, praising the work by the governments, as both he and Silver said work will continue on the public service plan with efforts to increase the number of First Nations workers in the public service.
On fish and wildlife matters, the leaders pointed to the final report being presented on the review of the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board. Recommendations from that would see work done with the board to strengthen public accountability, improve board oversight and leadership, and build clarity and collaboration on Yukon’s fish and wildlife management structure.
Johnston said there are many “very ambitious” files with much work happening behind the scenes as they work towards “Yukon-made solutions”.
Silver stressed work will continue on all fronts as the territory and First Nations find ways to partner together.
The discussions focused on Yukon-specific issues, but the federal election is also on the minds of leaders.
“The election looming is very important,” Johnston said. “As First Nations there’s a lot we want to see brought forward.”
Though he did not say whether he would endorse any candidate, Johnston did note it’s important all candidates know the progress First Nations have made in the territory and recognize the self-government agreements in place.
This marked the third Yukon Forum in 2019 and the 11th since the Working Together Declaration between the Yukon government and First Nations was signed in January 2017.
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