The Kwanlin Dun First Nation and the Yukon government have signed an intergovernmental accord to help them collaborate on health, training, land development and safety initiatives. Premier Darrell Pasloski and Kwanlin Dun First Nation Chief Doris Bill signed the agreement at the end of November.
The accord is not legally binding, but according to Kwanlin Dun executive director Roxanne Vallevand, it “solidifies our partnership with the Yukon government in some of the areas of priority for Kwanlin Dun.”
The agreement outlines several plans to improve community safety. Jeanie Dendys, director of justice for Kwanlin Dun, said the First Nation plans to install more lighting on trails, and is considering setting up security cameras. It’s also planning to hire a security coordinator before the New Year.
Dendys said those initiatives will build on work the First Nation has already done, including a community clean-up that involved clearing brush from trails and removing derelict vehicles and debris from the community.
“We feel that having a safe, secure community is a foundation to healing,” Dendys said.
The accord also outlines a plan to expand programming at the Jackson Lake healing centre, and to include services for youth and adults involved in the criminal justice system.
Some of the other commitments are focused on training opportunities for Kwanlin Dun community members. Vallevand said the aboriginal relations branch of the Yukon government has already hired one Kwanlin Dun citizen for an 18-month training period, which is one of the targets laid out in the accord. She is working on policy, capacity development with other First Nations and the file on missing and murdered aboriginal women.
“I’m hoping that that will be a continuing opportunity,” Vallevand said.
The agreement also includes a commitment to train Kwanlin Dun government personnel in emergency and crisis management.
Dendys said the First Nation is developing its own culturally appropriate crisis and emergency response plan that other First Nations may follow.
The two governments also plan to “collaborate on the feasibility of campground development within KDFN traditional territory,” according to the agreement.
Vallevand said that could include the construction of a new campground with the Yukon government, but she doesn’t know where that might be.
“This is very high level at this time. We haven’t entered into any discussions around this.”
The governments will develop an action plan within 90 days to provide more detail about how these goals will be met.