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News archive for February 6, 2014

Partnerships can provide inspiration, delegates told

Yukon First Nations gathered at the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre this week for the annual First Nation Governance and Capacity Development Conference.

By Ainslie Cruickshank on February 6, 2014 at 3:18 pm

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

KICKING OFF THE EVENT – The All Nation Dancers began the First Nation Governance and Capacity Development Conference Wednesday morning with song and drum. Kristina Kane Albert Rock Rut Massie, left-right

Yukon First Nations gathered at the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre this week for the annual First Nation Governance and Capacity Development Conference.

The conference is hosted by the Yukon government, Aboriginal Affairs, and the Council for Yukon First Nations.

“This conference is an opportunity for all of us to listen and learn from each other,” noted Ruth Massie, the grand chief of the Council of Yukon First Nations, during her opening remarks.

The outlook of each of the opening speakers was optimistic.

“It is inspiring to learn about the many strides forward Yukon First Nations governments have taken.

It is exciting to be a part of this climate of change and growth in our territory,” said Chief Kristina Kane of the Ta’an Kwach’an Council.

She expressed her interest in forming new partnerships and working together to address challenges.

“These partnerships are essential to achieving stronger communities, improving the health of our people and also to provide us networks that ultimately improve the quality of our people’s lives,” she said.

“Strong partnerships will increase the strength of our voice and allow for collaborative opportunities in our leaderships and governments when it comes to meeting the needs of our communities.”

Kane’s comments were echoed by Kwanlin Dun councillor Jessie Dawson, who spoke on behalf of Chief Rick O’Brien.

“Regardless of where we are with our governments and economic development, we must work together, as we all know that there are strengths in numbers. Can you imagine the things we can do and the places we can go together?” said Dawson.

She went on to highlight the importance of education – a theme of this year’s conference – to growth and poverty reduction.

Health and Social Services Minister Doug Graham offered opening comments on behalf of the Yukon government.

“Through open communications and dedication to working in partnership, we will succeed in building a better future for all Yukoners,” he said.

Energy, Mines and Resources Minister Scott Kent was scheduled to speak this afternoon about the Yukon’s energy future.

Graham highlighted the talk Wednesday, and noted energy is an area of great potential for future partnerships.

Other speakers scheduled to give presentations over the two-day conference include former First Nations leaders Danny Joe, Percy Henry and Ray Jackson, who were set to discuss their visions for the territory’s unique governance landscape.

Three current chiefs, Chief Eddie Taylor of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, Chief Math’ieya Alatini of the Kluane First Nation, and Champagne and Aishihik First Nations Chief James Allen were scheduled to discuss First Nations Governance, Education and Economic Development.

Other talks were to focus on strategies for First Nation governance and capacity development and First Nation specific initiatives at Yukon College.

Albert Rock, an aboriginal entrepreneur based in the Yukon, gave the keynote address Wednesday morning.

In the 1970s, Rock established ACR Mechanical Systems Ltd. and later developed the data logger which changed the way data are collected to diagnose system problems.

Rock’s advice for Yukon First Nations governments was to slow down and not panic.

Progress and development, he suggested, can be achieved more easily if governments take their time and work together.

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