Roles and Responsibilities
The Tk’wemíple7 (Chief and Council) are the elected representatives of Adams Lake Indian Band (ALIB) in accordance with the Adams Lake Secwepemc Election Rules. The Band Council represents the political areas of Band business: support and advocate our comprehensive community strategic plan (CCSP); deal with Band bylaws and policies; and oversee the management of fiscal resources and assets for the benefit of all ALIB members.
The Band Council also represents the Band’s political position within our Secwepemcul’ecw at regional (Lakes Division: Neskonlith, Splatsin, Little Shuswap and Shuswap Indian Bands); Shuswap Nation Tribal Council (9 southern Bands) and Secwepemc Nation (all 17 Bands); and all local, provincial and federal levels of government.
The Band Council works closely with the Title and Rights Department which has primarily been set up to carry out important work in protecting and defending the unextinguished rights of the people of Adams Lake Indian Band.
A New Way of Governing
In 2015, the Adams Lake Indian Band (ALIB) elected a new Chief and Council. As a key part of their mandate, Kukpi’7 (Chief) Robin Billy and Councilors committed themselves to introducing a new way of governing the community. The Band Council is seeking a model of governance that: reflects a more traditional approach; values the needs of the community; honours our Secwepemc culture; and recognizes our role as stewards of the land in our traditional territories.
The Centre for First Nations Governance was contacted to assist ALIB in establishing the beginning steps of a governance building process. The Centre helped secure funding to implement a series of community meetings to put forth governance information and to seek input on core values and beliefs that could potentially be incorporated into a new governance system. The initial two community forums were funded in part by the New Relationship Trust program.
Establishing a new governance system or re-establishing portions of our traditional governance system is a very difficult undertaking. Measures are being taken to engage as many community members as possible in planned governance discussions to ensure the process is viewed as transparent and to encourage open dialogue on these matters.
The first step is to engage the Membership of Adams Lake. At early meetings it was presented that ALIB Membership collectively hold title and rights to our traditional lands. It is essential Membership understand their rights, their responsibilities and recognize that their authority is required to give direction to all efforts to change the way ALIB is governed. Community involvement validates and legitimizes both the process of change and what results from that change.
The second step is to identify concerns, challenges and ideas that arise in outlining a new course in establishing defined practices that lead to good governance. Ongoing dialogue and discussion among Membership is a critical component in this step.
After two community forums, participants have identified a long list of topics to address on the way to being more actively involved in governing ourselves. The following are listed as priorities:
- Selecting Leaders
- Structure of Traditional Government
- Financial Planning for the Future
- Protecting Landmarks/Pictographs
- Making Secwepemctsin (Secwepemc Language) and Culture a Priority
The next steps involve ALIB developing strategies, a work plan, and identifying the resources to implement the identified priorities and to prepare for future governance efforts. The Centre for First Nations Governance recommends that the community organize a working group that regularly plans and engages the community on a regular basis. The Centre also suggests that ALIB research their traditions of governance and law, share those finding with its people and explore the notion of creating a Secwepemc Constitution that is fully supported by its Membership.
We must continue to advance our title and rights. To make meaningful advances in title and rights, we need contributions from each and every member of our community. Everyone is encouraged to participate in our monthly title and rights Information sessions.
Secwepemc Nation Unity Declaration 2012
There is a common understanding that we need to work together as a Nation and unity will be the key to our success. On June 22, 2012 the Chiefs of the Secwepemc Nation met to formally sign a protocol agreement. Unity Meetings are held regularly to ensure that common goals and objectives continue to be pursued collectively.