Three Yukon First Nations have committed to develop a common land use plan for the Southern Lakes region.
Representatives from Carcross/Tagish First Nation, the Ta'an Kwäch'än Council and the Kwanlin Dün First Nation held a signing ceremony in Carcross last week.
"We are recognizing and following our responsibilities to collaboratively create a Land Use Plan that will guide our future endeavours in regards to our land and water on our Traditional Territory," says Carcross/Tagish Chief Andy Carvill in a statement issued by the First Nations.
According to the statement, the principles of Indigenous land use planning include supporting an Indigenous world view, and drawing from traditional knowledge as well as science.
Ta'an Kwäch'än Chief Kristina Kane called the signing event an "important day."
"Our new project charter honours past work and recognizes traditional values, as it leads us forward with our Indigenous vision for Southern Lakes Land Use Planning," she said, in the statement.
The agreement moves the three First Nations one step closer to creating a blueprint for the future management of their settlement lands.
"This agreement ... will ensure First Nation values are integrated into the overall vision and plan," said Kwanlin Dün Chief Doris Bill.
Ron Cruikshank, director of the Yukon Land Use Planning Council, applauds the agreement and says it is important for the First Nations to clarify their vision for the region now.
He says it's not clear when a commission might be established to develop a regional land use plan for the area.
Cruikshank encourages First Nations and the Yukon government to "get their act together before the commissions begin."
Regional land use planning in the territory has been suspended since a case involving the Peel Watershed Land Use Plan was brought before the courts. A decision from the Supreme Court of Canada is expected on that case later this fall.