North

Gwich'in self-government on track for 2023, says council vice-president

Norman Snowshoe, vice-president of the Gwich'in Tribal Council, says their plan for a self-government agreement is right on track, despite a delay in approving the agreement in principle.

Approval of agreement in principle, expected this week, postponed until all directors available

The vice president of the Gwich’in Tribal Council says their plan for a self-government agreement is right on track. 'We gave ourselves a lot of time to do all the work that is required,' says Norman Snowshoe. (Submitted)

The vice-president of the Gwich'in Tribal Council says their plan for a self-government agreement is right on track, despite a delay in approving the agreement in principle.

The council announced Monday it was going to present the agreement in principle to its board of directors this week, but Snowshoe says they are now waiting until all the directors are available. 

"The directors were given the mandate to approve it at the last assembly, which was held in August," he said.

"We were supposed to do that [Tuesday] but we do not have a full contingent of directors, so we have to wait until we get all of our directors at the table and then we will present it."

The AIP outlines controls the Gwich'in government and Gwich'in community governments will take over lands, education, housing and more. Approval of an AIP by the council and the territorial and federal governments will lead to negotiations for a final agreement. 

"I think we developed a good list of negotiation chapters and I think this will provide us with a very good step forward," said Snowshoe.

"It's just a foundation for future negotiations, but I think it's a very solid foundation for negotiation of a future agreement."

Snowshoe says in 2013 the council came up with a timeline for its self-government agreement, with goals for an agreement in principle in three years; a final agreement in seven years; and an effective date in 10.

"We are within that timeline that we proposed to our board," he said.

"We gave ourselves a lot of time to do all the work that is required and I think that we are moving at a very good pace."

Snowshoe says they're on track to meet the timeline's goal of self-government by 2023.

now