The Trust project began with:
- Research into what a First Nations trust is, and what it isn’t
- Research into best practices from across Canada, and various examples of First Nations trusts
- Finding resources that can help us understand trusts and made good decisions when resources do become available for investing in a trust
Setting up community information sessions
Many First Nations begin their trust development work by bringing in one of the big accounting firms, who make a business of setting up and running these trusts. Takla chose to take a more community-based approach to start, doing our own exploration and bringing in our own resources in the initial stages.
One of the things we’re committed to doing is identifying traditional ways of knowing or conducting business that might help influence how Takla runs a trust.
Louis’ son David Tapper is a financial investment advisor also works with First Nations Trusts.
Brian Payer, Ojibway and an experienced economic development advisor to First Nations across BC and Canada.
Louis, David and Brian all attended the May 4, 2018 Chief and Council meeting to present information on First Nations trusts, taxation issues, and investment for the long-term. All three participated in the May 5 community information session in Prince George, with Louis’ presentation being the focal point.
Q&A about trusts
Question: Doesn’t Takla already have a Trust?
Answer: No, the Band never established an actual trust. People are talking about AuRico funds, which several years ago were going to go into a trust. The trust was never set up, some funds were spent to get out of Management Action Plan and manage the deficit. The rest of the money, approximately $350,000 is being held in a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) by Woodward and Company LLP the law firm that was the first in Canada to successfully prove Aboriginal title. Rick Turgeon, Takla’s Director of Finance, has confirmed that the trust was never completed and that the annual audit procedure is to have the law firm confirm the amount of the GIC. Turgeon last confirmed the existence of the GIC on Friday, September 22, 2017, and the upcoming audit will confirm the amount and existence of the remaining AuRico funds. These are funds that could be moved to a trust if Takla establishes one.
Question: Why are we trying to do this now?
Answer: Takla is in the middle of major negotiations with the provincial and federal governments, and with industry. We don’t know how it will all end up, but Chief and Council want the Nation to be prepared if we do end up with a substantial amount of funding available over time.
Takla Nation’s Values and Principles
A big part of our initial work in looking at trust models is aligning with Takla values and principles. In June 2017, during sessions in Takla and Prince George, the Takla Nation Health Department identified a number of core values and principles for the nation.
- Respect for yourself, each other, your community, lands, and resources.
- Importance of culture, language, and spirituality.
- Importance of traditional governance and laws.
- Importance of traditional practices and holistic connection to the land.
- Protection and Utilization of our lands.
- A traditional ethos of hard work and personal responsibility passed on by our ancestors.
- Unity: Sharing, working together and supporting each other.
- Community safety.
- Pride: Everyone will take pride in and practice their culture and traditional values.
- Takla Nation will self-determine their own nation-building agenda.
- Takla Nation will take concrete actions to advance their nation-building agendas for current and future generations.
- Traditional laws, language, cultural practices, and environmental stewardship will guide Takla nations building.
- Takla Nation will develop diversity of economic interests and international levels.
- Takla Nation will know and carry out their personal responsibilities for the safety, healthy development and well being of their child, youth and community.
- Takla Nations children and youth must be safe from all forms of abuse.
- Takla Nation must have clear, consistent and accountable rules apply equally to everyone.
- Takla Nation must always consider the potential effects of today’s decisions for future generations.
Resources on Trusts
Additional reading about First Nations trusts:
Louis Tapper Presentation: