The Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k:tles7et’h’ First Nations voted to approve their Constitution in a vote on Aug. 4. Of the 309 eligible members who voted, 196 voted in favor, representing 86.3 per cent of the ballots cast. In order for the Constitution to be approved, 50 per cent of those who voted must have voted in favor of the Constitution.
“I am very excited for our future,” said Chief Councillor Therese Smith. “For the first time in 150 years, this Constitution gives us back our identity as Ka:’yu’k’t’h’/Che:’ktles7e’t’h’. This paves the way for us to make decisions for our own people and ensures a firm foundation for our government. Thanks to all who supported us in this important work for the future of our children, for generations to come.”
The Constitution forms the basis for a democratically accountable Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k:tles7et’h’ First Nations government and includes a process for enacting laws, a system of financial administration, and conflict of interest rules.
“I would like to congratulate Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k:tles7et’h’ Chief Councillor Therese Smith, and the Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k:tles7et’h’ council and members on the acceptance of their Constitution,” said Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Michael de Jong. “The membership are sending a strong signal that they are well-informed and prepared to take the next step in the Maa-nulth Final Agreement ratification process.”
The Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k:tles7et’h’ First Nations is one of five member bands belonging to the Maa-nulth First Nations Treaty Group on Vancouver Island. In December 2006, the Maa-nulth Final Agreement was initialled by the governments of Canada and British Columbia and the Maa-nulth First Nations.
Each Maa-nulth First Nation must approve their Constitution before their nation’s treaty ratification vote can proceed. The Toquaht First Nation will vote on their Constitution on Aug. 17. The Uchucklesaht Tribe approved its Constitution on June 16, the Ucluelet First Nation approved its Constitution June 15, and the Huu-ay-aht First Nations approved their Constitution on May 28.
The Huu-ay-aht First Nations voted on the Maa-nulth Final Agreement on July 28, which was accepted by the community. The remaining four First Nations–the Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/ Che:k’tles7et’h First Nations, the Toquaht Nation, the Uchucklesaht Tribe and the Ucluelet First Nation–will vote on the final agreement in October.