Industry Relations Corporation
Alexander Industry Relations Corporation
- The Alexander First Nation is located west of Edmonton with over 23000 acres of land in three locations. The main reserve land (134) and administration is located 55 kilometers northwest of the city of Edmonton. The total population of Alexander is approximately 1800 members; of which over 70% of the reserve is less than 25 years of age. The members of AFN are primarily Cree. The Nation takes it name after Chief Katstaweskum, whose baptismal name was Alexandre, the first Chief of Alexander First Nation.
- The presence of Cree people throughout the Parkland and Plains regions (of what is now the province of Alberta) prior to 1763 has been well documented (Ray 1974; McCullough 1982; Fedirchuk and McCullough 1992). AFN Elders do not delineate the Nation’s territorial boundaries since there were none before European settlement. “Cree people always moved around” (AFN2). “The Creator made sure we would move around by spreading the resources” (AFN 13). “Our Traditional Territory goes from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Our forefathers traveled this country freely” (AFN18).
- According to the ways of our people, we were once a migratory people in rhythm with the seasons. Our ancestors would work in their family groups on their hunting and gathering grounds throughout our Traditional Territory. Our ancestors were also traders of goods with various groups from neighboring areas. Due to this lifestyle, there were no permanent settlements like we think of them today. However, there were seasonal villages at certain points along the lakes and rivers which were utilized for parts of the year. Kipohtakaw – meaning “enclosed” or “covered by trees”, is the site of present-day Alexander. We occupied and used all of our Traditional Territory. This is still true today.
- Access to land and resources represents one of the most critical issues faced by the Alexander First Nation.
- Our First Nation has continually faced a lack of process and inclusion before land and resource deals are struck that affect our traditional territories and our economies.
- In harvesting the resources from our lands it is important to consider the environment from a First Nations perspective.
- There is still no Consultation Policy or process developed by either the Federal or Provincial governments which is recognized or sanctioned by our Leadership.
Where we are today…
- In July of 2006 the Alexander First Nation formed the Alexander Industry Relations Corporation to deal specifically with the issues as derived from the above statements.
- It is our position that, appropriate and adequate consultation must occur, and that all concerns have to be addressed and mitigated before any approvals or expansions of existing and future projects will be supported within our traditional territory.
- The Alexander Industry Relations Corporation through the assistance of other First Nations and with the expertise of our own people, are now prepared technically to engage in meaningful consultation activities with the Federal and Provincial Governments, as well as with all affected Industry Proponents.
Who supported the establishment of our IRC and why is that important?
- The Alexander Industry Relations Corporation was formed by Council Member Bill Paul and AIRC CEO, Allan Paul.
- Chief and Council then supported this process through a Band Council Resolution.
- All information is continuously brought before the elders of our community who we have met with approximately every 2 months since the inception of the IRC.
- If you do not have the full support of leadership, staff and the community you will be faced with confusion which will cause setbacks in the community mandated work of the IRC.
- Therefore, community support and communication is paramount in the development of this process.
Who funds the Alexander IRC?
- The Alexander Industry Relations Corporation is funded directly from Resource companies who are presently developing or active within our Traditional Territory.
- Several different agreements are being developed by our corporation such as:
- Memorandum Of Understanding’s,
- Consultation and Commitment Agreements
- Participation Agreements
- Long Term Operating Agreements
- Fee for Service working arrangements
- These agreements were based on several factors with the major one being the type of development.
- An Alexander First Nation Consultation Policy has been developed in conjunction with our legal council which was approved by leadership and our Elders.
- Our Traditional Land Use area map was also developed in conjunction with our Elders and many years of research by the community. It is a work in progress.
- These documents have been distributed to both levels of government as well as industry proponents.
- We are now working through a process with each of these companies which include, but are not limited to the following:
- Initial Meeting with Proponent
- Development of appropriate agreements
- Review of Scope of Project
- Elders Involvement
- Project Site Specific TK Study
- Environmental Review
- Issues Identification
- Mitigation/Compensation Process
- Negotiation of Economic Opportunities
- Employment & Training Opportunities
- It is also important to note that the Fee for Service is identified and agreed to during the initial meetings in order to fund the outlined process.
As keepers of the land we are responsible to ensure the protection and conservation of Mother Earth.
- The environment not economic gain must be at the forefront of all decisions and directions taken by our people.
- Through the development of these relationships with Industry and Government we are hoping to increase the opportunities for our members, our companies and our future generations while always protecting our traditional way of life.
- The only way this can happen is if we work together…