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Hawhɛgus (Governance)

Hegus John Hackett and CAO Richard Gage

Since the beginning of time, our ancestors lived by a traditional system of governance that has sustained us and our lands and waters. A sophisticated system of laws governed all forms of environmental, social, and political relations. It is from this proud history that the Tla’amin Nation derives our inherent right of self-government.

Today, the Tla’amin Legislature is the elected political body responsible for developing Tla’amin laws, consisting of the Hegus and eight elected representatives. The Hegus is the head of the Legislature and along with four of the elected representatives, provides day-to-day political guidance to the administration of the Tla’amin Nation. The Tla’amin administration is overseen by the Chief Administrative Officer who reports to the Hegus.

GOAL 1 – Actively include, engage, and maintain accountability to all Tla’amin citizens in the governance process.

Our people want to have a voice in the governance process, to understand why our government makes the decisions it does, and to monitor our government’s progress. This active involvement and interest of our people is one of our greatest strengths as a Nation. We will provide multiple transparent ways for Tla’amin people on and off Tla’amin lands to be involved in Tla’amin Nation governance. This will continue to build confidence and trust between Tla’amin people and their government, and strength as the Tla’amin Nation.

GOAL 2 – Restore Tla’amin Nation’s rightful place and decision-making role throughout Tla’amin territory.

Tla’amin Nation is the rightful owner and steward of our traditional territory, and is a major player in the social, cultural, and economic life of the qathet region. We will advance strategies, relationships, and processes to assure our leading role in decision-making, leadership, and management throughout our territory. Contribution of our leadership and knowledge will restore balance to the environment, dignity to Tla’amin people and culture, and prosperity to the Nation.

GOAL 3 – Evolve and mature our governance.

We have seen significant change from a pre-contact sovereign Nation, to the constraints of the Indian Act, to the growth in recent years as we implement the tools within our Treaty. We are still learning, growing, and changing. We will reflect on and refine our laws, structure, and processes in order to realize our full potential. This will empower leadership to do their best to meet our Nation and people’s needs today and into the future.

GOAL 4 – Improve communications and transparency with the general public.

Tla’amin has the opportunity and responsibility to share information with settlers in the qathet region, including non-Tla’amin residents on Tla’amin lands, about who we are, what our views and priorities are, and what our rules are. We will share key information with the general public in order to build and strengthen trust, understanding, and respect.

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