Thursday, April 27, 2017


Heiltsuk Nation: Building Momentum

After completing an NCFNG Governance Capacity Assessment, the Heiltsuk Nation is moving forward on land use planning and economic development.

The Heiltsuk Nation, located on the west coast of British Columbia, is taking action to advance its inherent rights by establishing an Aboriginal Rights and Title department and developing a shared vision and strategic plan for its economic and resource departments.
In December 2007, the Centre began working with the Heiltsuk Nation by conducting a Governance Capacity Assessment (GCA) to evaluate the Nation’s capacity based on indigenous principles of effective governance. The final report, submitted in December 2008, identified the many strengths of the Nation and outlined 11 recommendations to build on those strengths.
The GCA and its recommendations were initially set aside for several months. However, as the Nation’s leaders have sought solutions around issues of land use planning and economic development, they realized that the report’s recommendations could provide valuable guidance.
Over the past year, the Heiltsuk Nation has been extremely active in advancing their inherent rights. Many of the tangible outcomes that have recently emerged are directly related to the GCA recommendations, including:
- establishing an Aboriginal Rights and Title department,
- developing a shared approach (based on the community’s strategic vision) to guide the work of each of the economic development resource departments, and
- creating an organizational strategic plan in the first half of 2011 to link all departments and services within the Heiltsuk Tribal Council and support the long-term vision of the people.
These are significant outcomes as they ensure that all of the council’s actions and initiatives are contributing to the community’s strategic vision as defined by the Heiltsuk people themselves.
The GCA has proven to be an important document: its 11 recommendations provide guidance and a shared vision for Heiltsuk’s leadership. But the process of developing the GCA was also valuable in that it highlighted input from community members through many in-depth information interviews as well as survey responses from more than 200 individuals. This resource has provided the members of the Heiltsuk Tribal Council with a strong understanding of the concerns of their people, enabling them to develop meaningful and relevant solutions that will help the Nation achieve its long-term vision.