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  • 29 Aug 2022 by Christiana Jones

    The BC First Nations Forestry Council is thrilled to announce Lennard Joe, RPF, as new Chief Executive Officer as of August 15, 2022.

    “I am excited to lead this amazing, diverse organization in our vital work to support Nations in efforts to increase our role in the governance and stewardship of forest lands and resources, and participation in the forest sector as full partners.

    As the original stewards, and with a knowledge that goes back generations, First Nations are key players in the transformation of the forest sector in BC, addressing the economic, social, cultural, and environmental challenges of managing forest lands and resources. I will continue to uphold these values as we move forward in our work. I will continue to lead and promote the implementation of processes to restore the land and ecosystem, to work with partner organizations, such as the First Nations Leadership Council and others, to increase efficiencies and benefits to First Nations communities, and to work with governments and others to ensure that First Nations' interests, values, and principles are factored into forestry-related policy and program development.

    In the coming years, I commit to lead this organization forward in its goals and further establish the connection between First Nations and our lands, as well as the forest sector and the environment. There is a need for meaningful and informed action regarding legislation and policy, as well as employment and support.

    We, as an organization, will continue to move forward with First Nations interests at heart and ensure that they are seeing the engagement, respect, revenue, and relationships that are deserved. I look forward to leading innovative endeavours as we continue to advise, engage, mentor, and support First Nations in the BC forest sector.” – Lennard Joe

    “The Board fully endorses Lennard Joe as Chief Executive Officer,” said Chief Bill Williams (ta-lall-SHAM-cane siyam), President of the Board of Directors. “We are confident in his ability to lead through meaningful engagement with First Nations and thoughtful action. We look forward to working with Lennard to continue our necessary work uplifting First Nations and ensuring our communities are full partners in the BC forest sector.”


    Click here to read a letter from the new CEO.

    Bio: Lennard Joe, (Traditional name of Suxwsxwwels, meaning Grizzly Man) brings over 30 years of natural resources and business experience into his current roles. He is a Registered Professional Forester, a member of the Nlaka’pamux First Nation, and owner of Grizzly Path Consulting, a First Nations company that focusses on the land, its resources, and people. Lennard is actively involved in developing new businesses and opportunities in the resource sector within his territory as well as throughout Canada and the world. Living in balance Lennard carries the corporate knowledge of his nation and continues to practice its protocols and traditions. His role as an Indigenous Professional Forester has opened doors in Indigenous Governance, Provincial and Federal government, Industry, Academia, and Forest Certification.

  • For Immediate Release

    January 5, 2022


    Snuneymuxw Territory (Nanaimo, B.C.) – First Nations continue to call for an immediate reset to the process used by the province to engage with Nations on changes to modernize forest policy in BC. Letters sent from several First Nations to Minister Katrine Conroy, in December 2021, cite serious concerns with both the forest policy engagement topics and process.

    “Your government’s proposed timeline does not allow for meaningful and informed consultation required by provincial law,” Chief Councillor Brian Tate of the Ditidaht Nation tells Minister Conroy in his letter. “This behaviour is inconsistent with the Declaration Act, and not conducive to renewing the relationship between First Nations and the Province, which your government claims to be deeply committed to.”

    “As rights holders over our unceded territory, we are not stakeholders,” says Chief Keith Crow of the Lower Similkameen Indian Band in his letter to Minister Conroy. “Under DRIPA, the changes being proposed to forest legislation, policies and regulations require our prior, informed consent.”

    The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD) set out an engagement process and timeline several First Nations describe as disrespectful, compressed, flawed and disingenuous. Nations have expressed they need more time and technical expertise to respond in an informed and meaningful manner to proposed policy changes. These same concerns were outlined in a joint letter to Premier Horgan from the B.C. First Nations Forestry Council and 20 First Nations in September 2021.

     “This seems like a box-ticking exercise by government,” says Chief Bill Williams, President of the Forestry Council “B.C. rammed through significant changes to forest legislation, through Bills 23 and 28, without any meaningful First Nation participation. Nations need to have real input into changes to modernize forest policy that impact their lands and rights, including drafting of legislation.”

    “Letters from FLNRORD to Nations state that the ministry has heard from ‘125 Nations and that they are working in consultation and cooperation with Indigenous Nations,’ but we don’t know who they are working with. The government is not working with us.” adds Dr. Charlene Higgins, CEO, of the Forestry Council.

    Since June 2021 the Forestry Council has offered to work collaboratively with the province on engaging First Nations on forest policy modernization.

    “Nations are really frustrated. The new year presents an opportunity for the province to work with us in creating a meaningful process for First Nations to engage on changes to forest policies, and ways to better reflect Indigenous priorities, values, and rights in the modernization of forest policy in B.C.,” says Higgins. “We hope the province takes this opportunity.”

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