A seat at the table: Exploring treaty First Nation representation in a regional district
In 2011, the Maa-nulth First Nations Final Agreement became the first modern treaty on Vancouver Island, British Columbia (BC). As part of the treaty agreement, the Maa-nulth First Nations—which include Toquaht Nation, Huu-ay-aht First Nations, Uchucklesaht Tribe and Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ Government—agreed to join the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD), thus creating a co-governance relationship unparalleled in BC. This research explores the potential for regional districts as a form of co-governance between local governments and First Nations with modern treaty. Guided by Indigenous Research Methodologies (IRM), three of the Maa-nulth First Nations representatives were interviewed in this research project to understand the transition to ACRD membership and dis/advantages of regional district participation. The research found that the co-governance relationship on the ACRD Board since the Maa-nulth First Nations joined has positively impacted regional governance and found overall that regional districts are a viable form of co-governance for Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.