Creating a Housing & Infrastructure Authority in BC, by First Nations,
for First Nations

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Donald Van Somer

@fnhic-bc.ca

Chief Donald Van Somer was raised in Fort Ware. He has been the long standing Chief of 13 years and counting for Kwadacha Nation. He has learned much from Emil McCook who was the Chief for 38 years and from Charlie Boya who was the Chief for 4 years. He states,

 

"Our elders are an immense source of information for me about our       traditional territory and ways. Having said that, I know that the real challenge for us is getting our culture integrated with education which is a very different life than our ancestors lived."

Chief Van Somer become a Director of Tsay Tay Forestry, and spent five years as a BC Wildfire Service Unit Crew Leader. He is also been a member of the Kwadacha Education Society for over twenty-five years. As Chief, he has negotiated many government-to-government agreements including our Community Administration and Health Centre, a safer and cleaner water system, an improved waste disposal system, a partnership with North Cariboo Air for service to our community and an energy purchase agreement with BC Hydro for our excess energy produced by our Bio Mass plant.

A stick to it attitude was required during the twelve years of negotiation with Centerra Gold (previously Au Rico Gold) to reach an Impact Benefit Agreement. Chief Van Somer was able to obtain the annual 100,000 m3 allowable cut renewable First Nations Community Forest Licence which provides considerable support for our Nation.  He also negotiated, on behalf of Kwadacha Nation, with the Kaska Dene Council the Strategic Engagement Agreement which is a government-to-government process to help manage their resources. Chief Van Somer had a hand in the realization of the Khutsedzi K`e` Justice program which has been running smoothly for over ten years.

He is currently working on an Emergency Response and Training Centre for his Nation and feels the time is right to turn some of his focus on not only housing but other infrastructure challenges we face.