EKKC Steering with Protocol

In miktúʔtn (June) 2024, the Elders and Knowledge Keepers Council (EKKC) and the BC First Nations Justice Council (BCFNJC) gathered on the shores of kɬúsx̌nítkʷ (Okanagan Lake). This meeting symbolized a canoe journey, focused on navigating the path toward justice and equity.

The newly appointed EKKC led this journey, with Spokesperson Calvin Swustus Sr. from the Cowichan Tribes and Alternate Spokesperson Ann (Dolores) Bazil from the Wet’suwet’en at the helm. They were joined by Ta na’as, David Rattary of the Tahltan Nation, Geraldine Manson of Snuneymuxw, and BCFNJC Helpers Amanda Carling, Tracy Mooney, Chantelle Locke, Krystle-Dawn, Kerri Widdup, kelsie kilawna, and Anisa Jeanson. Each participant contributed unique strengths and perspectives, ensuring a well-rounded and comprehensive discussion.

The meeting opened with respectful and careful nominations for Spokesperson and Alternate Spokesperson, reflecting the council’s commitment to honouring Homeland protocols. Calvin Swustus Sr. and Ann (Dolores) Bazil graciously accepted their nominations, pledging to serve with heart and love for the people. Their commitment underscored their dedication to the work ahead, reinforcing the EKKC’s collective vision of culturally aligning the work of the BCFNJC.

A key highlight of the gathering was the introduction of the consensus process by Memory Keeper and Storyteller kelsie kilawna. This process will be used to collaboratively develop a Kinship Protocol, aimed at replacing traditional HR practices with a framework deeply rooted in cultural values. The new protocol emphasizes collective responsibility, mutual respect, and continuous cultural education within the organization. This foundational work contributes to the Justice Strategy by prioritizing relational dynamics within the organization, utilizing Indigenous protocols and teachings to support and care for the team.

The discussions also underscored the importance of wellness, the role of place-based Elders, and the establishment of a Learning Lodge mentoring program. This program aims to support new members by providing comprehensive training and resources, ensuring they are well-prepared for their roles within the council.

This gathering at kɬúsx̌nítkʷ highlighted the council’s commitment to supporting the advancement of the Justice Strategy ensuring the process is led by honouring protocol. By integrating Indigenous protocols and emphasizing collective well-being, the EKKC and BCFNJC are navigating a path forward utilizing the oldest knowledge available, Indigenous knowledge.

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