By Haley Grinder
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The Akisqnuk First Nation will be holding a ratification vote detailing traditional treaty land ownership later this month. The vote will be held on Nov. 30 and will assess the level of agreement for the Elkhorn Ranch Specific Claim Settlement Agreement between Akisqnuk and Canada. The agreement refers to an ongoing legal battle regarding a 320 acre plot of land.
The ratification vote states it will determine if members “agree to all of the terms and conditions of the ?akisq‘nuk First Nation Elkhorn Ranch Specific Claim Settlement Agreement initialed by the negotiators for the First Nation and Canada, which settles and releases the ?akisq‘nuk First Nation Elkhorn Ranch Specific Claim,” as well as if they agree to “authorize and direct the Council of the First Nation to sign all documents and do everything necessary to give effect to the ?akisq‘nuk First Nation Elkhorn Ranch Specific Claim Settlement Agreement.”
The vote, conducted by OneFeather, had their Chief Ratification Officer, Drew Shaw, conduct information sessions on Nov. 4 and Nov. 7. to inform and answer questions surrounding the Elkhorn Ranch Settlement Agreement. Shaw says the OneFeather team is “working closely with Lorne Shovar (Interim Senior Administrative Officer for Akisqnuk First Nation) and his ?akisq‘nuk team, to ensure that we are aligning our process with the needs of their governance and administration, and the customs and routines that are familiar to their membership in previous voting events and elections, all the time ensuring that we abide within the regulations that apply to this particular voting event.”
Members of the Ktunaxa Nation that are over 18 years of age will be eligible to vote in person, electronically, or via mail-in ballot. Members of the Akisqnuk community can do so in person at the administration office in Windermere between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. or online through OneFeather at the same time.