The Metlakatla people have occupied and used the resources of the Skeena watershed, the Tsimpsean Peninsula and offshore islands, Work Channel, Portland Inlet and coastal areas surrounding modern day Prince Rupert since time immemorial. The health of Metlakatla people, the vibrancy of our culture, and the welfare of our children are inextricably linked to the wellbeing of our lands and waters. As owners and stewards, we are committed to ensuring the natural resources of our territory are managed responsibly to sustain our people for innumerable generations to come.
To honour the interconnectedness of our lands, waters, culture and communities, Metlakatla stewardship goals include:
- Protecting and sustaining ecosystems and natural life throughout our territory
- Continuing our cultural and customary uses of resources within our territory
- Sustaining our culture, communities and economies by engaging in sustainable development activities
As stewards of the Metlakatla Territory, we are working to participate fully and effectively in resource planning and management decisions concerning our lands, waters, rights and title. We are working to ensure our actions today either maintain or enhance our environment and community for the future.
The Metlakatla Stewardship Society Board is responsible to develop annual planning processes that provide direction to the operation of the Stewardship Office. The planning processes include strategic planning, budgeting and overseeing the Executive Director of the Stewardship Office.
The Metlakatla Stewardship Society is responsible to abide by the British Columbia Societies Act.
The Executive Director and President respond to requests for updates from Metlakatla Governing Council.
The Current board is:
President - Harold Leighton
Vice President - Robert Nelson
Secretary - Alrita Leask
Treasurer - Cindy Smith
Director - Brenda J. Leighton
Metlakatla is actively involved in land use planning initiatives that impact our traditional territory and resources.
Conservancies are lands set aside for:
(a) the protection and maintenance of their biological diversity and natural environments;
(b) the preservation and maintenance of social, ceremonial and cultural uses of First Nations;
(c) the protection and maintenance of their recreational values; and
Metlakatla has traditionally been, and continues to be, dependent on marine environments for food, livelihood, and cultural practices. As a coastal community, Metlakatla members are participants in all aspects of the marine economy and work to maintain our aboriginal right to harvest for food, social, ceremonial and commercial purposes while conserving healthy, productive ecosystems. As the North Coast faces increasing pressures from industrial development, we are fully engaged in planning and decision making processes to ensure stewardship of our marine environment remains a priority, and our members remain active in the sustainable development of our resources.
Metlakatla is currently working to produce a plan that incorporates the existing Marine Use Plan, as well as our Land Use Plan. Guided by a committee of community members, the plan will help inform stewardship and future marine development activities. To date, we have completed the necessary traditional, socio-economic, and ecological research needed to inform the plan. Once complete, Metlakatla will be guided by the plan as we engage in Government to Government discussions as part of the Pacific North Coast Integrated Management Area (PNCIMA)and Marine Plan Partnership (MaPP) planning initiatives to produce a comprehensive guiding document for the North Coast marine environment.
The Metlakatla Fisheries Program (MFP) is responsible for monitoring the marine resources in Metlakatla territory, and administering the community's Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy agreements with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. MFP assesses and reviews fisheries management plans, policies and regulations of government inclusive of environmental and habitat protection. MFP also participates in environmental assessments of proposed projects within Metlakatla territory.
For regular updates on ATP license postings, beach openings and closures, the results of local PSP tests, and other updates from our program, please check out our News Feed, as well as our other Fisheries pages:
The Metlakatla Stewardship Society is working, in concert with the Metlakatla Governing Council, on the development of a Culture and Heritage policy. The Stewardship Society’s responsibility will be to administer the regulations within the policy. The Culture and Heritage Policy will incorporate the exploration, documentation, and repatriation of artifacts, ancestral remains, and any heritage resource belonging to the Metlakatla people.
Given the geographic extent of Metlakatla territory and diversity of developments throughout, maintaining accurate records and monitoring activities occurring on Metlakatla lands and waters are extremely important. To work towards improving oversight of commercial, recreational, and harvesting activities in Metlakatla territory, we monitor our resources, undertake fisheries research and monitoring, and participate in the Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy.
Metlakatla participates in the Federal and Provincial environmental assessment processes in order to advocate for our best interests when companies are proposing to develop in our territory
Roles and Processes for Working in Metlakatla Territory
Recognition of Metlakatla Aboriginal Rights and Title is the foundation of our Development and Projects Application review process. Federal and Provincial agencies, in conjunction with those applying to develop in Metlakatla territory, are required to provide all information related to project applications and engage in meaningful dialogue with the goal of reaching agreement on potential resource tenure, permit or management decisions.
Businesses and other parties proposing to use or develop natural resources in Metlakatla territory should contact the Metlakatla Stewardship Society directly, and then engage in dialogue with the goal of reaching agreement on ways the proposals or plans can benefit both parties. Our development and project application review process varies depending on the nature of the application, but is based on sustainable practices and stewardship principles to uphold the mandate of the Stewardship Society.
Where is Metlakatla Traditional Territory?
To understand the bounds of our Traditional Territory, please see this map If you want clarification as to whether your proposed project is within our Traditional Territory, or not, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For projects that require provincial decisions, provincial engagement with Metlakatla may be guided by the BC-Coastal First Nations Reconciliation Protocol
Still have questions?
The Metlakatla Stewardship Society asks all proponents contemplating development in Metlakatla territory to contact the MSS as early in the development process as possible.
Please contact Environmental Assessment Manager Erin Mutrie at email@example.com or call (250) 628 3315 ext. 2035.
Metlakatla Stewardship Office currently administers two social enterprise businesses on behalf of the Metlakatla First Nation. A social enterprise is a business that engages in sustainable practices and improves human well-being - this may include maximizing social impact rather than profits for external shareholders, ensuring the sustainable use of resources, or providing meaningful employment.
For more information on these endeavors, please see their pages below.
The Metlakatla CEM Program is a resource management system for monitoring the status of priority Metlakatla values and proactively responding to cumulative change in Metlakatla Traditional Territory over time. The goal of the CEM Program is to manage and improve the condition of priority Metlakatla values.