Grand Chief Edward John to join BC Trade Mission in China
Coast Salish Territory/ Vancouver, BC – From October 22-31, 2011 Grand Chief Edward John of the First Nations Summit political executive participated on a National First Nations mission to China led by the National Chief Shawn A-in-Chut Atleo. The mission also included leaders from the Union of BC Indian Chiefs as well as First Nations representatives’ from across Canada.
Grand Chief Edward John will now join the British Columbia delegation led by Premier Christy Clark for the 5 days of her mission to China that begins on November 5. “We seek to continue to build relationships to provide substantive information on First Nations – on who we are and the nature of our aboriginal and treaty rights in Canada,” states Grand Chief Edward John.
The just concluded First Nations mission had a BC emphasis and included several key meetings to develop critically important relationships and business opportunities in several sectors including; mining, education, forestry, energy, tourism, and land/real estate development. The Chiefs and First Nations representative had the opportunity to meet with key government officials, as well as representatives from state owned enterprises and private companies.
There was also a strong cultural component to the mission which was marked by the raising of a 5-meter totem pole at the New Beichuan Museum. The China Tribute Totem Pole was a gift from BC First Nations, with support of the Province of BC and Canada, as a memorial to the victims of the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake in Beichuan, China. First Nations leaders view the totem pole raising as an important cultural exchange and part of a continuing effort to build supportive relationships with the Qiang indigenous minority as well as Chinese government officials.