Economic Development Manager
The Tse’khene Community Development Corporation promotes economic development and growth in the community by supporting, coordinating and facilitating business and community development activities that will improve the quality of life for McLeod Lake Tse’khene.
Board of Directors
The Board is a volunteer Board that consists of five members with the majority being McLeod Lake Indian Band members. This is different from the Duz Cho Boards which consist of seven members with a majority being qualified, independent people from Industry. All Boards are appointed by Chief & Council on an annual basis at each company’s Annual General Meeting. The 2017/2018 TCDC and Tse’khene Food & Fuel Board is:
- Ken Solonas – Chair
- Alyssa Tylee – Director
- Sundance Inyallie – Director
- Jayde Duranleau – Director
- Anita Valllee – Director
- Kelly Solonas – Director
The McLeod Lake Indian Band is part of the Tse’khene group of Aboriginal peoples that includes Bands at Fort Ware (Kwadacha) and Ingenika (Tseh Kay Dene). The main community of McLeod Lake Indian Band is located on McLeod Lake Indian Band reserves no. 1 and no. 5 near the unincorporated village of McLeod Lake, approximately 140 kilometers north of Prince George along Highway 97.
Of the Band’s approximately 551 members, approximately 100 live on reserve at McLeod Lake and 150-200 live between Bear Lake and Prince George. Roughly 100 members of the Band live in the Vancouver-area while the remaining resides outside of British Columbia.
For thousands of years, the Tse’khene were hunters and gatherers, living primarily on moose, caribou, bear, and beaver. Prior to the establishment of the fur trading posts, the Tse’khene taded moose and caribou skins with the Carrier to the west for salmon and other goods., After the Northwest Company established its first trading post west of the Rocky Mountains at McLeod Lake in 1805, the Tse’khene people established trap lines and sold furs at the trading post. Their traditional pattern of life became securing game in the fall, trapping in the winter and spring, and picking berries and hunting birds and fish in the summer.
The traditional economy of the McLeod Lake Tse’khene changed dramatically in the 1960s, when the provincial railway and John Hart Highway were built, opening up their land to non-aboriginal settlement and economic development. In 1969, the W.A.C. Bennett Dam created a 650 square mile lake, flooding many of the traditional hunting and trapping areas of the McLeod Lake Tse’khene.
With their traditional livelihood gone, in just a few years the Tse’khene people were transformed from an isolated, self-sufficient hunting and gathering society into an impoverished and despondent society lacking jobs, hope and, in the eyes of many Band members, a future. Meanwhile, nearby municipalities like Prince George and Mackenzie were thriving from the growing forest industry.
In the 1970’s McLeod Lake Indian Band Chief & Council developed economic development strategies to earn outside money and reduce dependency on government. This strategy is based on good relations with neighbours, hard work, honesty, diligence, risk taking, investment in the future, and competence. McLeod Lake Indian Band is outward looking and seeks opportunities beyond its reserve boundaries and even its traditional territory. It is also inclusive and brings skillful people into its organizations as required so that it can be the best in what business it does.
In 1987 McLeod Lake Indian Band advised the Government of Canada that it wished to join Treaty 8. Canada agreed to an adhesion to the Treaty but the Province of British Columbia refusted to transfer land. In 1988 McLeod Lake Indian Band obtained an injunction preventing the harvesting of timber on their lands. In 1992 negotiations with British Columbia and Canada commenced and in 2000 McLeod Lake Indian Band ratified an agreement with the Government of Canada and the Government of British Columbia that brought the band into Treaty 8 and provided the Band with approximately 20,000 hectares of Indian Reserve lands, $38 million which is held in Trust, and a recognized traditional territory of 108,000 square kilometers.
The Band has two arms of Economic Development. One is the industrial group which includes the Duz Cho Group of Companies, Duz Cho Logging, Duz Cho Construction, Duz Cho Forest Products, and McLeod Lake Indian Band Exploration. Each of these companies operates under a Board of Directors appointed by Chief & Council on an annual basis.
The McLeod Lake Indian Band Development Corporation was established in 2001 as an incorporated entity entirely owned by McLeod Lake Indian Band. McLeod Lake Indian Band Development Corporation changed its name to Tse’khene Community Development Corporation (TCDC) in November 2013. TCDC is a not-for-profit organization owned by McLeod Lake Indian Band. Due to TCDC being a not for profit corporation, any surplus funds made by TCDC must be reinvested in the community. As such, dividends to members or the Band is prohibited.
TCDC is essentially a department of the Band and works closely with other Band departments including Land Management, Land Referral, Employment & Training, and Administration.
The McLeod Lake Indian Band is not a legal entity. Accordingly, TCDC was formed to conclude agreements when a legal entity is required. The Development Corporation makes investments on behalf of the McLeod Lake Indian Band where an incorporated company is required.
TCDC works with Land Management Committee when developing Indian Reserve lands. As legal entity for McLeod Lake Indian Band, TCDC owns fee simple property in Prince George, Salmon Valley, Hart Highway (near McLeod Lake), and Chetwynd. Rent is paid to TCDC.
Capacity Building Agreements
Capacity Agreements, or Memorandum of Understandings, outline how we interrelate with a resource company. Typically, a resource company is pursuing a permit to operate and provide the Band with funds to conduct research. If the Band has a problem with the development, the agreement is that we try to work this out first with the company, rather than going to government. Funding is provided to allow MLIB to participate in the process in a meaningful way.
If the project passes its environmental review and the project proceeds, TCDC is notified and a Benefits Agreement is drafted. This is put before Council then reviewed by legal counsel. If the project identified has significant impacts to MLIB’s traditional territory, consultations with the community occur.
TCDC pays honoraria for all of MLIB Boards (Duz Cho Group of Companies, Duz Cho Logging, Duz Cho Construction, Duz Cho Forest Products, MLIB Exploration, Tse’khene Community Development Corporation, Tse’khene Food & Fuel), does accounting, and provides corporate support to the companies, including minute taking and corporate advisory services. TCDC coordinates company and board presentations to the community and reports to Chief & Council through its Economic Development Manager and Economic Advisor.
In 2015, Council authorized TCDC to work with other MLIB Departments and the community, and to engage David Nairne and Associates to design a multi-functional building to be constructed adjacent to the gas bar. The 2011 Comprehensive Community Plan identified a multi-purpose building as a priority for the community.
The building is an industrial type building that houses the Tse’khene Food & Fuel store, the Little Teapot Café, commercial kitchen, 2 apartments, a Bed & Breakfast with four units, fire hall, forestry bay, and public works warehouse and shop. The building is funded through our Joint Venture Agreement with Outland Camps for catering services provided to Encana’s Sunset Prairie Camp.
McLeod Lake Indian Band has numerous possibilities for tourism projects within its traditional territory. TCDC is now a Shareholder with Aboriginal Tourism BC. Community meetings will be held to community identify projects. Tourism identifies significant opportunities for members.