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Lively House of Assembly held last week

By Judy McKinley-Discussions were lively at the Council of the Haida Nation's House of Assembly, held Oct. 9-13 in the Haida Heritage Centre at Qay'llnagaay.The House of Assembly is the law-making authority of the Haida Nation and an opportunity for leaders of the CHN to be accountable to the membership. The CHN also hosts a quarterly report meeting, but that is mostly attended by leaders. At the House of Assembly, leaders report to the members of the Haida Nation on the year's activities, and the assembly together sets direction and determines polices and direction for the CHN."Our people put their political leaders to the test," said Haida Nation president Guujaaw. "After the House of Assembly, dealing with the outside world like industry or the Crown is a piece of cake."Main topics this year were the strategic political direction for the CHN and electoral regulations.In previous years, the assembly has approved the Haida Land Use Vision and then the Land Use Plan. Last year, the House of Assembly designated the 'protected areas' as 'Haida natural, cultural, and spiritual areas'. This year, the assembly was updated on the status of the negotiations with the provincial government and approved an agreement for implementation of the land use plan with the province while pursuing title and reconciliation.The assembly also looked at election regulations. It agreed to the new step of mail-in ballots, in order to allow fuller participation for Haida citizens who don't live on island or near the urban regional centers of Vancouver and Prince Rupert, where polls are held.It appears that this year's assembly was particularly animated and interactive."Over the last few days we've had some pretty exciting discussions," said assembly chair Wilson Brown at the community dinner on Thursday night.The meetings went an extra day to accomplish what was set out on the agenda."I have had an interesting time over the last three days listening to people talking, and I have heard and seen more than I usually do at these meetings," said Chief Git Kun, Johnny Williams.Elections have been announced for two year terms for all regional and executive positions.