KAMLOOPS, BRITISH COLUMBIA (June 18, 2007) – The First Nations Tax Commission (FNTC) celebrated its inauguration today on the Kamloops Indian reserve. The 10-member FNTC is one of the four institutions created as a result of the passage of the First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act (FSMA) which received Royal Assent in March 2005. It is the successor organization to the Indian Taxation Advisory Board.
The event began with the appointment of the tenth Commissioner, Ms. Terry Nicholas, by Sakej Henderson, Director of the Native Law Centre at the University of Saskatchewan. The appointment, a unique feature of shared governance institutions, was made pursuant to a regulation under the FSMA.
“This is a truly historic moment. With the final appointment in place, the Commission can now begin the work of fulfilling its mandate to help First Nations build stronger economies.” said C.T. (Manny) Jules, FNTC Chief Commissioner.
The traditional ceremony that followed featured an honour song, prayer and smudge ceremony. Each Commissioner was then called forward to take the oath of office.“Kamloops is the cradle of First Nations property taxation” said Jules, as he traced the origins of the Commission. The Kamloops Indian Band led the successful 1988 amendment to the Indian Act (Bill C-115), which gave First Nation communities the right to levy property taxes on First Nations land. Kamloops is now the location of the head office of the FNTC.
Over the next two days, the new Commissioners will attend an extensive orientation session, to better prepare themselves for the FNTC’s workload.
The Indian Taxation Advisory Board will continue its services until the Commission becomes fully operational on July 1st, 2007.