Delyla Daniels is a member of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc (TteS) nation, sits as president of the Kamloopa Powwow Society, a member of the Sk’elep School Parents Advisory Council and works as leasing agent for band corporations.

Delyla is currently taking a Certificate in First Nation Tax Administration (CFNTA), which is helping her with best practices, in-depth knowledge, and practical training. Recently Clearing the Path had the opportunity to sit down with Delyla to learn more about her experience as a tax administrator and as a student at the Tulo Centre of Indigenous Economics.

How did you first learn about the Tulo Centre and its programs?
I have worked for the nation for several years and had some experience with taxation. However, I realized taxation is only part of the economic picture, so originally, I enrolled in Tulo’s Applied Economics program on the advice of two of my colleagues who are Tulo graduates.

How does your experience at Tulo relate to your work at Tk’emlups te Secwépemc?
I believe a fear of taxation is counter-productive to our communities. We need to look at economic development to build our nation through long-term planning and provide the best possible services to all TteS members. I think if we look back historically, we had community gardens that were used to help everyone, even those less fortunate. In a way, this could be a form of taxation.
Having said this, we must understand how to do things properly as the nation moves forward and as communities delve into exercising their tax jurisdiction, the need for education and practical training becomes crucial.

What has been the most valuable aspect about the program for you so far?
The Tulo program has offered me a way to integrate tax knowledge into my background in land management, individual lease holdings, and has helped me look at the bigger picture of developmental strategies for a stronger future for TteS members. I think I have gained a stronger understanding of how a properly administered tax system will increase economic potential and build infrastructure.

How does taxation fit into your community’s future?
Well here in Tk’emlúps, we have seen the direct impact that taxation has brought to our community since its inception. Through the creation of the Powwow Arbor, the ability to build infrastructure, paved roads, street lights, fire protection and good drinking water, and most importantly, the ability to create meaningful jobs. These are just a few of the benefits that I have seen come to fruition through taxation that other communities may not enjoy without own source revenue. We are not tied solely to funding agreements and we can implement the communities’ vision and fund projects and services that unite the people culturally, spiritually, and socially.

Do you have any final thoughts?
First and foremost, the Tulo program is essential to a successful tax implementation for any community thinking of undertaking such an initiative. As well I think like many of my classmates going back to school hasn’t been the easiest with a family at home and full time work. However, I am fortunate in that the TteS nation invest in their employees, because they know education ensures a strong future.