Speakers for Keepers of the Water VI: Our Waters are One
September 26-29, 2012 · Fort Nelson, BC
?Esdilagh, Tsilhqot'in Nation

Chief Bernie Elkins has served as the elected off-reserve Chief of ?Esdilagh (Alexandria), Tsilhqot'in Nation since 2008. Learning daily from his son and three daughters, he passes on the traditional teachings of trapping, tanning moose hide, and drying fish and deer meat.

Chief Elkins was Prosperity Director for the Tsilhqot'in National Government (TNG). In this role, he was part of a successful team to assess cumulative impacts and preserve Tsilhqot'in rights. The proposed Prosperity mine is the third-only Canadian major project undergoing another environmental assessment under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency. He now holds the title of TNG Vice Chair with an economic development portfolio and has been Acting Chair. In 2009, he finalized the Tsilhqot'in Framework Agreement (Strategic Engagement) with BC for protecting Tsilhqot'in proven and unproven rights beyond title lands.

Currently Chief Elkins has been re-elected for a historic Canadian initiative, as one of three Interior Chiefs representing seven Interior region nations (fifty-four Bands) under the BC First Nations Health Council, to manage Health Canada funding and programs for on-reserve members across British Columbia.

In 2006, Chief Elkins successfully demonstrated the application of traditional plant knowledge in economic development under the longest BC Environmental Assessment Tribunal, Xat'sull v. Director Environment Management Act (Gibraltar Mine), to discharge tailings into the Fraser River.

Chief Elkins holds a diploma from Thompson Rivers University in Human Service Corrections and an Associate Degree in Business Administration. In addition, he holds certificates from the Justice Institute of British Columbia in leadership and negotiations.