The City of Fort St. John and the Doig River First Nation signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Friday in an attempt to establish a tighter working and living partnership.
"I think what we see here is an opportunity," said Mayor Bruce Lantz after inking the document, "maybe not to change the past, as you can't do anything about the past, but to change the future."
The Centennial Park ceremony focused mostly on starting a new chapter in the cooperation of Doig River First Nation and Fort St. John.
"By signing those documents," Lantz continued, "we're indicating that we're ready to go into the future together, not as two separate peoples, but as a cooperative organization that works together."
Speakers from both sides took turns at the podium, among them MLA Pat Pimm, Treaty 8 representative Diane Able and Doig River Councillor Gerry Attachie.
They all had a similar message of wanting to work more closely together from now on.
Chief Norman Davis of the Doig River First Nation said the agreement was also for working towards getting an urban reserve.
"The agreement was for an urban reserve, and to work with city council. We want to work with the City for the long term."
He said the land would be next to the City boundaries.
"Fort St. John is our home," said Davis to the crowd.
"We were never provided with the full amount of reserve land that we were supposed to receive under Treaty 8. Because of our ties with Fort St. John, it is important for the Doig that some of this new reserve land is located near the city."
He said he believes the urban reserve can be beneficial to all parties.
Pat Pimm agreed, saying on stage that the partnership is a positive step forward for everyone.
"There are no quick fixes to address the many grievances arising out of government's historical relationship with aboriginal people. With continued effort, our goals can be achievable."
Although the Memorandum of Understanding could appear to be just words and a few handshakes to a casual observer, it looks like real change and progress between Fort St. John and the Doig River First Nation could come out of it.