The Gitksan Government Commission (GGC) has a Social Development Policy. This policy is for the member communities of Gitanmaax, Gitanyow and Glen Vowell, to guide and assist in the delivery of the social development program on reserve.
Under the multi-year funding agreement GGC in partnership with the bands made changes to the existing ISC Social Development policy guidelines. This revised policy manual (2006) focuses on the unique needs of the Gitksan communities and better reflects their goals and objectives.
This policy has been thoroughly reviewed in detail through a series of meetings including Chief Councillors and their invited Band Council representatives, in collaboration with the GGC Social Development Advisor and each Band’s Social Development worker.
This policy manual provides consistency and adherence to the multi-year agreement as signed by all four Bands. As such, it is applicable to all four Band Councils, their Community Social Development Committees, their administration staff and the Band members. Any changes to the Manual in future will require the agreement of all three Bands as represented by their Chief Councillors on the GGC Board
Social development includes developing educational and employment plans for all able-bodied individuals, focusing on realistic goals with assistance from the extended family House, clan and community.
It is the tradition of the Gitksan to be self sufficient and it is the responsibility of the extended family to assist individual family members in need. Only when traditional family resources are no longer available should one turn to the Band social development program for support. This should never be the first resort, but rather the last. Independence and self sufficiency should be the guiding force of every individual within the context of our traditional tribal culture.
Goals of the Social Development Program
•To develop skills to seek and maintain financial independence through employment or business ownership
•To develop confidence in making decisions that affect one’s future through education or employment plans
•To develop the ability to make decisions and choices leading to self reliance
Extended Family and House:
•To strengthen traditional family responsibilities of caring for all.
•To provide assistance and guidance to all family members working towards independence and self reliance.
•To provide moral, and in some cases financial, support to family/House members as opposed to reliance on social assistance programs.
•To develop resources and programs that will assist individuals and families to become self reliant within the context of our traditional tribal culture.
•To encourage individuals to seek alternatives to social assistance through education, counselling and/or employment plans.
•To discourage individual and family reliance on social assistance programs and to encourage the tradition of caring for each other.
Most communities follow ISC policy, the on reserve hand book can be found at the First Nations Social Development Society website www.fnsds.org or follow this link.