Treaties provide First Nations the authority and tools to take control of their future.
These constitutionally protected agreements remove First Nation governments from the federal Indian Act; provide for land and funding; law-making authority related to their land, culture and public services; and rights related to fishing, hunting and gathering.
Treaties create the foundation for renewed relationships and a positive and stable climate that supports social development and economic growth.
The First Nations listed below have modern treaties in effect in British Columbia. These examples highlight of the benefits of self-government and economic development in the First Nations’ respective communities.
Treaty in effect May 11, 2000
- The Nisga’a Final Agreement (the “Nisg̱a’a Treaty”) is British Columbia’s first modern treaty and provides for Nisga’a ownership and authority over 2,000 square kilometres of Nisg̱a’a Lands in the Nass River Valley in northwest B.C.
- The Nisga’a Nation is the first Indigenous government in Canada to provide for unrestricted fee-simple ownership of residentially zoned Nisga’a Land. Nisga’a citizens have the ability to buy and sell residential land without restriction, and to use their land to raise capital, which unlocks an important resource for supporting economic growth, investment and increased prosperity.
- In 2014, the Nisga’a Nation became the primary property taxation authority over Nisga’a Lands. The Nisga’a Lisims Government has the authority to levy and collect property tax from persons other than Nisga’a citizens, including companies that operate industrial installations, such as LNG pipelines and midstream infrastructure.
- The Nisga’a government has developed a group of companies to manage specific needs, such as marketing fish, managing forest resources, and building telecommunications infrastructure.
- As provided through their treaty, Nisga’a Lisims Government has developed a robust range services and programs for its citizens, including health and social services, child protection, promotion and preservation of culture, language and heritage, and support of Nisga’a entrepreneurs through a business development fund.
- The Nisga’a Nation operates a post-secondary institution offering academic, vocational and technical training, including specific courses on the Nisga’a language and culture.
Tsawwassen First Nation
Treaty in effect April 3, 2009
- Tsawwassen First Nation is making its mark in Metro Vancouver with multimillion-dollar retail, industrial and residential developments on its Treaty Lands, which taken together is the largest non-resource development on First Nations land in Canadian history.
- The Tsawwassen Treaty is B.C.’s first modern urban treaty and the first treaty completed through the B.C. Treaty Commission process. It provided for Tsawwassen First Nation ownership of 724 hectares of Treaty Land south of Delta. The treaty also establishes Tsawwassen First Nation as a member of the federation of local governments that comprise Metro Vancouver.
- Since its treaty came into effect, Tsawwassen First Nation has attracted more than $1 billion of private investment onto Tsawwassen lands: approximately $750 million in commercial facilities, more than $200 million in industrial improvements and the remainder in residential communities.
- These developments are projected to generate significant annual land lease revenues for Tsawwassen First Nation, which will support its self-governing initiatives in social, health and education programs for Tsawwassen members.
- Tsawwassen First Nation has also invested more than $100 million in new infrastructure, including a $27-million sewage treatment plant, essential for the development taking place on its Treaty Lands.
- Tsawwassen First Nation Treaty Lands host the recently completed Tsawwassen Mills and Tsawwassen Commons shopping centres, featuring over 111,000 square metres (1.2 million square feet) of retail space; Deltaport Logistics Centre, offering long-term leasehold land for the development of logistics facilities for companies using Roberts Bank Terminals; and Tsawwassen Shores, a master-planned residential community.
- This construction related economic activity has already generated in the order of 7,000 person-years of employment. Once complete, the commercial and industrial developments will support an estimated 10,830 person-years of annual employment.
- These post-treaty activities are helping support the realization of Tsawwassen First Nation’s vision for a successful and sustainable economy and a safe, healthy community where Tsawwassen’s language and culture are practiced and honoured.
Maa-nulth First Nations
- Huu-ay-aht First Nations
- Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ First Nations (Ka-yu-ket/Chek-le-set)
- Toquaht Nation
- Uchucklesaht Tribe
- Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ (You-thloo-ith-at)
Treaty in effect April 1, 2011
- The Maa-nulth First Nations Final Agreement is the first modern treaty on Vancouver Island and the first multi-nation treaty negotiated through the B.C. Treaty Commission process.
- Ownership, governance, and stewardship of their 24,550 hectare treaty lands and resources is allowing each of the Maa-nulth First Nations to grow their economies and develop their societies in the manner they determine best, respectful and mindful of their culture and traditions.
- In 2016, Huu-ay-aht purchased an array of land, restaurants, motels, marinas and tourism businesses in Bamfield, which emerged as part of their long-term economic development planning as a treaty nation. As per its treaty, in November 2016, Huu-ay-aht regained possession of cultural treasures previously held by the Royal BC Museum.
- Uchucklesaht has upgraded its power and water systems on its treaty lands, and built a new facility in Port Alberni, which houses a cultural centre, administration offices, meeting space and residential apartments, on the site of a former hotel.
- Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ First Nations is developing a portfolio of tourism businesses, including a campground, marina and a fishing resort.
- Toquaht Nation operates a campground and kayak launch, a marina, aquaculture businesses, and has a number of forestry related operations. Toquaht also invested heavily in its water and wastewater infrastructure to allow the community to expand.
- Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ operates a resort, campground and other tourism businesses in the Ucluelet area, and is actively pursuing development that is socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable.
- Maa-nulth nations are also strengthening bonds with their neighbouring communities. Huu-ay-aht, Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ, Uchucklesaht and Toquaht Nation have joined the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District, and were active in creating a toolkit to support other partnerships between treaty First Nations and regional districts. Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ has a non-voting seat at the Strathcona Regional District.
Treaty in effect April 5, 2016
- The Tla’amin Nation is now the largest fee-simple landowner in the Powell River area as owner and authority over 8,323 hectares of treaty land.
- The Tla’amin Nation has been focused on implementing laws that support the nation’s social and economic aspirations, and establishing priorities and plans for its lands, resources and services. The nation centralized its government services into its new Government House and held its first election as a treaty First Nation in September 2016.
- The Tla’amin Nation has started to develop subdivisions to expand residential housing, and has attracted investment in its value-added wood manufacturing, and shellfish and seafood processing operations. The Tla’amin Nation is the full owner of the Lund Hotel and Marina, and is making its mark as a tourist destination.
- The Tla’amin Nation has undertaken considerable planning for its treaty lands. Lands have been earmarked for economic development such as commercial forestry, aquaculture, industrial and commercial activities, tourism, and market housing along 70 square kilometres of waterfront property.