The Province and the Tsilhqot’in National Government (TNG) are developing a government-to-government agreement outlining the short-term and long-term steps to implement the Supreme Court of Canada decision on Aboriginal title.
One element of the agreement will be to define the steps required to transition the title land to TNG management, benefit and control.
Similar to private land, Aboriginal title includes the right to exclusive use and occupation of the land, and the ability to determine how the land is used. Therefore, during this interim period, the Province is asking hikers, fishers and others wishing to access the title land to get permission from the TNG in advance by calling 250 392-3918. A provincial fishing licence is required for lakes and rivers within the title lands.
Public roads within the title area remain open to the public to access private or Crown lands and leased areas. The Province and TNG will post information signs marking entry points to the title area to assist the public with orientation within the coming months.
B.C. and the TNG have renewed an agreement to open eight recreation sites within the title area for the enjoyment of all visitors this summer. The following recreation sites will be open to the public from April 1 to November 30, 2015: Chaunigan Lake, Chilko-Taseko Junction; Choelquoit Lake; Cochin Lake; Vedan Lake North; Tsuniah Lake Bay; Tatlayoko Lake Northeast; and Big Lake. Tourism information within title land and access to the Xeni Gwet’in Visitor Protocol is available online at www.xeni.ca.
The TNG and Xeni Gwet’in have provided conditional consent for existing guide outfitters to operate within the title land for the 2015 season. However, the title land is not publicly available for hunting.
Laws of general application, such as federal and provincial election legislation and the Criminal Code of Canada, continue to apply on the title land. The Province and the Tsilhqot’in continue to discuss access to the title area, and will communicate further decisions publicly as soon as possible.
Outside the title lands, the public must follow existing laws for accessing Crown land.
Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations