Negotiators for the Government of Canada, the Government of British Columbia and the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation initialled the Lheidli T’enneh Treaty today in Prince George. This event is a necessary step before the Lheidli T’enneh ratification vote in June 2018.
The parties have updated the 2006 Final Agreement, including changing the name of the agreement to the Lheidli T’enneh Treaty. The name change reflects evolving federal and provincial approaches to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.
The treaty maintains all of the original benefits of the 2006 agreement. New wording in the treaty also allows the agreement to evolve along with certain provincial and federal policies related to reconciliation and treaty negotiations.
The Lheidli T’enneh Treaty now provides for a capital transfer of $37.1 million, which represents an additional $20.8 million to Lheidli T’enneh from the 2006 agreement. This increase is based on updated policies that support reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.
The Lheidli T’enneh Treaty exemplifies Canada and British Columbia’s commitment to renewing the relationship with Lheidli T’enneh, based on respect, co-operation and partnership.
Carolyn Bennett, federal Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs –
“The Lheidli T’enneh Treaty provides significant economic and development opportunities through the land, cash and fiscal elements. Of equal importance is the relationship this treaty builds between Canada and the Lheidli T’enneh. Canada’s commitment to Lheidli T’enneh does not end when negotiations cease. Canada will continue to support Lheidli T’enneh throughout a transition to treaty and beyond.”
Scott Fraser, B.C. Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation –
“New language in the Lheidli T’enneh Treaty presents a positive path forward to guide our government-to-government relationship into the future, and reflects our interest in advancing treaties beyond the restrictions seen in past decades. We are working together with partners on an approach to treaties and agreements with First Nations that is grounded in recognition and implementation of rights and title, and which supports prosperous, healthy and self-determining Indigenous communities.”
Dominic Frederick, Chief of Lheidli T’enneh First Nation –
“Through the treaty, we’re going to govern ourselves. Our traditional rights will be protected, and we will own our land. We will build an economy, and stand side by side with our neighbours in our territory. With the treaty, we’re moving forward. Without it we’re stuck.”
- Lheidli T’enneh members will be able to vote on the treaty and constitution through an electronic ballot, a mail-in ballot, or in person. Polling stations will be held in Vancouver and Prince George in June 2018.
- Ratifying the Lheidli T’enneh treaty requires approval by 50% plus one of all Lheidli T’enneh eligible voters, followed by approval by the legislative assembly of B.C., and finally by the Parliament of Canada.
- The treaty provides Lheidli T'enneh with rights and benefits regarding land and resources, and self-government. Terms include:
- 4,330 hectares of treaty settlement lands, known as Lheidli T’enneh Lands
- $37.1 million capital transfer
- $502,000 per year for 50 years in resource revenue sharing (indexed to inflation)
- $2.29 million per year in ongoing funding for services such as health, education and social development, and for governance activities (indexed to inflation)
- $15 million in one-time funding for implementation, fisheries and capacity building
- $1.69 million in one-time funding for an economic development fund
- $100,000 annually for a community development officer
- The treaty protects the rights of Lheidli T’enneh citizens to hunt, fish and gather throughout defined traditional harvest areas
- Approximately 1,183 hectares of Lheidli T’enneh Lands would be located within the City of Prince George. Lheidli T’enneh is working with the city and the regional district to develop a planning agreement.
- British Columbia and Canada will continue to consult with neighbouring Indigenous groups.
- For more on the Lheidli T’enneh treaty: yourvoiceourfuture.ca
- Lheidli T’enneh Treaty agreement: ow.ly/SGrb30jMCvL
- Lheidli T’enneh First Nation: lheidli.ca
- Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation: gov.bc.ca/irr
- Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada: www.canada.ca/en/indigenous-northern-affairs.html