The governments of Canada and British Columbia and the Wei Wai Kum and Kwiakah First Nations have signed a new agreement that will advance reconciliation and treaty negotiations.
Chief Christopher Roberts, Wei Wai Kum First Nation; Chief Steven Dick, Kwiakah First Nation; Carolyn Bennett, federal Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations; and Scott Fraser, B.C.’s Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation; signed the Wei Wai Kum First Nation/Kwiakah First Nation Transition to Stage 5 and Treaty Revitalization Agreement.
The agreement advances treaty negotiations to the final stage and guides the development of an approach that recognizes the rights of Wei Wai Kum and Kwiakah First Nations.
This new strategy explicitly recognizes that Aboriginal rights are inherent and will not be extinguished or surrendered. It seeks to build a collaborative government-to-government relationship that is flexible and able to adapt to changing circumstances over time.
Under this approach to treaty-making, key elements such as self-government, land ownership and stewardship, and law-making authorities will be written into a constitutionally protected core treaty. Administrative and policy matters may be addressed through supplementary agreements that can be more easily amended, allowing for the government-to-government relationship to evolve as laws, policies and interests change. This approach makes room for a treaty relationship that is flexible and able to adapt over time.
Working as partners and developing new innovative approaches to government-to-government agreements is key to achieving reconciliation and supporting healthy and prosperous Indigenous communities in Canada.
Chief Christopher Roberts, Wei Wai Kum First Nation –
“It has been a long journey to reach the milestone of Stage 5 of the B.C. treaty process, and is the result of hard work by all involved. We appreciate the commitment the governments of Canada and B.C. have made to recognize Wei Wai Kum Nation’s rights as defined under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as we continue on this path to achieving true reconciliation and management over our traditional territory.”
Chief Steven Dick, Kwiakah First Nation –
“Kwiakah First Nation is pleased to be able to take this important step in the treaty process. In the spirit of reconciliation, we look forward to working with both the federal and provincial governments to achieve a treaty that will respect the rights and title of Kwiakah Citizens.”
Carolyn Bennett, federal Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations –
“Working collaboratively with the Wei Wai Kum and Kwiakah First Nations to develop new approaches to advance treaty negotiations is key to reconciliation and supporting their vision of self-determination. This agreement demonstrates that the Government of Canada is committed to reconciliation with First Nations through the affirmation of rights, respect, co-operation and partnership.”
Scott Fraser, B.C.’s Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation –
“Today marks an important milestone on the path of reconciliation with the Wei Wai Kum and Kwiakah. Our government is committed to advancing reconciliation with Indigenous partners through treaties, and other agreements, which are based on lasting government-to-government relationships and recognition of the inherent rights of Indigenous peoples. This new approach to treaty making will create agreements that can evolve over time and respect the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”
Wei Wai Kum First Nation/Kwiakah First Nation Transition to Stage 5 and Treaty Revitalization Agreement:
Wei Wai Kum First Nation: https://weiwaikum.ca/
Kwiakah First Nation: http://www.kwiakah.com/
BC Treaty Commission: http://www.bctreaty.ca/