The governments of Canada, British Columbia and the We Wai Kai Nation have signed a new agreement that will advance reconciliation and treaty negotiations.
Chief Brian Assu of the We Wai Kai Nation; Carolyn Bennett, federal Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations; and Scott Fraser, B.C.’s Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, signed the We Wai Kai Transition to Stage 5 Negotiations Under the B.C. Treaty Process.
This agreement moves the We Wai Kai Nation to Stage 5, Final Treaty Negotiations, and supports the momentum recently built into these negotiations. It also guides the three parties in the development of a treaty that defines a new relationship between the We Wai Kai Nation, Canada and British Columbia.
In Stage 5 negotiations, the three parties will continue to use a collaborative approach to treaty-making to negotiate land ownership and stewardship, law-making authorities and governance. This approach recognizes that Aboriginal rights are inherent and will not be extinguished or surrendered. These principles will be written into a constitutionally protected treaty and result in a government-to-government relationship that is central to reconciliation.
In this way, Canada, British Columbia and the We Wai Kai Nation are working together to negotiate a treaty that is flexible and able to adapt to changing circumstances over time. This is key to achieving reconciliation and supporting healthy and prosperous Indigenous communities in Canada, which benefits We Wai Kai citizens and all British Columbians and Canadians alike.
Chief Brian Assu, We Wai Kai Nation –
“This Agreement speaks to the considerable momentum in our negotiations and is a product of our collaborative, interest-based work with Canada and British Columbia. We have a shared interest in expediting negotiations toward a treaty that recognizes our inherent rights and is informed by the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This agreement is important as we seek to become full participants and partners in the future of Canada and British Columbia and as We Wai Kai citizens, we are excited about this important step towards treaty.”
Carolyn Bennett, federal Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations –
“Congratulations to the We Wai Kai Nation on the hard work they have done to make their vision of self-determination a reality. Through flexible and innovative approaches, we are advancing treaty negotiations and moving forward on our shared journey of reconciliation and a better future for the We Wai Kai Nation and all Canadians.”
Scott Fraser, B.C.'s Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation –
“Our work with We Wai Kai has been based on mutual respect, open dialogue and practical approaches – qualities that have allowed us to move forward to the final stage of treaty negotiations. Together, we have created a framework for a treaty that recognizes the inherent rights of Indigenous peoples, is based on lasting government-to-government relationships and reflects the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”
We Wai Kai Transition to Stage 5 Negotiations Under the BC Treaty Process:
We Wai Kai First Nation: https://www.wewaikai.com/
BC Treaty Commission: http://www.bctreaty.ca/