Heiltsuk Nation and the provincial and federal governments have joined together to take tangible steps toward reconciliation and recognizing and implementing Heiltsuk Title and Rights, outside of the courts and Treaty process.
Carolyn Bennett, federal Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Scott Fraser, B.C.’s Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, along with Heiltsuk Nation Chief Marilyn Slett, and Arnold Humchitt, Heiltsuk Yimas, have signed the Tuígila “To Make a Path Forward” Agreement for Implementation of Heiltsuk Title, Rights and Self-government.
The Tuígila “To Make a Path Forward” Agreement seeks practical solutions that will demonstrate a tangible commitment to reconciliation. Ultimately, Heiltsuk Nation seeks Title, Rights and inherent jurisdiction to the whole of its respective territory. This agreement envisions an incremental approach to achieving this goal.
The Tuígila Agreement provides a framework for the federal and provincial governments and Heiltsuk Nation to plan concrete steps to implement Heiltsuk Aboriginal Title and Rights, including self-government, outside of the courts and Treaty process. It introduces a number of innovative approaches to negotiations on reconciliation.
The agreement, along with the Haίƚcίstut: Framework for Reconciliation, will focus negotiations on collaborative support for a sustainable and healthy Heiltsuk economy, shared decision-making, revenue sharing, management of lands and resources, and jurisdiction. This includes discussions on Heiltsuk governance and management of lands in Heiltsuk territory, including the transition of Indian Reserves from Indian Act governance, as well as other parcels of land in non-common claim areas of Heiltsuk territory.
Future areas of focus will be determined through ongoing negotiations.
Marilyn Slett, Chief Councillor of the Heiltsuk Nation –
“By signing this first-of-its-kind agreement, the Heiltsuk Nation is setting the pathway to negotiate the recognition of Title, Rights and Self-government outside of legal court cases and the Treaty process. Today’s agreement brings us one step closer to achieving the mandate from our people, which is to obtain a declaration of Title to our lands and waters, and for Heiltsuk to exercise maximum control over our territory.”
Harvey Humchitt, Sr., Hereditary Chief of the Heiltsuk Nation –
“The Heiltsuk have always been proactive in advancing our Title and Rights, whether it be through the courts, in negotiations, or through direct action. Today’s agreement builds on this strong history and represents a new path forward for reconciling our relationship with Canada and B.C.”
Carolyn Bennett, federal Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations –
“With the signing of the Tuígila ‘To Make a Path Forward’ Agreement, the Government of Canada, the Government of British Columbia and the Heiltsuk Nation have taken an important step towards advancing reconciliation. I look forward to our future work together towards the implementation of Heiltsuk Title and Rights.”
Scott Fraser, B.C.’s Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation –
“Heiltsuk has provided a strong vision of Haíłcístut, or ‘turning things around and making them right again,’ which has laid the foundation for this innovative agreement. We truly have a new path forward as we work together with the Nation and Canada to find innovative and collaborative ways for the Heiltsuk to implement their Title and Rights.”
- The Heiltsuk word “Tuígila” means “to make a pathway forward.”
- Heiltsuk traditional territory is located in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest on the central coast of British Columbia. This community has a registered population of 2,470 people.
- On Jan. 28, 2017, Canada and Heiltsuk Nation signed the Haίƚcίstut: Framework for Reconciliation, which established a shared vision, principles and objectives. The parties also agreed to seek the realization of self-government and recognition of Aboriginal Title and Rights within Heiltsuk territory.
- On April 3, 2017, B.C. and Heiltsuk signed the Haίƚcίstut: Framework for Reconciliation, which established a shared vision, principles and objectives. The parties also agreed to seek the realization of self-government and recognition of Aboriginal Title and Rights within Heiltsuk territory.
- On July 25, 2019, Canada and Heiltsuk Nation signed the Haíɫcístut Incremental House Post Agreement. The Heiltsuk word “Haíɫcístut” means “to turn something around and make it right again.”
- Canada and Heiltsuk Nation will undertake consultation with neighbouring Indigenous groups on the Tuígila Agreement for Implementation of Heiltsuk Title, Rights and Self-government.
Tuígila “To Make a Path Forward” Agreement: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/natural-resource-stewardship/consulting-with-first-nations/first-nations-negotiations/first-nations-a-z-listing/heiltsuk-bella-bella-nation
Heiltsuk Integrated Resource Management Department: http://www.hirmd.ca/