Snuneymuxw First Nation and the Province are taking a major step in their shared reconciliation journey with a completed transfer of 212 hectares of land on Te'tuxwtun, known as Mount Benson East.
This is the first step in the implementation of the Snuneymuxw First Nation and British Columbia Land Transfer Agreement (2020), with the remaining 2,882 hectares planned for transfer to Snuneymuxw in the near future. This land transfer is an important tool to support the implementation of the Saarlequun Snuneymuxw Treaty of 1854.
“Our mission is clear: continue building on our economic growth and secure a prosperous future for generations to come,” said Snuneymuxw Chief Mike Wyse. “We infuse our Snawaylth into all our economic projects, embracing it as a guiding force toward restoring balance within our territory. In doing so, we deepen our profound connection to the land and culture, while responsibly governing precious resources. There remains over 2,882 hectares of our village to come back to us as part of the agreement and we will continue to work with the minister to enable this transfer for the benefit of our people.”
The Mount Benson East land is a heavily forested area south of Nanaimo within Snuneymuxw territory and is in relationship with Snuneymuxw’s villages and waterways. The land being rightfully returned is now part of the Nation’s Petroglyph Development Corporation land holdings and is part of the Nation’s forest management program.
“Snuneymuxw First Nation’s Mount Benson East lands hold much opportunity for the Nation to create new economic activity in forestry, while also protecting wildlife habitat,” said Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. “This land transfer represents another step in our relationship. It will foster transformative change toward self-government and bring stability and prosperity to everyone in the mid-Island region.”
This is the first land transfer under the 2020 Land Transfer Agreement, which will see 3,094 hectares of Crown lands near the city of Nanaimo transfer to Snuneymuxw First Nation. Snuneymuxw and the Province are actively preparing the remaining parcels of land attached to this agreement – Mount Benson North (742 hectares) and Mount McKay (2,097 hectares) – as part of the full implementation of the Land Transfer Agreement announced in 2020.
Sheila Malcolmson, MLA for Nanaimo –
“We give thanks to Snuneymuxw First Nation for their efforts in securing lasting economic prosperity for not only their members, but for the entire mid-Island forestry industry. The land transfer agreement represents a significant reconciliation step and aids in the path to achieving a healthy forestry industry for everyone in this region.”
- Snuneymuxw First Nation is a Coast Salish, hul’q’umi’num’-speaking Nation located in Coast Salish territory on the eastern coast of Vancouver Island, with villages on the Fraser River and waterways in the Gulf Islands.
- Snuneymuxw has more than 1,700 members and the smallest land reserve per capita in B.C.
- On Dec. 23, 1854, the Crown and the Snuneymuxw People entered into the Saarlequun Snuneymuxw Treaty of 1854 to forever and always preserve and protect Snuneymuxw villages, enclosed fields, waterways, harvesting and gathering, and the rights to hunt and fisheries as they did formerly.
- Often referred to as a trade and commerce treaty, the Saarlequun Snuneymuxw Treaty of 1854 is protected under Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
- Snuneymuxw First Nation Chief and Council have made it a priority to assert the recognition and implementation of the Saarlequun Snuneymuxw Treaty of 1854.
To learn about Snuneymuxw First Nation, visit: https://www.snuneymuxw.ca
To read the 2020 Land Transfer Agreement, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/download/0583431F80F9413B8CB15E0038583FC9
To know more about the agreements reached in 2020, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020IRR0053-001831