Courtesy of the Government of BC:
Five new agreements between British Columbia and the Tŝilhqot’in Nation will provide greater clarity and certainty on activities in the Tŝilhqot’in Declared Title area in the Tsilhqot’in (Chilcotin) territory.
“The landmark Tŝilhqot’in Decision in 2014 raised a range of unique and complex questions that we are working with the Tŝilhqot’in National Government to address as we move forward together to implement the Supreme Court’s decision,” said Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. “These agreements highlight the continued collaboration between our two governments, to provide more certainty and clarity around governance of activities on the Tŝilhqot’in territory.”
The agreements recognize the importance of economic and recreational opportunities within the Title area, setting out how certain activities will be managed together between the two governments. This is being done while the Province and Tŝilhqot’in Nation continue to work together, to create longer-term certainty for the benefit of the Tŝilhqot’in people, and those who live and work in the region. The agreements represent a key step in balancing ongoing activities on the land, with increasing governing capacity by the Tŝilhqot’in National Government.
“These temporary authorizations allow specific activities to occur within our Title land that benefit local residents, visitors, and businesses. We have a long way to go still, and hope that a rejuvenated focus can be placed on meeting the basic needs of our community, our families, and our children,” said Chief Jimmy Lulua of Xeni Gwet’in.
“The Tŝilhqot’in Nation is looking for ways to provide certainty in the short term while working out long-term solutions,” said Chief Joe Alphonse, Tribal Chairman of the Tŝilhqot’in National Government. “Unexpected delays and changes in government have been challenging but we expect once certainty is established for community members and others that we can fully address the needs of our future.”
The five new agreements are designed as an important step forward in the management of the Title area, over the next two years, for the following activities:
Access and authorization for commercial and residential recreation licences, leases and permits, previously issued to third parties by the provincial government;
Access for licensed angling guides, and authorization for angling activities;
Access for registered trappers, and authorization for trapping activities;
Management and continued public use, and commercial use under permit, for the provincial protected areas, Ts’ilʔos Park, Nunsti Park and the Cardiff Mountain Ecological Reserve; and
Continued operation and use of previously established recreation sites in areas within the Title area.
The B.C. government and the Tŝilhqot’in National Government are working in partnership on the implementation of the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision under the Nenqay Deni Accord, signed in 2016. The accord outlines eight pillars of reconciliation including Tŝilhqot’in language and culture, children and families, healthy communities, justice, education and training, lands and resources and economic development.
The 2014 Tŝilhqot’in Decision made by the Supreme Court of Canada was the first declaration of Aboriginal title by the courts in Canada.
The Nenqay Deni Accord was signed Feb. 11, 2016, as a framework for government-to-government negotiations between the Tŝilhqot’in Nation and Province of B.C.
In October 2017, the Province and Tŝilhqot’in Nation signed a letter of commitment to ensure key components of the accord are turned into action. They reaffirmed the work under the terms of the accord, and that both parties will work together to make progress on the eight ‘pillars of reconciliation’ underpinning their work.
Nenqay Deni Accord: www.tsilhqotin.ca/Portals/0/PDFs/Nenqay_Deni_Accord.pdf
Tŝilhqot’in National Government: http://www.tsilhqotin.ca/