The Haisla are to get 120 hectares of Crown land from the provincial government to connect two pieces of existing reserve land.
The land lies between Kitamaat Village and Walth reserve on the Douglas Channel and the announcement was made today in Kitamaat between Haisla chief councillor Ellis Ross and provincial aboriginal relations and reconciliation minister John Rustad.
Turning over the land comes under a provincial program called incremental treaty agreements meant to pave the way toward negotiating final and more comprehensive land claims and self government treaties.
The province also regards these incremental agreements as a way to prove treaty benefits in a quicker fashion than waiting for the larger treaties to be negotiated.
In the case of the Haisla, its negotiators and those from the federal and provincial governments have been in Stage 4 of the treaty negotiation process since Dec.1996, some 19 years.
That’s the stage which is to lead to an agreement in principle which is then put to Haisla voters for acceptance.
The agreement in principle sets out the broad details of a final treaty and leads to further and more detailed negotiations.
Actually transferring land from the province to First Nations can take as long as a year.
Rustad said the transfer will “open new opportunities for the Haisla Nation as they expand their community and build lasting prosperity through sustainable commercial ventures, and partnerships with industry and government.”
Ross said the lands “have great historical and cultural value to our people, and we’ve worked to reacquire them for 60 years.”