Kitselas chief councillor Joe Bevan signs the approved Agreement in Principle document to move into stage five of treaty negotiations for the Kitselas First Nation. To his left is Kitselas chief negotiator Mel Bevan

Kitselas and Kitsumkalum sign preliminary treaty agreements

The two First Nations can now formally advance into the final stages of their negotiations after the ceremonies today in Terrace

  • Aug. 4, 2015 10:00 a.m.

The Kitsumkalum and Kitselas can now formally advance into the final stages of their treaty negotiations with the federal and provincial governments thanks to agreements in principle signed today.

Both First Nations approved their agreements more than two years ago through referenda but senior government approval wasn’t made official until today’s signing.

The Kitsumkalum Agreement-in-Principle provides for approximately 45,406 hectares of land, north and west of Terrace, and $44.2 million (to be adjusted for inflation), once a final agreement is reached.

The Kitselas Agreement-in-Principle provides for 36,158 hectares of land east of Terrace, and $34.7 million (to be adjusted for inflation), once a final agreement is reached.

It may take several years yet of negotiations to reach a final agreement for both First Nations and members from each will again vote to approve of their content.

Kitsumkalum chief councillor Don Roberts and Kitselas chief councillor Joe Bevan signed for their governments while the province was represented by aboriginal relations and reconciliation minister John Rustad.

The federal government was to have been represented by Conservative Member of Parliament Mark Strahl from the Fraser Valley in his capacity as the parliamentary secretary to the federal aboriginal affairs minister but his trip here was cancelled because of Sunday’s election call.

Instead, the federal government was represented by a senior land claims official to formally recognize Canada’s signing of both agreements in principle.

“We’ve been waiting twenty some years, it’s a long time to wait,” said Joe Bevan. “I mean, having two people decide on the right course is tough enough, but getting three governments all wanting to position themselves, well that’s tough.”

The waiting time between the Kitselas vote in favour of the agreement in principle in 2013, and the recent federal signing off on the terms, was also drawn out.

“This is a huge step, we’ve been waiting two-and-a-half years for them to review the document,” said Bevan.

“It’s all up for negotiation. We can’t assume anything is a given,” he added of the next steps in negotiation.

Rustad said that the provincial government is trying to speed up the treaty process:

“There are a number of First Nations around the province who would like to complete their final agreements within a relatively short period of time, so as a province we are going to strive to do that,” said Rustad.

To honour the step forward, and to indicate Kitsumkalum’s desire to keep progressing, Don Roberts gave the province and Canada each a hand-painted paddle.

“It is to signify that we will paddle together,” said Roberts.

 

Just Posted

Block party at Northern View Cannery Road Race

Terrace family top the podium in each of their racing categories

Stolen property recovered

Police briefs from Sept. 9-11

Terrace couple wins Lotto Max

Money to be put towards retirement and motorcycle trip

Skeena Paddle Club awarded $2K grant for youth program

Sessions teach residents how to canoe, kayak

First Nations given max compensation for Ottawa’s child-welfare discrimination

2016 ruling said feds didn’t give same funding for on-reserve kids as was given to off-reserve kids

The Northern View announces inaugural Tyee Fishing Derby in Prince Rupert

More than $7,000 up for grabs for biggest legal salmon and halibut

‘This is where the movement is going to start’: Jessica Patrick remembered at memorial march

The march commemorates the one-year anniversary of the 18-year-old’s unsolved death

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

Federal party leaders address gun violence after weekend shooting near Toronto

One teen was killed and five people injured in the shooting

Conservatives promise tax cut that they say will address Liberal increases

Scheer says the cut would apply to the lowest income bracket

B.C. VIEWS: Cutting wood waste produces some bleeding

Value-added industry slowly grows as big sawmills close

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Some say the high cost of logs is the major cause of the industry’s decline in B.C.

Federal food safety watchdog says batch of baby formula recalled

The agency says it’s conducting a food safety investigation

Most Read