Provincial aboriginal relations minister Ida Chong

Kitsumkalum and Kitselas First Nations offered additional lands

But first members must approve of treaty agreements in principle

The Kitselas and Kitsumkalum First Nations are to receive additional lands that stand to become part of their treaty allocations under two deals signed Jan. 31.

But members of each First Nation must first approve treaty agreements in principle with Kitselas voting Feb. 20 and Kitsumkalum April 10 before any transfers take place.

The agreements in principle, initialed by negotiators Jan. 22, form the core of any eventual treaty but the additional lands are meant as an immediate economic and cultural benefit, said provincial aboriginal relations minister Ida Chong who attended the Kitselas and Kitsumkalum signing ceremonies.

“These are part of our continuing commitment to involve First Nations in the economy,” said Chong.

The province has already approved of both agreements in principle.

All of the lands involved in the two deals are Crown land taking up approximately 148 hectares in two parcels for the Kitsumkalum and 250 hectares in three parcels for the Kitselas.

The larger of the Kitsumkalum parcels is to become part of the community’s rock quarry opened last year while the other, farther north along the West Kalum Forestry Road, is to be used for a subdivision.

The largest of the Kitselas parcels is to allow the First Nation’s Gitaus subdivision to expand and is located on both sides of Hwy16, while another, near the airport, is to be rolled into its agreement with the City of Terrace for the development of an industrial park.

A small parcel of land at Catt Point on Lakelse Lake across from Lakelse Lake Provincial Park is included in the Kitselas deal.

Gerald Wesley, the chief negotiator for the Kitselas and Kitsumkalum, said that while the deals were separate from the agreements in principle, they formed part of the overall emphasis on building an economy for both First Nations.

“This was a business opportunity so we jumped on it,” he said.

The parcels being allocated come under the provincial government’s incremental treaty agreement policy of providing land for economic and other development in advance of any final treaties.

“I do believe they build trust between governments and communities,” said Chong.

Kitsumkalum chief councillor Don Roberts with minister Ida Chong at the Kitsumkalum signing.

As it is, the Kitsumkalum, based on its  proposed agreement in principle, is to receive approximately 44,809 hectares and $44.2 million in cash while the Kitselas are to receive 35,090 hectares and approximately $34.7 million in cash.

Agreements in principle even after being approved, however, are not legally binding and details could change as negotiations continue toward a final treaty document.

Kitsumkalum chief councillor Don Roberts called the pending land transfer a “significant milestone in the treaty process.”

But he cautioned the audience at the Kitsumkalum ceremony that accepting the additional lands shouldn’t be regarded as blanket agreement of a treaty.

“I know there’s concern in the community,” said Roberts of lands and title issues raised during negotiations.

Kitselas chief councillor Judy Gerow, at the Kitselas signing ceremony, said a treaty provides a framework for dealing with industrial and other development, particularly now that the region is the subject of a growing number of potential liquefied natural gas plants, pipelines and mines.

“Now when we look at what’s going on, it’s scary,” said Gerow. “A treaty ensures we have a say on what happens.”

“Now we will be able to participate in decisions being made on our land.”

Both signing ceremonies were attended by City of Terrace and Kitimat-Stikine regional district officials.

There was one note of protest at Kitsumkalum – two Idle No More banners were planted on the side of Hwy16 close to the front door of the Kitsumkalum community hall. Five police officers were also in attendance at the Kitsumkalum ceremony but none were present at the Kitselas signing.

(Note: The paragraph below originally appeared on line stating there were four parcels for the Kitselas First Nation. In fact, there are three. The number has since been corrected.

All of the lands involved in the two deals are Crown land taking up approximately 148 hectares in two parcels for the Kitsumkalum and 250 hectares in three parcels for the Kitselas.)

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Flags lowered in honour of the late Bill McRae

Community leader, businessman passed away July 9

LETTER: Terrace mayor cites Bill McRae’s accomplishments

“Hard work and incredible character became a gift to the City of Terrace.”

Royal LePage Aspire Realty buys office in Terrace

Owner Rod Mcleod said the move will increase connectivity in northern B.C.

Ferry Island Campground in Terrace now open to out of province visitors

Decision based on recommendations from the provincial government

Infinite Ice’s holistic hockey program returning to Terrace in August

COVID-19 precautions in place for on-ice training, meditation, yoga and nutrition classes

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep drainage pipe on Vancouver Island

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Windows broken, racist graffiti left on Okanagan home

Family says nothing like this has happened since they moved to Summerland in 1980s

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

B.C.’s potential deficit $12.5 billion as spending spikes, taxes drop

Finance Minister Carole James gives COVID-19 outlook

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

‘Trauma equals addiction’: Why some seek solace in illicit drugs

Part 2: Many pushed into addiction by ‘toxic stress,’ says White Rock psychologist

Most Read