MEMBERS OF the Kitsumkalum First Nation have approved a land claims treaty agreement in principle, setting the stage for negotiations leading to a final agreement.
Once the polls closed at 8 p.m. last night, 298 ballots were counted with 190 members voting yes to proceed into final treaty negotiations with Canada and British Columbia while 108 members voted no.
97 of the 298 total were mail in ballots with the remainder voting in person at the Kitsumkalum Community Hall at the Kitsumkalum village just west of Terrace.
Chief negotiator Gerald Wesley says meetings will now be convened with Canada and British Columbia to determine next steps.
Wesley says “he is pleased with the results but is also very conscious of the fact that not everyone has supported the effort – it will be a priority to work with all of our membership if we want a successful final treaty. There is much work to be done but for this moment, we can enjoy a level of success!”
Provincial aboriginal relations and reconciliation minister Ida Chong was pleased with the result.
“I would like to congratulate Kitsumkalum community members on making their voices heard. This is a key milestone on the road to a treaty that will see Kitsumkalum become a full, self-governing treaty nation.
“The next step in treaty negotiations is for the AIP to be signed by Canada, B.C. and Kitsumkalum and for Final Agreement negotiations to proceed,” she said.
Yesterday’s ‘yes’ vote follows a similar result earlier this year on the part of the Kitselas First Nation in northwestern B.C.