What is this engagement about?
On March 28, 2019, Cheslatta Carrier Nation and the provincial government signed a Settlement Agreement to address the historic impacts of the Kenney Dam and Nechako Reservoir on the Cheslatta people. The Settlement Agreement, along with a forward looking Interim Reconciliation Agreement, will support Cheslatta’s social and economic well-being and cultural revitalization, and advance reconciliation consistent with B.C.’s commitment to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The Settlement Agreement provides financial payments and land transfers and tenures to Cheslatta over a 10-year period in return for full and final settlement of Cheslatta claims against B.C. related to impacts of the Nechako Reservoir on their rights and title interests. The Interim Reconciliation Agreement addresses collaborative management of protected areas, fish and wildlife, and community-led cultural, heritage and training initiatives, including language revitalization with funding of $400,000 per year for 10 years.
B.C., in collaboration with Cheslatta, held a public open house on June 19, 2018, in Burns Lake to share information about the purpose and progress of negotiations towards reconciliation and settlement. Attendees included local government, neighbouring First Nations, community members, stakeholders, and tenure holders with interests overlapping the lands under discussion
The Draft Map of ‘Lands Under Discussion’ that was shared at the open house is not part of the Settlement Agreement, but does highlight areas where Cheslatta may identify lands for transfer and tenure.
Since the 2018 open house, B.C. and Cheslatta both continued to communicate with neighouring First Nations, Local Governments, and stakeholders.
In response to concerns expressed by adjacent First Nations, B.C. and Cheslatta agreed in Spring 2019 to identify a first phase of land parcels in the easterly and southern areas of Cheslatta territory. Phase 1 parcels are outlined on an updated map. These lands continue to be subject to detailed analysis and extensive engagement with First Nations with overlapping territories and stakeholders. B.C. and Cheslatta are making best efforts to resolve concerns and conflicts brought forward by First Nations, stakeholders, and the public.
B.C. continues to consult with First Nations and engage with stakeholders and intends to conclude these processes by the end of August 2020, so that B.C. decision makers can consider the input received and efforts made to address interests that have been raised. It is anticipated that the eligibility for Phase 1 parcel transfer and tenure will be determined in the Fall of 2020.
Land transfers and tenures acquired by Cheslatta will be subject to the provincial and local government laws, including applicable zoning, land use, land development and property tax laws.
The process for land selection, approved by B.C. of specific parcels, survey and transfer is expected to take several years as a minimum and may take up to 10 years to finalize the full land package.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1) Have B.C. and Cheslatta reached agreement?
The Settlement Agreement and the Interim Reconciliation Agreement were approved and signed on March 28, 2019.
2) Why is land part of the proposed settlement with Cheslatta?
When the Nechako Reservoir was created, thousands of hectares of land traditionally used by the Cheslatta to practice their Aboriginal rights were flooded. Land transfers are part of the proposed settlement with Cheslatta for land flooded within their traditional territory and as a base for future community and economic development.
3) Would land transferred to Cheslatta become part of a reserve?
B.C. would transfer land in fee-simple, meaning Cheslatta would own the land the same as any private landowner and BC laws will continue to apply. Cheslatta has advised that, at this time, it has no plans to apply to Canada to add lands acquired under a Settlement Agreement to its reserves.
4) Is Rio Tinto Alcan part of the settlement?
The settlement does not involve Rio Tinto Alcan. The Settlement Agreement is between B.C. and Cheslatta.
Questions or comments?
Please contact: Colleen.Gellein@gov.bc.ca at the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, Skeena Region.
Details of the Engagement:
Date: May 17, 2018 to September 31, 2020
Category: Families & Residents
Type: In-person, E-mail