What is this engagement about?
Since the early 1990s, Kitselas First Nation (Kitselas) and Kitsumkalum First Nation (Kitsumkalum) have been involved in treaty negotiations with the Government of Canada (Canada) and the Province of British Columbia (B.C.). Treaties are part of Canada and B.C.’s work to advance reconciliation guided by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.
Although the two First Nations are negotiating their treaties together, the negotiations will result in two distinct, separate treaties. These negotiations are now in the final stage, Stage 5, of the BC Treaty Commission Treaty Process read more about that process here. The treaty table includes Kitselas, Kitsumkalum, Canada, B.C., the BC Treaty Commission, the Tsimshian First Nations Treaty Society and local government representatives.
About the Kitselas and Kitsumkalum Treaty Negotiations
Treaties help build a relationship between First Nations, Canada and B.C. based on mutual trust, respect and understanding. Treaties are protected under the Canadian Constitution and include a range of rights and obligations that all levels of government, including Treaty Nations, recognize and commit to. Treaties outline responsibilities and jurisdiction over treaty lands such as ownership, access, governance, financial benefits, taxation, and environmental management including fish and wildlife.
The Kitselas and Kitsumkalum treaties will recognize the pre-existing rights and title of the Nations. The treaties will provide the basis for a revitalized relationship between the Nations, their neighbours and all levels of government by fostering shared understanding and helping to deliver economic predictability in the region. These treaties are intended to encourage investment, create jobs, expand economic development, and support social well-being for Kitselas and Kitsumkalum First Nations’ communities.
Background on the Kitselas and Kitsumkalum Treaty Negotiations
Kitselas and Kitsumkalum are members of the Tsimshian First Nations Treaty Society, which represents multiple Tsimshian Nations whose combined territory spans the northwest coast and the lower Skeena River, including the Prince Rupert and Terrace areas.
Kitselas and Kitsumkalum entered Stage 1 of the Treaty negotiations process in the early 1990s. Stages 2 through 4 took place through the mid-1990s and concluded in 2015 with the signing of both the Kitselas Agreement in Principle (AIP) and the Kitsumkalum AIP. The purpose of these AIPs was to identify and define the range of rights and obligations to be included in the treaty, including:
• existing and future interests in the land and natural resources;
• governance authorities and structures;
• laws and other regulatory processes; and
• fiscal contributions and relationships, as well as processes for amendments and dispute resolution.
The AIPs form the basis for the treaties and also lay the groundwork for their implementation.
Kitselas and Kitsumkalum are now in Stage 5 of the treaty negotiations. During this stage, the interests identified in the AIPs are built upon, additional matters are negotiated, and all legal and technical issues are resolved to reach formalized treaty agreements.
There are several important steps that must occur following the completion of negotiations and before the implementation of the treaty begins. For the First Nations, these include the creation of laws and a constitution and a vote by the First Nations members on the treaties. For B.C. and Canada, this includes developing and passing legislation. Finally, prior to the final signing, the treaties require Royal Assent.
When signed, these treaties will embody the new relationship and commitments made between Kitselas and Kitsumkalum, Canada and B.C. The final stage, Stage 6, is the implementation of the treaty, which occurs when a treaty is approved by all signatories.
About the Stages in Treaty Negotiations, find out more at the:
British Columbia Treaty Commission (BCTC)
Kitselas First Nations Treaty page
Kitsumkalum First Nations Treaty page
Kitselas Agreement in Principle (signed September 4, 2015)
Kitsumkalum Agreement in Principle (signed September 4, 2015)
Tsimshian First Nations Treaty Society
About Tsimshian First Nations Treaty Society (B.C.webpage)
About Kitselas First Nation (B.C.webpage)
About Kitsumkalum First Nation (B.C.webpage)
United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
B.C.Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act
How can my contribution make a difference?
Partner, stakeholder and public engagement is an important activity for everyone at the treaty table. The purpose of engagement with stakeholders and the public is to share information and build awareness and support of the final stage of negotiation of the Kitselas and Kitsumkalum Treaties as a step to advance reconciliation and foster good neighbour relationships in the region.
Partner, Stakeholder and Public Engagement
Engagement has been on-going with local governments and stakeholders throughout treaty negotiations. Partner, stakeholder and public engagement is an important way for those at the treaty table to share information about the treaties.
Local government and stakeholder outreach is currently underway. The treaty partners are meeting with local governments and stakeholders to discuss hopes and issues for the treaties and treaty implementation. These partners will also be planning and preparing for public engagement, which is scheduled to begin in the Fall of 2022. Public engagement sessions will provide opportunities for the public to find out more about the treaties and provide feedback to the treaty partners. More details will be posted on this page, including how you can get involved, once available.
Details of the Engagement