On September 18, 2020, the Province of British Columbia, Lake Babine Nation and the Government of Canada signed the Lake Babine Nation Foundation Agreement. The Foundation Agreement sets out a step-by-step vision for Lake Babine Nation to implement their rights and title, so they can build a strong, stable future for their Nation and their members.
Through this agreement, Lake Babine Nation and the provincial and federal governments want to improve the region as a whole for everyone who lives there, where all communities thrive by working together.
The Foundation Agreement is best described as a road-map. It contains a series of commitments that the Nation and the provincial and federal governments intend to meet through collaboration and partnership. This work will include local communities and industry within Lake Babine Territory.
This agreement offers a model for how the Province, Canada, Indigenous Nations can work together to improve the quality of life for Lake Babine members and implement Aboriginal rights and title over time, consistent with the principles of the new Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act. Lake Babine Nation and the provincial and federal governments are committed to achieving reconciliation through a renewed government-to-government relationship, supported by the Foundation Agreement.
About the Foundation Agreement
In 2016, Lake Babine Nation approached the Province to expand their work together on shared solutions to socio-economic issues in the community and to support Lake Babine Nation in participating in the regional economy in new ways. Work on a long-term reconciliation agreement began, building on the foundation of previous reconciliation initiatives such as the 2014 Memorandums of Understanding (I and II), 2014 Incremental Treaty Agreement, and 2016 Reconciliation Framework Agreement.
The federal government joined the discussions in 2018, guided by a Memorandum of Understanding that provided a framework to negotiate the Foundation Agreement.
Lake Babine Nation has been clear from the start that they want to work collaboratively with local businesses, land owners, stakeholders and local governments to find ways to move forward that will benefit the entire region. The Foundation Agreement offers a shared 20-year vision to accomplish this work together. It outlines a step-by-step approach to reconciliation and supporting Lake Babine as the Nation moves toward self-government.
The agreement supports both short and long-term goals. The major components of the agreement include: governance; land transfers and Aboriginal title recognition; economic development; natural resource decision-making; forestry; fisheries; wildlife; and socio-cultural well-being (including greater control over programs for Lake Babine members in areas including justice, education, health, and child and family services). Lake Babine Nation and the provincial and federal governments are currently negotiating many of these topic areas to achieve the vision laid out within the Foundation Agreement.
Under the agreement, the Province has committed to transferring 20,000 hectares of provincial Crown land to Lake Babine Nation. This land will further support Lake Babine Nation’s participation in the regional forest economy. Specific land parcels will be finalized at a later date through a separate, specifically negotiated land transfer agreement (which is currently under negotiation).
The Province has had ongoing engagement with local stakeholders, including property owners and tenure holders, in areas where potential land transfers have been identified. These ongoing discussions with stakeholders will ensure they have sufficient information and a chance to provide input about their interests and any identify potential impacts regarding the land transfer. The Province is actively working to respond to and address stakeholder concerns before any decisions on land parcels are finalized through the separate land transfer agreement.
View the Areas of Interest Map.
For further information on the Foundation Pathway Agreement and the Tripartite Memorandum of Understanding to Guide Rights Implementation and Reconciliation Negotiations and on previous agreements that have guided the negotiations, please visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/natural-resource-stewardship/consulting-with-first-nations/first-nations-negotiations/first-nations-a-z-listing/lake-babine-nation
Previous Information Sessions
- Virtual Zoom Public Information Session
On April 20, 2021, B.C. held a virtual public information session with participants from Lake Babine Nation and Canada to learn more about the Foundation Agreement. The presentation provided an overview of the spirit and intent of the Agreement; the presentation from this session can be found here.
Questions? Get in touch with us:
MIRRSkeena@gov.bc.ca at the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, Skeena Region.