Canada, British Columbia and the Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Nations advance to final stage of treaty negotiations

British Columbia : The governments of Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw, Canada and British Columbia have signed a new agreement that will further advance reconciliation and treaty negotiations.

Today, Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Nation Leaders, Hereditary Chiefs; the Honourable Marc Miller, federal Minister of Crown–Indigenous Relations; and Michele Babchuk, Member of the Legislative Assembly for North Island, on behalf of the Honourable Murray Rankin, provincial Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, signed the Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Nations Transition to Stage 5 Memorandum of Understanding.

The Memorandum of Understanding marks the next and final stage (Stage 5) of treaty negotiations. This will support the Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Nations’ right to self-determination and define a new relationship between Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Nations, Canada and British Columbia by enabling next steps in the BC Treaty Process.

The Memorandum of Understanding commits the parties to establish a new approach to their treaty negotiations, which will be guided and informed by the Recognition and Reconciliation of Rights Policy for Treaty Negotiations in British Columbia, which was collaboratively developed and released by the Government of Canada, the Province of British Columbia and the First Nations Summit in 2019. This new approach to negotiations ensures agreements align with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and British Columbia’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act. The approach will allow for the recognition and continuation of rights without those rights being modified, surrendered, or extinguished when a treaty is signed, and for the design of a treaty that is flexible and able to adapt to changing circumstances over time.

As the parties prepare to enter into Stage 5 of negotiations, they recognize that there remains much work to do and many decisions to be made before the treaty process is complete. Today’s Memorandum of Understanding marks a significant step towards reconciliation and resolution and recognizes the hard work and dedication of those involved on behalf of Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw, Canada and British Columbia in reaching this significant milestone.