Wuikinuxv Nation and the governments of B.C. and Canada have reached a major milestone in the B.C. treaty process with the signing of an Agreement-in-Principle.
Mark Strahl, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, John Rustad, British Columbia’s Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, and Rose Hanuse-Hackett, Chief of Wuikinuxv Nation, today signed an Agreement-in-Principle during a ceremony in Wuikinuxv Village, on the central coast of British Columbia.
With the signing of the Wuikinuxv Agreement-in-Principle, the three parties can now begin negotiations towards the conclusion of a Final Agreement. The Wuikinuxv Final Agreement will include a self-government component to clarify the roles and responsibilities of the future Wuikinuxv Government, the Government of British Columbia and the Government of Canada.
The B.C. government says that “modern treaties are an important tool to advance reconciliation and economic development for First Nations and all Canadians. A Final Agreement will provide Wuikinuxv Nation with the lands, resources and authorities they need to determine their own destiny. This in turn will lead to greater economic self-sufficiency and prosperity for Wuikinuxv Nation.”
The Wuikinuxv Agreement-in-Principle proposes approximately 14,646 hectares of land, and a transfer of $7.3 million (to be adjusted for inflation).
“The Government of Canada remains committed to concluding treaties with First Nations across the country. Concluding a modern treaty with the Wuikinuxv Nation reconciles Aboriginal and Crown interests and balances the rights and interests of the community and all Canadians. said Mark Strahl, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development. “The Agreement-in-Principle will lay the groundwork for a bright future for the region, opening doors to new jobs and opportunities.”
“Reconciliation with First Nations is about acknowledging the past and working to build a healthy and prosperous future, and treaties can be an important tool on this path. Wuikinuxv Nation is a dedicated steward of their traditional territory and an important partner with the Province in marine planning for B.C.’s coastline,” said John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation. “The Agreement-in-Principle adds a crucial pillar to our partnership, one that lays out a path to meaningful reconciliation, self-determination and new economic opportunities for current and future generations of Wuikinuxv people.”
“The signing of the Agreement-in-Principle is an important step in our path towards self-determination and economic self-reliance,” said Chief Rose Hanuse-Hackett, Wuikinuxv Nation “While much work remains, Wuikinuxv is committed to achieving a lasting and beneficial treaty for this generation and those to come.”
Wuikinuxv traditional territory lies 500 kilometres northwest of Vancouver, on the remote central cost of British Columbia. The community is located on the banks of the Waanukv River, which connects Owikeno Lake to the head of Rivers Inlet.
Wuikinuxv has approximately 290 registered members. The Agreement-in-Principle was approved by community members at its Annual General Assembly in July 2013.
The Agreement-in-Principle covers 27 topic areas including governance, taxation and resources (fisheries, forestry, wildlife, water, subsurface resources).
Progress in the B.C. treaty process includes: Tsawwassen First Nation and the five Maa-nulth First Nations are implementing their Final Agreements. Yale First Nation and Tla’amin Nation and are working towards implementing their respective Final Agreements.
Lheidli T’enneh First Nation concluded a Final Agreement and is considering a second ratification vote.
Eight First Nations are in Final Agreement negotiations: In-SHUCK-ch, K’omoks, Yekooche, and the Te’mexw Treaty Association First Nations of Songhees, Beecher Bay, T’Sou-ke, Malahat, Snaw-Naw-As. Fourteen First Nations are in advanced Agreement-in-Principle negotiations.