LETTER: Nisga’a Nation not a ‘parallel state’

Nisga'a Lisims President Mitchell Stevens responds to criticism of benefits from self-government by treaty

Mitchell Stevens

This in response to Tom Fletcher’s column (Nisga’a proving their critics wrong, B.C. Views, Dec. 3) and a recent letter to the editor from Ron Johnson (Nisga’a parallel state poses tough questions).

First, the Nisga’a Nation is not a “parallel state.” As a result of our treaty, we are very much a part of Canada, a fact about which many Nisga’a citizens are extremely proud. In the manner set out in the Nisga’a Treaty, federal and provincial laws apply to Nisga’a Nation, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms applies to Nisga’a government, Nisga’a citizens pay taxes, and Nisga’a citizens continue to be entitled to all the rights and benefits of other Canadian citizens.

If anything, our treaty removed the barriers of the Indian Act that obstructed our full participation in Canadian society. We take exception to being separated in any way from Canada.

Second, Johnson’s comment that Nisga’a citizens have become a “landed gentry” is a completely inaccurate portrayal of the state of Nisga’a society. It suggests that through the recognition of our aboriginal title under the Nisga’a Treaty, Nisga’a Nation has somehow magically transformed its economic conditions to that of a 19th century aristocrat living off rents.

In fact we were not allowed to participate in the industrial revolution, and we need to catch up to the rest of Canada. As tax-paying Canadians, we at Nisga’a Nation still have to earn our daily bread, attract investment to our area and carefully plan and build for the future, just like everyone else in Canada.

This is why we support the development of the liquefied natural gas industry in B.C., are seeking to attract investment, and possibly operate an LNG facility on Nisga’a lands. As we have indicated to the government of B.C. at recent joint press conferences, our efforts at Nisga’a Nation provide LNG proponents project certainty to support the establishment of the LNG industry in B.C. generally.

Nisga’a Nation strives for sustainable prosperity and self-reliance. We appreciate how Fletcher has kept an open mind to allow his views on the Nisga’a Treaty to evolve. We are optimistic that eventually more people will understand that we want what all citizens of B.C. want – an improved quality of life.

H. Mitchell Stevens

President, Nisga’a Lisims Government

New Aiyansh

 

Just Posted

Bella Coola to benefit from massive investment in coastal internet

A combined investment of $45.4 million will bring new and updated high-speed internet on the coast

Nearly $500,000 available for internships with First Nations government

Funds announced through partnership with Northern Development and Government of Canada

O’Reilly trial scheduled to start January 15 for Anahim Lake murders

O’Reilly is charged with first-degree murder

School District 49 to re-open Nusatsum Elementary in September 2018

SD49 says increasing enrollment is driving its decision to re-open the school

B.C. cougar kitten rescued after mother struck by vehicle

Conservation Officers find home for young kitten found dehydrated and frostbitten near Williams Lake

WestJet appeals lost bid to scrap harassment lawsuit

Airline argues judge was wrong to have dismissed the company’s application to strike the legal action

Can U.S. border guards search your phone? Yes, and here’s how

Secretary of homeland security explains a new policy that let’s border guards check phones

‘Beautiful writer’ Nancy Richler dies of cancer in Vancouver hospital

Montreal-born author spent most of her adult life in B.C. as a fiction writer and novelist

B.C. commuters vote to rename bus service to ‘Jeff’

The company asked and the people of Facebook answered

Students frustrated by UBCO response to harassment allegations

Students on the Kelowna campus were unaware of resources and worried about lack of communication

Opinion: Dare to be smarter

Just say no works for more than just substance abuse

‘Sing Me a Song’ about B.C. for a chance at $1,000 contest prize

Entries due by March 30 for lieutenant-governor’s British Columbia-themed competition

Facing reality of death, B.C. man learns real meaning of life

Even while preparing for the end, something inside Keven Drews won’t let him stop living

Most Read