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Celebrating the 22nd anniversary of the Nisg̱a’a Treaty

Press Release

From: Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

May 11, 2022 — Gitlax̱t’aamiks, B.C. — Crown–Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, British Columbia Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, Nisg̱a’a Lisims Government

The governments of Canada, British Columbia and the Nisg̱a’a Nation are commemorating the 22nd anniversary of the signing of British Columbia’s first modern Treaty, the Nisg̱a’a Final Agreement. Today, Eva Clayton, President of the Nisg̱a’a Lisims Government; the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Crown–Indigenous Relations; John Horgan, Premier of British Columbia; and Murray Rankin, British Columbia Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, recognized the occasion at the Special Assembly of the Nisg̱a’a Nation.

The anniversary is being commemorated this week at the Special Assembly of the Nisg̱a’a Nation, whose theme is “Through the Generations – With Resilience and Vision – Working Today for a Prosperous Tomorrow.” This is the Nations’ first in-person gathering since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A landmark in the relationship between Canada and Indigenous Peoples, the Nisg̱a’a Agreement came into effect on May 11, 2000, marking the end of a 113-year journey — and the first steps in a new direction. Treaty relationships between partners are a critically important pathway to meaningful reconciliation. They help to support strong, healthy, thriving communities that benefit people today and for generations to come. An outstanding example of modern Treaty relationships, the Nisg̱a’a Final Agreement is studied internationally as a model of hope, trust and government-to-government cooperation.

The Final Agreement put control over land and resources back in the hands of Nisg̱a’a Nation, recognizing Nisg̱a’a Lands (2,000 square kilometres) and provides constitutionally-protected Treaty rights, including Treaty rights to hunt and fish in the Nass Wildlife Area and Nass Area.

Over the past few decades, the Nisg̱a’a have made progress in building their government and institutions, as well as facilitating economic development, including the sustainable development of natural resources and efforts such as the proposed Ksi Lisims LNG Natural Gas Liquefaction and Marine Terminal Project.

Through investments in tourism, the Nisg̱a’a Nation continues to attract Canadian and international audiences to the natural beauty of Nisg̱a’a Lands, creating jobs and economic opportunities not only in Nisg̱a’a communities but also in the broader Nass Valley. These projects have generated employment, business opportunities and revenue.

Quotes

“We are very happy that we can commemorate the 22nd anniversary of the Nisg̱a’a Final Agreement (the “Nisg̱a’a Treaty”) at our biennial Special Assembly of the Nisg̱a’a Nation. There has been much anticipation for us to gather for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic. We appreciate the government-to-government relationship the Nisg̱a’a Nation has with Canada and British Columbia, realized through the Nisg̱a’a Treaty.”

Eva Clayton
President, Nisg̱a’a Lisims Government

“We acknowledge the leadership of the Nisg̱a’a Nation for its many accomplishments over the past 22 years. The Nisg̱a’a Treaty established a government-to-government relationship based on mutual respect and put commitments to reconciliation into action. This day is an occasion to reflect on what is possible when we recognize and respect Indigenous Peoples’ right to self-determination. The Nisg̱a’a Nation has never strayed from its vision to create a better future for its people.”

The Honourable Marc Miller
Minister of Crown–Indigenous Relations

“Twenty-two years ago, after a century-long quest for a treaty, the Nisg̱a’a people embarked upon a new journey of self-governance with the Nisg̱a’a Final Agreement. I honour the past Nisg̱a’a leadership, who worked so hard to finalize this agreement for future generations, and the present Nisg̱a’a leadership, for continuing to build upon and realize the vision of past generations. I look forward to continuing our work together toward an even better future for the Nisg̱a’a people and all British Columbians.”

The Honourable John Horgan
Premier of British Columbia

“Today is about honouring our past, contemplating our present, and planning an even brighter tomorrow for current and future Nisg̱a’a generations. Treaties are dynamic, living and ongoing agreements that evolve over time. They are fundamentally reshaping B.C. for the better, enabling First Nations to support their communities on their own terms. I congratulate Nisg̱a’a leadership on their many successes over the past 22 years and look forward to the work we will accomplish together in the future.”

The Honourable Murray Rankin
British Columbia Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation

Quick facts

  • The Nisg̱a’a Final Agreement is the first modern-day Treaty in British Columbia and is the fourteenth modern Treaty in Canada to be negotiated since 1976.
  • It was also the first Treaty in Canada to provide constitutional certainty in respect to Indigenous Peoples’ Section 35 right to self-government.
  • The Treaty identifies the land and resources that form part of the agreement between Canada, British Columbia and the Nisg̱a’a Nation, as well as management authority.
  • The Treaty provides for an open, democratic and accountable Nisg̱a’a Government. It includes representation for all Nisg̱a’a through the Nisg̱a’a Lisims Government, four Village Governments, and three Urban Locals, which provide a voice for Nisg̱a’a citizens who live outside the Nass Valley.
  • The Nisg̱a’a Nation includes more than 7,600 people residing in the Nisg̱a’a Villages of Gingolx, Laxgalts’ap, Gitwinksihlkw, and Gitlax̱t’aamiks (formerly New Aiyansh) on British Columbia’s Northwest Coast, as well as in Terrace, Prince Rupert/Port Edward, and throughout the Lower Mainland.

Associated links

Contacts

For more information, media may contact:

Justine Leblanc
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Marc Miller
Minister of Crown–Indigenous Relations
Email: [email protected]

Bobby Clark
Director / Communications and Inter-Governmental Relations
Nisg̱a’a Lisims Government
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 250-633-3022

Art Aronson
Media Relations
Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation
Province of British Columbia
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 250-893-2028

CIRNAC Media Relations:
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 819-934-2302

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