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For Immediate Release
June 10, 2014
Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation
Tsilhqot’in agreement renewal builds on resource management success
WILLIAMS LAKE – A renewed agreement between the Tsilhqot’in Nation and the provincial government will enhance government-to-government engagement on land and resource management and provide greater investor certainty in the Cariboo.
B.C continues to fulfill its obligations to consult on potential impacts to Aboriginal rights and title and recognizes the importance of working with the Tsilhqot’in Nation in a respectful manner.
The three-year Tsilhqot’in Stewardship Agreement (TSA) builds on the success of the original Tsilhqot’in Framework Agreement (TFA) which formalized a single window for referrals on natural resources applications within the traditional territories of Tsilhqot’in Nation members. The process has refocused the consultation workload to those decisions that have a higher influence on the landbase and fostered a more collaborative form of decision making.
B.C. is providing $670,000 per year to help the Tsilhqot’in Nation continue the positive work of the original agreement, including agreement implementation, negotiation capacity and the support for an improved wildlife committee that will allow increased community involvement in addressing the moose decline in the agreement area. Additionally, the TSA will support the implementation of a forestry strategy that will address concerns related to cumulative impacts associated with mountain pine beetle salvage and sustainable resource development.
The TSA is part of a wider group of agreements between the provincial government and First Nations called strategic engagement agreements (SEA). SEAs with First Nations are intended to encourage a positive and respectful government-to-government relationship; strengthen B.C.’s investment climate and establish mutually agreed-upon procedures for consultation.
The five First Nations that are signatories to the agreement are the Alexis Creek Indian Band, Tl’etinqox-t’in Government Office, Xeni Gwet’in First Nations Government, ?Esdilagh First Nations and the Toosey Indian Band.
The provincial government has reached 31 non-treaty agreements with First Nations since the BC Jobs Plan was launched in 2011, and surpassed their BC Jobs Plans commitment of 10 new non-treaty agreements by 2015 with a total of 13. These agreements support economic opportunities for both First Nations and neighbouring communities, acting as a step towards shared-decision making with First Nations.
John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation –
“Creating a more effective and efficient consultation process for resource management is an essential part of making B.C. an attractive destination for investors. The work achieved through the Tsilhqot’in Framework Agreement demonstrates the potential for positive partnerships between government, industry and First Nation.”
Nitsil’in (Chief) Joe Alphonse, Tribal Chairman –
“This is a continuation of the agreement that we have had over the last five years to facilitate resource extraction within the Tsilhqot’in territories and only to handle a referral process on that interest. Although it is not perfect, over the last year both parties have negotiated enhancements to it. It is not an end-all, be-all agreement but it is something we can work with right now.
We are happy to continue to work with the Province. We need to maintain this respectful dialogue. The continuation of this agreement prevents potential conflicts and allows steady work to continue. We do not want to be in situations where we are in conflict, and this is a tool. It is very important to the government, ourselves and any company that wants to operate within our territory.”
Nitsil’in (Chief) Roger William, Vice Chairman –
“This three-year extension is part of getting our people involved in land management. This TSA, meaning beaver in our language, is a very important step towards managing and increasing opportunities in our traditional territory, Aboriginal rights and title, and lands and resources. This is still a young agreement with a lot of work to be done, but I believe it is a process that benefits the Tsilhqot’in, as well as Cariboo-Chilcotin.”
B.C. currently has SEAs with eight groups of First Nations, including the Tsilhqot’in Nation, Tahltan Nation, Kaska Dena, Taku River Tlingit First Nation, Nanwakolas Council Society, Ktunaxa Nation, Stó:lō First Nations and members of the Secwepemc Nation.
Entering into SEAs with First Nations is one of many tools being used by government to support consultation. [For those First Nations who chose to also enter the treaty process, SEAs can help to build the mechanisms to support decision making in a post-treaty environment.]
SEAs provide an opportunity to take a more active role in the decision-making process and develop a stronger government-to-government relationship with the B.C. government.
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation
250 213-6451 (cell)
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