Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, Economy Sector, Multiculturalism Sector, Vancouver Island / Coast Region

K'ómoks First Nation, Canada and B.C. take key step toward Treaty and sign Agreement-in-Principle

/2012/03/kmoks-first-nation-canada-and-bc-take-key-step.html
Economy, Multiculturalism Saturday, March 24, 2012 3:30 PM


COMOX - Chief Ernie Hardy of the K'ómoks First Nation, the Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development and the Honourable Mary Polak, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, signed an Agreement-in-Principle (AIP) today under the B.C. Treaty Process.

The AIP lays a framework for final negotiations toward a legally binding treaty.

"The signing of the K'ómoks First Nation Agreement-in-Principle demonstrates that the B.C. treaty process is producing results," said Minister Duncan. "The K'ómoks First Nation Agreement-in-Principle is a key step toward a treaty, which will provide the basis for the K'ómoks First Nation to build a new future for its community, bringing change and new economic opportunities to the First Nation, as well as to the regions along the east coast of Vancouver Island."

"K'ómoks First Nation has a strong entrepreneurial spirit and has successful business operations on Vancouver Island. A treaty will bring increased certainty on the land and direct economic benefits to the K'ómoks people and surrounding communities," said Minister Polak. "I congratulate Chief Ernie Hardy and the members of the K'ómoks First Nation as they move toward a final agreement that will provide greater social and economic opportunities for this and future generations."

"This is the first step towards a prosperous future for my people. It is an historic day for the K'ómoks Nation, I am proud to have been a part of this," said Chief Ernie Hardy.

Today's signing of the K'ómoks First Nation Agreement-in-Principle officially signals the start of Final Agreement negotiations, a significant step toward a treaty. A treaty will provide the basis for the K'ómoks and its members to realize their aspirations to participate more fully in the economic, political, cultural and social life of British Columbia. It will help preserve and enhance the collective identity of K'ómoks and allow it to evolve and flourish as a community.

The K'ómoks First Nation is located on the east coast of Vancouver Island. The K'ómoks are descendants of Northern Coast Salish, Pentlatch and Kwak'wak'awa'kw people whose heritage, history and culture, including their language and spiritual practices, are tied to the lands, waters, and resources in this area.

The K'ómoks First Nation Agreement-in-Principle includes provisions for approximately 2,043 hectares of land, and a capital transfer of $17.5 million once a final agreement is reached.

The K'ómoks First Nation Agreement-in-Principle is available at: www.comoxbandtreaty.ca

For more information about the K'ómoks First Nation, and treaties in B.C. and Canada, and photos available for download please visit these websites:

Photos available for download:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/bcgovphotos/7018251955/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/bcgovphotos/7018253785/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/bcgovphotos/7018255273/

A backgrounder follows.

Media Contacts:

K'ómoks First Nation
Melissa Quocksister
Communications Officer
250 339-4545

Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation
Maria Wilkie, Communications
250 953-3211
250 361-7720 (cell)

Minister's Office
Jan O'Driscoll
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable John Duncan
819 997-0002

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
Media Relations
819 953-1160

You can receive all Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada news and media updates automatically. For more information or to sign up for our Media Room RSS Feed, visit: http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1291225661056

BACKGROUNDER

Agreement-in-Principle between K'ómoks First Nation, Canada and British Columbia

An Agreement-in-Principle, the second-to-last stage in the treaty negotiation process, addresses all the subject matter in the earlier Framework Agreement. The K'ómoks First Nation Agreement-in-Principle (AIP), while not legally binding, forms the basis for final agreement negotiations.

A treaty will bring certainty with respect to K'ómoks First Nation's rights to use, own and manage lands and resources throughout its traditional territory. It will provide the K'ómoks First Nation with modern governance tools to build strong and workable relationships with other governments, including federal, provincial and local governments.

The following outlines the elements of an eventual Final Agreement as outlined in the Agreement-in-Principle.

Land

The K'ómoks First Nation Agreement-in-Principle land package consists of approximately 2,043 hectares of treaty settlement lands (including former reserves). Under a treaty, the land will be held in fee simple by the K'ómoks First Nation. Fee-simple ownership would give the K'ómoks First Nation the flexibility to manage their lands and generate long-term economic benefits.

Governance

Under a treaty, the K'ómoks First Nation would operate within the framework of the Constitution of Canada and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms will apply to the K'ómoks First Nation government.

The K'ómoks First Nation would have its own constitution that will provide for the structure of the K'ómoks First Nation government and include a process for K'ómoks members to challenge the validity of K'ómoks laws.

The First Nation's Constitution would also provide for a government that is democratically and financially accountable to the members (those people who are enrolled in, and will benefit from, the treaty).

With the exception of determining Indian status, after a transition period the Indian Act would no longer apply to the K'ómoks First Nation, their lands or members.

In addition to K'ómoks laws, federal and provincial law would also apply on treaty settlement lands, or K'ómoks Lands. The treaty would set out which law prevails if a K'ómoks law conflicts with a federal or provincial law.

Financial Components

The K'ómoks First Nation would receive a capital transfer of $17.5 million with funding for programs and services, such as education, being provided through funding agreements.

Resource Harvesting Rights

The K'ómoks First Nation would have the right to harvest wildlife and migratory birds for food, social and ceremonial purposes within the K'ómoks Harvest Area. They will also have the right to gather plants for these purposes on provincial Crown lands within the K'ómoks Harvest Area. These rights would be subject to conservation measures, public health and public safety regulations.

The K'ómoks First Nation Agreement-in-Principle is available at: www.comoxbandtreaty.ca

Media Contacts:

K'ómoks First Nation
Melissa Quocksister
Communications Officer
250 339-4545

Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation
Maria Wilkie, Communications
250 953-3211
250 361-7720 (cell)

Minister's Office
Jan O'Driscoll
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable John Duncan
819 997-0002

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
Media Relations
819 953-1160

You can receive all Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada news and media updates automatically. For more information or to sign up for our Media Room RSS Feed, visit: http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1291225661056


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