VICTORIA - The Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconcillation, Ida Chong (FCGA), released the following statement to acknowledge the 20th anniversary of the BC Treaty Commission (BCTC):
"As we continue to work together to strengthen communities and build economic opportunities, our government remains committed to the treaty process as the most comprehensive path toward certainty and reconciliation with First Nations.
"While progress has been slower than expected, the BCTC is producing successes. In addition to the Nisga'a treaty, which was concluded outside of the BCTC process, final agreements have been achieved with Tsawwassen and five Maa-nulth First Nations, and final agreements with Yale and Sliammon First Nations are currently in the ratification process.
"Progress is also being made toward Agreements-in-Principles. AIPs are significant milestones on the way toward a final treaty and provide a framework that eventually will be developed into a Final Agreement. Signing an AIP indicates the substantive elements of a final agreement have been agreed to by all three parties. In total, seven Agreements-in-Principle have been signed, not including those signed with Tsawwassen First Nation and the five Maa-nulth First Nations.
"Concluding treaties is complex and takes time. Our government's focus on providing immediate economic benefits to First Nations early in the treaty process is creating new momentum and opportunities in communities across the province.
"As well, British Columbia continues to make progress signing bilateral Incremental Treaty Agreements. These agreements provide shared benefits in advance of a final agreement and help build capacity for First Nations. B.C. has ITAs with three First Nations - the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, Klahoose First Nation and Nazko First Nation.
"The B.C. treaty process was launched to resolve outstanding issues, including claims to un-extinguished Aboriginal title and rights, with First Nations in B.C. Concluding treaties with First Nations achieves certainty over land and resources and enhances economic opportunities for First Nations and all British Columbians."
Director of Communications
Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation