shishalh Nation and BC sign landmark agreement
A landmark reconciliation agreement between the shíshálh Nation and B.C. recognizes and respects Indigenous title and rights, and supports self-determination and shíshálh self-government.The agreement is a commitment to working together to protect the environment, as well as promote economic opportunity and growth for the shíshálh Nation and the entire Sechelt region.
“This is a historic day, that our people have worked towards for generations. We have advanced every path to true reconciliation,” said Chief Warren Paull, shíshálh Nation. “Every step of the way we have sought that a proper foundation be set based on recognition of our governments, laws, and jurisdiction, a true government-to-government relationship, protection of culture and our natural environment, and real investments in economic growth. Today, that has been accomplished through a totally new type of agreement that will be to the enduring benefit of our Nation, and all who live in our Territory, for decades to come.”This is the first major reconciliation agreement between this provincial government and a First Nation. It represents a progressive and collaborative approach to the implementation of shíshálh title and rights, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It also represents a new model that pushes past some of the obstacles that have been sources of delay and conflict in the past.
“The people of the shíshálh Nation have led with vision and courage to make transformative change for their community,” said Premier John Horgan. “Our government is proud to work with shíshálh Nation in a renewed government-to-government relationship, based on rights, reconciliation and respect. It’s part of our commitment to advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and build a better future for everyone in B.C.” A key part of the agreement includes the establishment of a landmark government-to-government working relationship that will create new decision-making structures between the Province and shíshálh government. Other key components include land transfers, economic and socio-cultural investments, establishment of a land-use planning process and joint aspirational long-term commitments.
The agreement includes the transfer of three parcels of Crown land adjacent to existing shíshálh lands to be used for economic development purposes, including gravel extraction as well as for social and cultural purposes.
B.C. is providing approximately $36 million to support land purchases and implementation costs. Funding for implementation and forestry initiatives will be spread over the first five years of the agreement while both parties look ahead to how the agreement might evolve to encompass other types of land and resource decisions.
The agreement formalizes the Shared Decision Making Pilot Agreement for forestry decisions and broadens the scope to include additional forms of land and resource decisions over time.
B.C. has been working with shíshálh to actively engage industry stakeholders and local governments about the agreement.
“The agreement represents the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in action as we move forward on long-term reconciliation, self-determination and economic prosperity for the shíshálh Nation and the entire region. We are proud to stand with the shíshálh and honour their connection to their swiya that will underpin the exciting work we are doing together,” said Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation