Government of British Columbia

Government of British Columbia

May 20, 2010 15:15 ET

Government of British Columbia: B.C. And Treaty 8 First Nations Sign Five Agreements

VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - May 20, 2010) -

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release

2010ARR0007-000595

May 20, 2010

Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation

B.C. AND TREATY 8 FIRST NATIONS SIGN FIVE AGREEMENTS

VICTORIA - The Province and three Treaty 8 First Nations - Doig River First Nation, West Moberly First Nations, and Prophet River First Nation - signed a final agreement and four resource management agreements today, announced George Abbott, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation. This final agreement links eight resource management agreements to the Amended Economic Benefits Agreement signed in December 2009.

The agreements benefit the region by establishing a process for consultation and collaborative management of lands and resources between Treaty 8 First Nations and the Province. These agreements build on the five agreements concluded in 2009 and will contribute to stability and certainty on the land base and will help stimulate investment in northeastern B.C.

Today's signing of five agreements triggers a final equity payment of $3.5 million for reaching the milestone of concluding four more consultation agreements and a final agreement. The First Nations will receive a total of $17.3 million in one-time equity payments (including the $3.5 million) to enable them to participate in the local economy. The First Nations will also receive annual revenue-sharing payments for 15 years that will float between $2.6 million and $10.2 million per year, depending on provincial revenues and activity in the region.

Also in attendance to sign the agreements were Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Blair Lekstrom, Minister of Forests and Range and Minister Responsible for Integrated Land Management Bureau Pat Bell, Minister of Agriculture and Lands Steve Thomson and Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts Kevin Krueger.

"This final agreement and suite of resource management agreements signify the resolution of longstanding issues and the beginning of a new and ongoing relationship founded on the basis of mutual respect and understanding," said Abbott. "These agreements will provide certainty around economic opportunities, resource development, land stewardship and heritage conservation in the traditional territory of these Treaty 8 First Nations."

The five agreements signed today are:

- Final Agreement.

- Crown Land Management Agreement.

- Heritage Conservation Memorandum of Understanding.

- Long-term Oil and Gas Agreement.

- Forests and Range Resource Management Agreement.

The five additional agreements, signed in December 2009, are:

- Parks Collaborative Management Agreement.

- Wildlife Collaborative Management Agreement.

- Strategic Land and Resources Planning Agreement.

- Government to Government Protocol Agreement.

- Amended Economic Benefits Agreement.

"Each of the Treaty 8 First Nations has rich and enduring traditions that date back thousands of years," said Doig River First Nation Chief Norman Davis. "The Heritage Conservation MOU highlights the importance of protecting our heritage and culture for future generations and gives us the opportunity to provide valuable recommendations that the government must address when deciding on the permits for resource development."

"It is important that our people share in the economic wealth of our traditional territory," said Prophet River First Nation Chief Lynette Tsakoza. "The Long-Term Oil and Gas Agreement will ensure we continue to play a key role in the stewardship of the land, while giving us increased confidence and certainty about our economic future."

"This Forestry Agreement will allow Treaty 8 First Nations and B.C. to enhance and promote sound forest management, as well as support job-sharing and other training and employment initiatives that are crucial for the well-being of our members," said West Moberly First Nations Chief Roland Willson. "We are increasing opportunities for participation in the forestry sector while ensuring that we can continue to exercise our Treaty 8 First Nations' rights."

"Being involved and informed at the early stages of potential development within our traditional territory will play a critical role for both Treaty 8 and B.C. in providing good decision-making regarding the Crown land application process outlined in the Crown Land Management Agreement," said Tribal Chief Liz Logan. "The signing of the final agreement wraps-up the eight side agreements we've been negotiating for the past six years and we see this as a historic milestone for Treaty 8 First Nations. This entire process provides us with a clear roadmap that will help us create the balance we are looking for and provide certainty around culture, land stewardship, resource development and economic benefits while preserving our Treaty 8 rights."

Through the New Relationship, government and First Nations are achieving agreements that are resulting in positive change in communities around the Province. For copies of the agreements, visit: http://www.gov.bc.ca/arr.

A backgrounder follows

For more information on government services or to subscribe to the Province's news feeds using RSS, visit the Province's website at www.gov.bc.ca.

BACKGROUNDER

For Immediate Release

2010ARR0007-000595

May 20, 2010

Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation

B.C. AND TREATY 8 FIRST NATIONS SIGN FIVE AGREEMENTS

B.C. and three Treaty 8 First Nations - Doig River First Nation, West Moberly First Nations and Prophet River First Nation - have reached a final agreement and suite of resource management agreements with the Province that will provide certainty around economic opportunities, resource development, land stewardship and heritage conservation in the traditional territory of three Treaty 8 First Nations.

The B.C. First Nations signatories of Treaty 8 are:

Doig River - pop. 249 - Chief Norman Davis

Prophet River - pop.223 - Chief Lynette Tsakoza

West Moberly - pop. 211 - Chief Roland Willson

The three Treaty 8 First Nations are in northeastern B.C. The approximate population of British Columbia Treaty 8 First Nations is between 2,500 and 3,000.

Final Agreement

The final agreement links all the completed agreements and resolves all outstanding issues to the satisfaction of the Province and the three First Nations. The purpose of the final agreement is to affirm a new and ongoing relationship founded on the basis of mutual respect and understanding. This final agreement is not a treaty nor a land claims agreement.

Heritage Conservation Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

The Heritage Conservation MOU highlights the importance of heritage protection and conservation during development projects and resource extraction.

It establishes processes to effectively share information between the Province and Treaty 8 First Nations and enables the participation of Treaty 8 First Nations in heritage conservation. It provides for public education, including such things as meetings, workshops and printed materials, to educate the public and government agencies in order to increase knowledge around heritage conservation in the area and cultural sensitivity around First Nations' heritage issues.

Long-term Oil and Gas Agreement

The Long-term Oil and Gas Agreement facilitates relationship building between the Province and Treaty 8 First Nations around oil and gas matters by improving reporting processes for Treaty 8 First Nations complaints, incidents and compliance matters, in a way that provides opportunities for Treaty 8 First Nations to have input into major policy and regulatory development, and by identifying opportunities for the Treaty 8 First Nations to become more involved in various aspects of reclamation.

Further, it sets out a consultation process that meets the obligations of B.C. to consult the Treaty 8 First Nations on oil and gas tenures issued by B.C. with respect to proposed parcels that get referred to the Treaty 8 First Nations as part of the consultation process.

Crown Land Management Agreement

This Agreement describes the framework and process by which the Crown will:

- Consult with the Treaty 8 First Nations with respect to Crown Land Applications.

- Accommodate, where appropriate, Treaty 8 First Nations' rights recognized and affirmed by Section 35(1) of the Constitution Act, 1982.

Forests and Range Resource Management Agreement

The Forests and Range Resource Management Agreement addresses administrative and operational decisions in reconciling the rights and interests between British Columbia and Treaty 8 First Nations.

It provides the basis to increase Treaty 8 First Nations' opportunities for participation in the forest sector and promotes the management of forests and range in a manner that:

- Promotes biodiversity and the sustainable use of British Columbia's forest resources.

- Allows for the continued exercise of the Treaty 8 First Nations' rights.

It establishes a clear process to facilitate collaboration between the Province and the Treaty 8 First Nations that allows them to move forward in a timely manner toward stability and compatible outcomes rather than litigation.

The agreement provides for effective, meaningful and collaborative forest and range management and planning and sets out a process for consultation re the potential impacts of administrative and operational decisions about Treaty 8 First Nations' rights.

It provides for the improvement of communications and information between the Ministry of Forests and Range, provincial agencies and Treaty 8 First Nations, and furthers Treaty 8 First Nations' objectives of working toward shared decision-making with respect to forest and range management and planning.

The ongoing annual payments provided under the AEBA are a form of revenue-sharing that provides these three First Nations with a share of the benefits from development in the northeast region.

Other Agreements

For information on the resource management agreements signed with Treaty 8 First Nations, please visit http://www.gov.bc.ca/arr/treaty/key/default.html.

Contact Information

  • Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation
    Karen Williams
    Communications
    250 387-1460 (office) or 250 360-6222 (cell)
    www.gov.bc.ca