The Tsilhqot’in National Government (TNG) and Province of B.C. have signed five new agreements they said will provide clarity and certainty on activities in the Tsilhqot’in Declared Title area.
Tuesday, June 26 will mark the fourth-year anniversary of the Supreme Court of Canada decision that granted declaration of Aboriginal title to the Tsilhqot’in for approximately 1,900 square kilometres of land, giving them the right to decide how the land will be used, the right to economic benefits of the land and the right to proactively use and manage the land.
Areas covered in the new agreements, as outlined in a joint press release issued Friday, June 22 include:
Access and authorization for commercial and residential recreation licences, leases and permits, previously issued to third parties by the provincial government.
Access for licensed angling guides and authorization for angling activities;
Access for registered trappers and authorization for trapping activities;
Management and continued public use, and commercial use under permit, for the provincial protected areas, Ts’ilʔos Park, Nunsti Park and the Cardiff mountain Ecological Reserve; and
Continued operation and use of previously established recreation sites in areas within the Title area.
“These temporary authorizations allow specific activities to occur within our title land that benefit local residents, visitors, and businesses,” said Xeni Gwet’in (Nemiah Valley) Chief Jimmy Lulua. “We have a long way to go still and hope that a rejuvenated focus can be placed on meeting the basic needs of our community, our families, and our children.”
Scott Fraser, B.C.’s Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, said the landmark Tŝilhqot’in Decision raised a range of unique and complex questions the government is working with the Tŝilhqot’in National Government to implement the Supreme Court’s decision.
“These agreements highlight the continued collaboration between our two governments to provide more certainty and clarity around governance of activities on the Tŝilhqot’in territory,” Fraser said.
TNG tribal chairman Chief Joe Alphonse said the nation is looking for ways to provide certainty in the short term while working out long-term solutions.
“Unexpected delays and changes in government have been challenging, but we expect once certainty is established for community members and others that we can fully address the needs of our future.”