An agreement-in-principle (AiP) signed Thursday completes the next step in their treaty negotiations, the Northern Secwepemc the Qelmucsw (NStQ) said.
“It has been two long years since the AiP was completed, with this being a final step to moving forward into the next stage of treaty negotiations,” NStQ treaty negotiator Robert Moraes said in a press release. “After today’s initialling, the AiP will then move to the Federal and Provincial Cabinets for final approval. Once done, this opens up more in-depth negotiations and funding to help NStQ reach a Final Agreement. The Final Agreement will then be voted on by NStQ membership.”
The four Northern Shuswap First Nations of the NStQ Treaty Group, through the auspices of the Northern Shuswap Tribal Council, have been negotiating a modern-day treaty with the Governments of British Columbia and Canada since 1993.
After the completion of the AiP, a referendum was held in each of the four NStQ communities in February and April of this year, with a narrow membership majority positively voting to move forward into final negotiations (Stage Five) of the six-stage treaty process, which now continues into its 24th year.
The four communities which make up the NStQ are Canim Lake Indian Band (Tsq’escen’ First Nation), Soda Creek Indian Band (Xat’sūll First Nation), Williams Lake Indian Band (T’exelc First Nation), and Canoe Creek/Dog Creek Indian Band (Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation).