Treaty negotiations take time, political will and tenacity amongst the four governments (Wei Wai Kum & Kwiakah, B.C and Canada). However, significant developments have been made in recent years, and Wei Wai Kum and Kwiakah are now in Stage 5 of the BC Treaty process, and will soon finalize an Incremental Treaty Agreement acquiring 2300 hectares of fee simple lands to own and manage north of Lower Campbell Lake.
Stage 5 Agreement: Wei Wai Kum, Kwiakah, Canada and BC
The governments of Canada and British Columbia and the Wei Wai Kum and Kwiakah First Nations signed a Stage 5 Agreement on June 28 2019 to advance reconciliation and treaty negotiations. The agreement advances treaty negotiations to the final stage and guides the development of an approach that recognizes the rights of Wei Wai Kum and Kwiakah First Nations.
Chief Christopher Roberts, Wei Wai Kum
“It has been a long journey to reach the milestone of Stage 5 of the B.C. treaty process, and is the result of hard work by all involved. We appreciate the commitment the governments of Canada and B.C. have made to recognize Wei Wai Kum Nation’s rights as defined under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as we continue on this path to achieving true reconciliation and management over our traditional territory.”
Chief Steven Dick, Kwiakah
“Kwiakah First Nation is pleased to be able to take this important step in the treaty process. In the spirit of reconciliation, we look forward to working with both the federal and provincial governments to achieve a treaty that will respect the rights and title of Kwiakah Citizens.”
Incremental Treaty Agreement (ITA)
An ITA is a legally-binding pre-treaty agreement negotiated, under a B.C. treaty process, between British Columbia and Wei Wai Kum or Kwiakah. ITAs are a treaty incentive to enable nations to achieve economic benefits while negotiating a treaty agreement. It is to create an important, positive milestone of negotiations that assist the nation in building capacity and resources.
Wei Wai Kum is currently seeking to finalize an ITA for a 2300 hectare land transfer in the Campbell Lake region. These lands have historic and cultural value to membership and provide rich timber resources, recreational opportunity and lake access. ITA agreement is anticipated completion in the fall of 2020, with land transfers to come in stages over the next couple of years.
Kwiakah commenced on the ITA process to secure the Estero Peak Woodlots. Today, this prospective land transfer is no longer under the umbrella of an ITA, yet efforts remain to secure this opportunity to bring social and economic opportunities for the Kwiakah membership.
Treaty Settlement Lands
Treaty Settlement Lands, or TSL are lands that will be returned to our Nations after the effective date of treaty. TSL is important to our Nations because over these lands, we will have full jurisdiction and law-making authorities. TSL will include those lands we negotiate through treaty, but also any Incremental Treaty Agreement (ITA) lands we acquire as a pre-treaty benefit and our current reserve lands.
Final Agreement – in Development
This is Stage 6 of the Treaty Process and the objective of the Treaty Society. Nations that have concluded a Final Treaty Agreement in BC include Twawwassen, Maa-nulth, and Tla’amin. The Treaty Team, Provincial and Federal Negotiators take into account the lessons learned and opportunities realized in these modern treaties. Leadership and Legal Counsel continue to assert the Treaty Society’s position based on the interests and aspirations of the Wei Wai Kum and Kwiakah First Nations.