May 11 marks the 20th anniversary of the Nisga’a Treaty

May 11 marks the 20th anniversary of the Nisga’a Treaty

The Nisg̱a’a Final Agreement, British Columbia’s first modern treaty, came into effect 20 years ago today. The governments of Canada, British Columbia and the Nisg̱a’a Nation commemorate this major milestone on the path of reconciliation.

May, 11, 2020 — New Aiyansh, BC —
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada
BC Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation
Nisga’a Lisims Government

The Nisg̱a’a Final Agreement, British Columbia’s first modern treaty, came into effect 20 years ago today. The governments of Canada, British Columbia and the Nisg̱a’a Nation commemorate this major milestone on the path of reconciliation.

For the Nisg̱a’a people, May 11, 2000, marked the end of a 113-year journey and the first steps toward a brighter future. The Nisg̱a’a Final Agreement is the first treaty in British Columbia to provide constitutional certainty in respect of an Indigenous people’s Section 35 right to self-government. The Treaty recognizes Nisga’a Lands (2,000 square kilometres), secures Nisg̱a’a hunting and fishing rights in the Nass Wildlife Area and Nass Area respectively, and has opened the door for joint economic initiatives in the responsible, sustainable development of the Nisg̱a’a Nation’s natural resources —benefitting the Nisg̱a’a, as well as their fellow British Columbians and Canadians. An example of hope, trust, and cooperation, the Nisg̱a’a Final Agreement is being studied by governments and Indigenous peoples the world over.

Today, the Nisg̱a’a Nation includes more than 7,600 people residing primarily in the Nisga’a Villages of Gingolx, Laxgalts’ap, Gitwinksihlkw, and Gitlaxt’aamiks (formerly New Aiyansh) on British Columbia’s northwest coast, as well as in Terrace, Prince Rupert/Port Edward and throughout the Lower Mainland.

With the land question settled and their rights secure, the Nisg̱a’a have been busy building their government and institutions, as well as facilitating development, including BC Hydro’s 335-kilometre, 287-kilovolt Northwest Transmission Line; the Long Lake Hydroelectric Project, a 31 mega-watt power generation facility; and the Brucejack Mine, an underground gold and silver mine operated by Pretium Resources Inc. Each of these projects has generated employment, business opportunities and revenue.

While the 20th anniversary gathering has been postponed due to the COVID-19 crisis, the governments of Canada, British Columbia, and the Nisg̱a’a Nation — partners in the Treaty — seek to remind the world of what can be achieved together.

Quotes

“The 20th anniversary of the implementation of the Nisga’a Treaty is a major milestone in our shared history. Although a great deal has changed in the world around us, the Nisga’a vision for creating a better future for their people has not. The Treaty is a living and breathing example of reconciliation in action and what we can accomplish when we work together and recognize and respect Indigenous people’s right to self-determination.”

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P.
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

“Twenty years is a significant milestone. An entire generation of Nisg̱a’a young people have grown up as members of a self-governing treaty nation. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic means we can’t be together to recognize this special day for the Nisga’a community and the Province, but in honour of Nisg̱a’a Day and the government-to-government relationship we’ve built together over two decades, the Nisga’a flag is flying in the Hall of Honour at the B.C. Parliament Buildings. I thank the Nisg̱a’a Lisims Government for its leadership and congratulate all Nisga’a people on this anniversary.”

The Honourable John Horgan
Premier of British Columbia

“Two decades ago, the Nisg̱a’a people charted a new path on their journey of self-governance. At the same time, B.C. and Nisg̱a’a reset our relationship to focus on reconciliation, supporting an even-better life for Nisga’a communities and people. I congratulate the Nisg̱a’a leadership on the social, cultural and economic successes of the past 20 years, and look forward to the good work we will do together in the future.”

The Honourable Scott Fraser
British Columbia Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation

“On this special milestone day, may we remember the generations of Nisg̱a’a men and women who worked tirelessly over 113 years for the just and honourable settlement we achieved on May 11, 2000. May we continue to work steadfastly for the prosperity and improved quality of life of Nisg̱a’a for generations yet to come.”

Eva Clayton
President, Nisga’a Lisims Government

Associated links

Contacts

For more information, media may contact:

Gillian Hanson
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett,
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations
819-997-0002

Media Relations
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada
819-934-2302
RCAANC.media.CIRNAC@canada.ca

Bobby Clark, Director / Communications and Inter-Governmental Relations
Nisga’a Lisims Government
250-633-3022
bobbyc@nisgaa.net

Jen Holmwood
Press Secretary
Deputy Communications Director
Office of the Premier
Jen.Holmwood@gov.bc.ca
250-818-4881

Tania Venn
Communications Manager
Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation
250-208-6183

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