The BC treaty negotiations process is voluntary and open to all First Nations in British Columbia. Currently, there are two pathways supported by the Treaty Commission for First Nations to pursue their rights and title: modern treaty and tripartite reconciliation.
There are 65 self-determining First Nations, representing 110 Indian Act bands in BC, that have entered and participated in, or have completed modern treaties or tripartite agreements through the treaty negotiations process. The treaty negotiations process includes modern treaty negotiations and tripartite reconciliation negotiations.
Currently, there are 37 self-determining First Nations, representing 65 current or former Indian Act bands that are in active or have concluded negotiations. For statistical counting, the Treaty Commission counts the number of Indian Act bands within First Nations to provide a reference point.
A “First Nation” in the BC treaty negotiations process is a self-defined governing body with traditional territory in BC, established and mandated by its people to enter into treaty negotiations with Canada and British Columbia. The British Columbia Treaty Commission Agreement and legislation affirm this principle of self-definition and nationhood. This is consistent with Article 3 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, affirming Indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination.
For the most recent information on negotiations, please see the latest annual report.
Seven First Nations are currently implementing modern treaties that have been successfully negotiated through the made-in-BC treaty negotiation process.
The five Maa-nulth First Nations, Tla’amin Nation and Tsawwassen First Nation established the Alliance of BC Modern Treaty Nations (the Alliance) in July 2018 through the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation. In November 2019, Nisga’a Nation joined the Alliance, which now represents all eight modern treaty First Nations in BC. The Alliance collaboratively works to advance and advocate for areas of shared interest relating to the implementation of modern treaties in British Columbia at the provincial level.
Through innovations in the negotiations process, some tables have been engaging in tripartite reconciliation discussions and negotiations to pursue their rights and title. Tripartite Reconciliation involves the governments of Canada, British Columbia, and participating First Nation(s) in BC.
Like modern treaties, these tripartite negotiations are grounded in the recognition of Indigenous sovereignty, self-determination, and self-government. These are in line with the Recognition and Reconciliation of Rights Policy for Treaty Negotiations in British Columbia, committing to renewed tripartite engagement and reconciliation discussions in line with the new policy’s guiding principles.
Modern treaties are constitutionally-protected agreements negotiated amongst the governments of Canada, British Columbia and First Nations in BC.
Treaties are grounded in the recognition of the Indigenous title and rights, reconciling pre-existing Indigenous sovereignty with assumed Crown sovereignty. Modern treaties do not extinguish the rights, including title, in form or result; and are able to evolve over time based on the co-existence of Crown and Indigenous governments and the ongoing process of reconciliation.