This month we celebrate the anniversaries of the Maa-nulth, Tsawwassen, and Tla’amin treaties. We commend the signatories of the treaties for their leadership and ongoing partnership in self-governance, reconciliation, and cooperation for the betterment of all. Modern treaties are constitutionally entrenched, living agreements between First Nations, Canada and British Columbia. Treaties recognize and protect Indigenous title and rights and establish a partnership of sharing sovereignty.
Over the years since the treaties have taken effect, we have witnessed significant achievements in Indigenous governance, countless examples of socio-economic and cultural advancements and revitalization; and resource, tourism, and renewable-energy development. When a First Nation prospers, the entire region prospers. There are seven First Nations implementing modern treaties negotiated through the BC treaty negotiations framework. Five Maa-nulth First Nations, Tla’amin First Nation, and Tla’amin Nation.
The five Maa-nulth First Nations and the governments of Canada and British Columbia celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Maa-nulth Treaty this year. The five First Nations negotiated together and are implementing the treaty as five independent governments: Huu-ay-aht First Nations, Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ First Nations, Toquaht Nation, Uchucklesaht Tribe, and Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ Government. The Maa-nulth Treaty was the result of over 15 years of negotiations between these five First Nations governments, the Government of Canada and the Government of British Columbia. The Maa-nulth Treaty, signed on April 1st 2011, made history as the first multi-First Nation treaty signed in British Columbia.
April 3rd marked the 12th anniversary of the Tsawwassen Treaty, the first modern treaty negotiated through the made-in-BC treaty process. Formal negotiations began in 1993, and Canada, British Columbia and the Tsawwassen First Nation finalized their agreement in 2007. The treaty took effect on April 3rd, 2009, beginning an era of flourishment and Tsawwassen First Nation self-governance. Tsawwassen First Nation exemplifies the potential of socio-economic benefits that modern treaties provide to First Nations and surrounding communities. For an overview of what Tsawwassen has accomplished since implementing their treaty, visit their website.