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Policy changes aimed at reviving B.C. treaty process, gaining support for natural-resource projects: Aboriginal Affairs

Aboriginal Affairs minister Bernard Valcourt.

Aboriginal Affairs minister Bernard Valcourt.

Lawyer Douglas Eyford named Valcourt’s “special representative”

OTTAWA — The Harper government announced Monday sweeping policy changes aimed at reviving the B.C. treaty process and convincing more First Nations they should support major natural-resource initiatives in B.C.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt’s new approach is in response to numerous criticisms over several years that the government has been inflexible in its approach to treaties, and that it has failed to adequately consult First Nations on controversial oilsands pipeline proposals.

Valcourt appointed Vancouver lawyer Douglas Eyford, the author of a critical government-commissioned report published last December, to lead a process to “renew and reform” a comprehensive treaty process that has produced just four deals in more than two decades of talks.

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B.C.’s Nisga’a becomes only First Nation to privatize land

The northwestern B.C. First Nation has approved the privatization of 3 homes

CBC News, Nov 04, 2013SUN0701-Granville5.jpg

The Nisga’a Nation in northwestern British Columbia has become the only First Nation in Canada to let its people own tribal land privately.

The First Nation’s land registrar says it has now signed off on the first three transfers of property to individuals in the Greenville area of the remote First Nation’s land. Read the rest of this entry

Ktunaxa treaty including Wensley Bench land contentious for some

By Claire Paradis, Arrow Lakes News, April 23, 2013 Native Resist Exist graphic

Across Highway 6 from Box Lake there is a stretch of forest familiar with mountain bikers and hikers who walk the old railway bed. A 242-hectare section twice as long as Box Lake running parallel to the highway is now Ktunaxa land, as of March 27, when the area was signed over to the First Nation by the provincial and federal governments.

Not everyone is pleased with the deal. Marilyn James, representative from the Sinixt Nation, who said the Sinixt have had a land claim filed since 2008. Read the rest of this entry

Five first nations reach pre-treaty land deal with B.C. government

Dirk Meissner, The Globe and Mail/The Canadian Press, Tuesday, Feb. 26 2013No Justice Stolen Land button

A parking lot near the British Columbia legislature in Victoria and the current site of a government liquor store in nearby Esquimalt are two of several Vancouver Island properties slated to be transferred to five first nations in advance of treaty settlements.

The land agreements are all on southern Vancouver Island, as are the five first nations involved. Read the rest of this entry

Sliammon Approve Treaty Settlement Amid Controversy

By David P. Ball, Indian Country Today, July 21, 2012

Sliammon First Nation members in British Columbia have voted, with 57.5 percent in favor, to accept a treaty settlement awarding it 20,510 acres of land and $30 million over a decade.

The July 10 vote was fraught with controversy, however, as some band members boycotted the vote as illegitimate. With only 318 of the nation’s 615 members voting yes, the treaty was effectively ratified by a 10-vote margin, leading critics to promise a legal challenge. Read the rest of this entry

Second attempt at historic Sliammon treaty vote gets underway near Powell River

 By Zoe McKnight, Vancouver Sun/Canadian Press July 10, 2012

Voting is finally underway for the Sliammon First Nation after a court ruling ensured polling stations would remain open.

The first attempt came on June 16, but protesters formed a blockade to prevent voters on the Sunshine Coast near Powell River from deciding a historic treaty with federal and provincial governments. Read the rest of this entry

B.C. chief seeks to remove blockade at treaty office

CBC News/The Canadian Press, June 18, 2012

Tla’amin First Nation Chief Clint Williams says a court injunction application is in the works to remove a protest blockade at a treaty office near Powell River, B.C.

Aboriginal protesters from the First Nation also known as Sliammon who are upset with a proposed treaty used vehicles on the weekend to prevent fellow band members from voting on a land-claims treaty with the provincial and federal governments. Read the rest of this entry

Sliammon anti-treaty protestors shut down vote

Tla’amin band members barricade Salish Centre

Members of the Sliammon blockade treaty vote, June 16, 2012.

by Laura Walz, Powell River Peak, Saturday, June 16, 2012

About a dozen Tla’amin (Sliammon) First Nation members have blocked the Salish Centre, where a treaty vote was set to take place today.
The protestors have placed vehicles in front of the doors, preventing anyone from going into the building. Read the rest of this entry

Gitxsan blockade ends peacefully with audit promise

WENDY STUECK, Globe and Mail, Monday, June 11, 2012

Gitxsan began their blockade of the treaty society office in December, 2011.

A long-running blockade has ended in northern B.C. after federal officials agreed to review the finances of the Gitxsan Treaty Society, whose employees had been prevented from coming to work since protesters nailed the society’s office doors and windows shut in December. Read the rest of this entry

BC Treaty Advocate Elected Chair of UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

Grand Chief Edward John has spent the past 20 years in the BC treaty process, which produces extinguishment Agreements

Ed John, head of the First Nations Summit and now chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

by Kerry Coast, Vancouver Media Coop, June 10, 2012

The 11th Session of the top forum for Indigenous peoples in the world began with a lurch. The sixteen-member Forum elected, by acclamation, Grand Chief Edward John to be their Chair. The announcement was made during a preliminary meeting, May 6, 2012, before the two week meeting in New York City. Hailing from Tl’azt’en (northern BC), this Chief will be familiar to anyone who has followed the machinations of the BC treaty process over the last twenty years: John was the founding Chair of the First Nations Summit, an organization formed to “represent First Nations” involved with the BC Treaty Commission (BCTC). Read the rest of this entry