Sept. 9: The Summit and other aboriginal
groups sign an agreement with the provincial government to allow
more aboriginal children to grow up and flourish in their own culture.
Children of aboriginal ancestry make up only eight per cent of B.C.'s
child population but comprise 40 per cent of about 10,000 children
in the government's care. "We are here today because we've put the
children first," explained Grand Chief Ed John.
August 28: The B.C. Court of Appeal upheld
a lower court decision restoring about four hectares (10 acres)
of Kitsilano land to the Squamish Indian Band, 116 years after it
was expropriated for use by the Canadian Pacific Railway. The land,
appraised at about $20 million, and part of the ancestral home of
the Squamish people, is under the shadow of the Burrard Street Bridge
and adjacent to the Molson Brewery. Squamish Nation Chief Gibby
Jacob said Wednesday the unanimous decision by five justices of
the B.C. Court of Appeal is "marvellous."
Aug. 19: The B.C. Court of Appeal reaffirms
a ruling that says Weyerhaeuser must consult with the Haida Nation
about how it harvests trees on the Queen Charlotte Islands. The
2-1 ruling deals with issues raised by another decision on the same
case in February, 2002 when the court ruled there was a duty on
both government and third parties to "consult and accommodate aboriginal
interests in the land even before aboriginal title is proven. "The
issue is an important one,'' wrote Justice John Lambert in the court's
then unanimous opinion. "If the Crown can ignore or override aboriginal
title or rights until such time title or rights are confirmed by
treaty or a court, . . . the Crown can force every claimant into
court before conceding any effective recognition be given to the
claimed aboriginal rights.''
June: Aboriginal leaders come together
to sign the Tsawwassen Accord, calling for the development of aboriginal
authorities to lead the way in reducing the number of aboriginal
children in care.
Apr. 4: Launching an anti-referendum ad
campaign in newspapers across BC, the First Nations Summit urges
all British Columbians to join in a province-wide boycott of the
vote. Many eminent people Thomas Berger and pollster Angus
Reid among others write opinion pieces explaining why they
refuse to vote in the referendum. John Dixon of the BC Civil Liberties
Association writes, "the referendum is an exercise in political
cynicism and deserves to be shunned."
Apr. 1: BC Liberals mail out ballots to
all eligible British Columbians for the referendum on treaty negotiations.
This, despite repeated warnings from the First Nations Summit that
the costly exercise would further delay treaty making and subject
First Nations to the "whim of the majority."
March 8: The Tsawwassen First Nation launches
a lawsuit to shut down the Roberts Bank Superport and the BC Ferries
terminal, seeking an injunction to curtail the port and ferry operations
and get the causeways fixed or removed. Tsawwassen says negotiations
about the impact of the causeways on reserve lands and foreshore
areas with BC Ferries and the Vancouver Port Authority have gone
March 6: Haida Nation initiates a lawsuit
against the provincial and federal governments, saying it not only
has aboriginal title to all the lands contained within Haida Gwaii
(Queen Charlottes), but also to the resources in and under the sea,
including oil and gas reserves believed to be under Hecate Strait.
The writ seeks a declaration that the Haida are the aboriginal owners
of the entire remote archipelago off the north coast of BC and that
all of the activities within those lands that are incompatible with
the Haida should cease. The Haida also want an accounting of all
profits, taxes, stumpage dues, royalties and other benefits the
provincial and federal governments have collected over the years.
March 2: BC Liberals appoint Jack Weisgerber,
a former native affairs minister and leader of the BC Reform party
as its representative on the BC Treaty Commission. Weisgerber was
appointed BC's first minister of native affairs in 1988 in the Social
Credit government of Bill Vander Zalm. In that role, he helped get
the modern treaty negotiation process started. As leader of the
BC Reform party in the 1990s, Weisgerber was sharply critical of
the Nisga'a treaty. In a 1995 speech to the First Nations Summit,
Weisgerber said the negotiations should involve primarily money,
not land. He also said aboriginal people should emerge with the
same rights, responsibilities, government services and taxation
levels as all other British Columbians.
November: Sliammmon members voted to reject agreement-in-principle.
March: Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council initialled an agreement
in principle. One month later, six of twelve member nations rejected
February: Draft Snuneymuxw (Nanaimo) agreement in principle
released. But local governments, in particular the City of Nanaimo
and the Gabriola residents, strongly opposed private property issue.
February: Sliammon Indian Band initialled an agreement in
Sept. 14: New legislative building, Wilpsi'ayuukhl
Nisga'a, opens as formal seat of Nisga'a self-government.
Apr. 13: The Nisga'a treaty is formally
ratified and given Royal Assent by the Canadian Senate. The first
treaty in modern BC history was finalized after contentious debates
in the House of Commons and earlier in the BC Legislature. The treaty,
23 years in the making, was negotiated outside the BC Treaty Commission
March: Task Group Members Edward John and
Joe Mathias challenge comments made by Lieutenant-Governor Garde
Gardom at the swearing-in ceremony of the new Provincial Cabinet.
The Lt.-Gov made reference to the discovery by English explorers
to an empty land of BC.
The sudden passing of Chief Joe Mathias was mourned
by aboriginal people throughout BC and Canada. Chief Mathias was
a guiding light whose dedication to the pursuit of social justice
and economic well-being of First Nations people inspired the lives
of many. The powerful spirit and legacy of Joe will live on in the
hopes and dreams of all of us.
February: A historic joint statement on
Aboriginal title is made by the First Nations Summit, the Assembly
of First Nations, and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. Although the
groups have historically divided over participation in the treaty
process, they unite to categorically reject Canada's Comprehensive
Claims Policy as it is predicated on the denial of aboriginal rights
January: First Nations express concern
over lack of input into new protected areas legislation to be introduced
in the spring 2000 legislative session. Chiefs call on the Province
to develop a joint process to ensure aboriginal rights including
harvesting rights, self-government and the designation of interim
protected areas are honoured in First Nations traditional territories.
December 13: after a fierce debate, Nisga'a
Treaty Legislation passes a second reading in the House of Commons
by a vote of 217-48. It was then referred to the Senate.
As the frustration level with the current BC treaty
process has reached a critical stage, the First Nations Summit Chiefs
in Assembly support the establishment of an in-house War Council
(independent of the Task Group) to facilitate open discussion and
strategy development to advance alternative resolution process'
November: The Federal Standing Committee
on Aboriginal Affairs holds Nisga'a hearings in Vancouver. Task
Group Members are critical of the decision to deny the Summit an
opportunity to make a public presentation to the Committee on behalf
of First Nations in the treaty process. Summit supports Bill C-9
which will give effect to the Nisga'a Final Agreement, but maintains
that it should not be used as a template for future treaties.
In the first meeting of its kind since 1865, Task
Group Members and BC aboriginal leaders meet with Canada's Governor
General, Adrienne Clarkson. Aboriginal leaders believe she is in
a unique position to help lead the national process of reconciliation
between government and aboriginal people in Canada.
Task Group Members meet with Canadian Human Rights
Chief Commissioner Michelle Falardeau-Ramsey to discuss the current
review of Canadian Human Rights Act and the lack of progress being
made in the BC treaty process.
October 21: Bill C-9, an act to enable
the Nisga'a Final Agreement is introduced in the House of Commons
October: British Columbia and Canada table
land and cash offers with In-SHUCK-ch N'Quat'qua as well as Ditidaht/Pacheedaht.
Both treaty tables condemn the governments for publicizing the offers
prior to being tabled with the respective First Nations.
September: Westbank First Nation initiates
direct action by harvesting trees in their traditional territory.
The actions of the Westbank are an expression of the frustration
caused by the governments lack of will to negotiate interim measures
agreements. Summit leaders pass a resolution to fully support the
Westbank and all First Nations, in the exercise of their aboriginal
and title rights in BC.
September 29: the Government of BC announces
the concept of Treaty Related Measures are being finalized in concert
with the federal government.
Governments tout the proposed concept as a means
of revitalizing the BC treaty negotiations process. First Nations
await an explanation of how the concept is to work.
June: Summit Chiefs pass resolution to
support the efforts of the Assembly of First Nations' Delgamuukw
Implementation Process. Its sole purpose is to directly address,
with the Government of Canada, the reform of the Federal Comprehensive
The BC Treaty Commission releases its Annual Report
and makes significant observations in the areas of the need for
increases to treaty negotiation support funding stating:
more funding, more First Nation treaty offices and research
efforts will falter. Even those First Nations nearing completion
of agreements in principle, or otherwise making negotiation
progress, will find it difficult to sustain the pace of negotiations.
The BCTC also acknowledged First Nations concerns
with the accelerated pace of development within traditional territories
and recognized the need for improved interim measures.
Task Group Member Grand Chief Edward John, AFN
National Chief Phil Fontaine and other delegates meet with United
Nations Secretary Kofi Annan in New York City. This is a first ever
meeting between a UN Secretary-General and aboriginal leaders from
Canada. First Nations call on the human rights organization to use
its influence to take a firm stand on indigenous peoples' right
to self-government and self-determination.
May: Summit leaders applaud forestry company
MacMillan Bloedel for their announcement that they are: prepared
to give up some of its forest tenure in BC for treaty settlements.
First Nations are encouraged that the corporate community has stepped
forward in support of treaties and alluded to a recognition that
the transfer of Crown lands to First Nations can produce public
April 22: the British Columbia Legislature
ratifies the Nisga'a Treaty by a vote of 39 to 32.
April 16: The Sechelt Agreement in Principal
is signed by the Governments of Canada, British Columbia and the
Sechelt Indian Band marking the First BC First Nations negotiating
under the BC Treaty Commission process to reach stage 5 of the BC
treaty negotiations process.
March: The Summit passes a resolution mandating
the First Nations Summit Task Group to challenge the Minister of
Indian Affairs and the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs on their respective
governments lack of compliance with the recommendations of the 1991
Report of the BC Claims Task Force.
January: The First Nations Summit passes
a resolution accepting the Tripartite Review of the BC Treaty Process
Report of the Working Group and directs the First Nations Summit
Task Group to establish meetings at the ministerial level to address
issues raised in the Report.
December 11: First Nations recognise the
one-year anniversary of the historic Supreme Court of Canada decision
in the Delgamuukw case. At a press conference, The First Nations
Summit Task Group calls on Canada and BC to begin implementing the
principles contained within the Delgamuukw decision.
December: after a first stalled attempt,
the Post-Delgamuukw review of the BC treaty negotiation process
November: The Nisga'a Nation ratifies the
Nisga'a Final Agreement. Many dignitaries and First Nations leaders
travel to Victoria to March with the Nisga'a as their final agreement
is introduced for debate in the provincial legislature.
November: In continuing to pressure government
on the issue of compensation the First Nations Summit passes a resolution
the First Nations Summit reaffirm its position that Canada and
BC abandon their present position and adopt new treaty mandates
that explicitly recognize they will negotiate fair compensation
for past and present infringements of aboriginal title and rights
as a substantive issue in the BC treaty process'.
October: Premier Glen Clark addresses First
Nations leaders gathered for the October First Nations Summit meeting.
Clark stated that the Nisga'a Final Agreement would not be used
as a template for other treaties being negotiated. Clark also said
that he feels tripartite negotiations between First Nations, Canada
and BC are the most efficient and just means to achieving a resolution
to land claims in BC.
August 4: the Nisga'a Treaty is formally
initialled in New Aiyansh, BC by representatives of Canada, BC and
the Nisga'a Nation bringing to a conclusion some 20+ years of negotiations
for the Nisga'a people.
July: Jane Stewart, Minister of Indian
Affairs and Northern Development announces the formation of a panel
to recommend effective initiatives to enhance B.C. First Nations'
capacity to deal with land and resource issues which will be an
important part of future treaties. The establishment of the capacity
panel addresses a need that has been recognized by Canada, BC and
the First Nations Summit.
May: The First Nations Summit passes a
resolution stating, ‘the First Nations Summit must not agree to
any agreement with Canada or BC that does not explicitly recognize
that fair compensation for infringements of aboriginal title and
rights will be among the substantive issues to be negotiated with
First Nations in the BC treaty process'.
May: as a result of the tripartite review
of the BC treaty negotiation process, BC, Canada and the First Nations
Summit table a proposal with their respective leaderships, on the
acceleration of lands and resources discussions in treaty negotiations.
The review process is extended til June 30, 1998.
April: in light of the recent Supreme Court
decision in Delgamuukw, the three principals to the BC treaty negotiations
process, Canada, BC and the First Nations Summit enter into a review
of the treaty process.
January: fourteen months after the Royal
Commission on Aboriginal Peoples tables its five volume report,
the federal governments releases its response in a statement called
Gathering Strength, in which Jane Stewart, Minister of Indian and
Northern Affairs, acknowledges abuses which took place in government/church
run residential schools and announces a $350 million dollar community
December 11: the Supreme Court of Canada
renders its decision in Delgamuukw vs. The Queen. The court recognizes
aboriginal title as "a right to the land itself", which derives
from First Nations original occupation and possession at the time
the Crown asserted sovereignty. The court also stated that the federal
and provincial governments may infringe upon Aboriginal title under
conditions for justification but that fair compensation would be
due at the time of such an infringement.
July 3: the Select Standing Committee on
Aboriginal Affairs, an all party committee of the BC Legislature,
releases its first report entitled Towards Reconciliation: Nisga'a
Agreement in Principle and British Columbia Treaty Process.
June: in the Supreme Court of Canada the
Delgamuukw case if heard. The First Nations Summit in its intervention,
argues that Aboriginal title is a territorial interest in land separate
from s. 35 Aboriginal rights, Aboriginal title remains unextinguished
and a burden on Crown title, and that negotiations, like the treaty
process is the most viable mechanism for dealing with Aboriginal
rights and title.
June: the British Columbia Treaty Commission
releases the BCTC Systems Overload Report which states that the
governments of BC and Canada must increase the financial resources
and capacity level of First Nations for the negotiation of treaties
November: the final Report of the Royal
Commission on Aboriginal Peoples in released with over 400 recommendations.
The report points to the BC treaty process as being a good means
to reconciling and addressing First Nations recommendations have
relevance for treaty negotiations in BC.
September 1996: 47 First Nations currently
participating in the BC treaty process. These 47 treaty tables represent
more than 70% of First Nations people in BC.
August: the Select Standing Committee on
Aboriginal Affairs, an all party committee of the BC Legislature,
is appointed to study the impact of the Nisga'a AIP.
March 22: Nisga'a chiefs signed an historic
Agreement in Principle (AIP) with Canada and British Columbia after
20 years of hard fought negotiations.
August: B.C. and First Nations Summit sign
Agreement on Interim Measures and protocol on government-to government
relations. Interim measures agreement to address issues related
to the protection, management, use, allocation and development of
lands, waters and resources within First Nations' traditional territories.
June: B.C. and Canada sign Cost Sharing
Memorandum of Understanding respecting cost for treaty negotiations
and settlement of land claims.
April: B.C. Treaty Commissioners appointed
in April, and process officially begins in December 1993. By June
1994, 41 First Nations choose to participate in the treaty negotiations
B.C. Treaty Commission set up as impartial body
to facilitate and manage treaty negotiations between the First Nations,
Canada and B.C.
Provincial government accepts concept of aboriginal
rights, including inherent right of self-government as official
B.C. Claims Task Group tables 19 recommendations,
and calls for the establishment of a six-stage process for negotiating
treaties with First Nations.
Province of B.C. joins on-going Nisga'a land claims
Canada, B.C. and First Nations establish B.C.
Claims Task Force to examine how treaty negotiations can begin and
what the negotiations should include.
Court of Appeal rules in Sparrow case that Aboriginal rights to fish
for food continue to exist in non-treaty areas of the province. Decision
upheld by Supreme Court of Canada in 1990.
B.C. Court of Appeal upholds interim injunction
against logging on Meares Island (MacMillan Bloedel vs Mullin 1985)
on the basis of unresolved Native claims to aboriginal title to
B.C. Court of Appeal upholds another interim injunction
on basis on Indian claims to riparian and fishing rights, by halting
plans for twin-tracking in the Fraser Canyon and Thompson Valley
(Pasco vs CNR).
Federal government and Inuit of the Mackenzie
Delta sign a final agreement settling aboriginal title claims.
Chief Justice Dickson of the Supreme Court of
Canada, in a ruling involving a trust action against DIAND (Guerin
vs The Queen) cites the Calder (Nisga'a) case of 1973, stating that
the Court had "recognized aboriginal title as a legal right derived
from the Indians' historical occupation and possession of their
of Commons Special Committee releases report on "Indian Self Government
Constitution Act Section 35(1) recognizes aboriginal rights and provides
a mechanism for determining and defining those rights.
Federal government restates its 1973 policy on
comprehensive claims in a booklet titled "In All Fairness."
of First Nation political activity on patriation of Canadian Constitution
and entrenchment of aboriginal rights.
Williams, new Social Credit minister responsible for Native Affairs,
meets with federal and Nisga'a representatives. B.C. agrees to "discussions"
but maintains only "observer" status to negotiations between federal
government and Nisga'a.
NDP human resources minister Norm Levi rejects provincial involvement
in land claims, asserting that the issue is a federal responsibility.
Asks federal government how B.C. will be compensated for any land
transferred to Indians apart of settlement.
Supreme Court of Northwest Territories in Paulette
case makes ruling on aboriginal rights affecting land. Decision
overturned by Supreme Court of Canada on technical grounds.
Quebec Superior Court issues interim injunction
halting James Bay Hydro-electric development on basis of unextinguished
Indian rights to land. Injunction immediately lifted by Appeal Court,
but dispute resolved by a negotiated settlement in 1975.
Federal government issues statement on land claims,
indicating policy of negotiating settlements in non-treaty areas,
Split decision by Supreme Court of Canada in Nisga'a
case. Federal government introduces new comprehensive claims policy.
Federal government agrees to open negotiations
to settle aboriginal title claims of Yukon First Nations.
protests from First Nations, Prime Minister Trudeau withdraws white
"white paper" on Indian policy rejects aboriginal claims. Native opposition
in B.C. to the white paper leads to formation of Union of B.C. Indian
Chiefs. Nisga'a case begins in Vancouver (Calder vs Attorney General
Court of Canada decides in Regina vs White and Bob that aboriginal
hunting rights protected in Nanaimo treaty of 1854 against provincial
laws. Federal Indian Affairs minister Arthur Laing indicates willingness
to open negotiations to conclude treaty in B.C., asking for one group
representing at least 75 percent of Indians in the province to conduct
negotiations. First Nations attempt to form province-wide organization
fail after Nisga'a Tribal Council decide to proceed on their own with
government introduces Indian Claims Commission bill. Never enacted.
First Nation leaders testify before Special Joint Committee of Senate
and House of Commons on Indian Affairs. Committee report in 1961 recommends
Indian Land Claims Commission to deal with B.C. claims.
Indian Act amendment barring pursuit of land claims removed.
Joint Senate/House committee holds hearings on
the Indian Act, recommends establishment of an Indian Claims Commission
to deal with Indian treaty claims.
completes Indian reserve arrangements by Order in Council, and transfers
most provincial land within Indian reserves to federal government.
Joint Committee of Senate and House of Commons struck to hear claims
of the Allied Tribes of B.C. Committees said aboriginal rights and
title not proven, and recommended that future land claims activity
be barred. Parliament amends Indian Act to make it an offense to collect
funds for the purpose of advancing claims.
R.B. Bennett, acting federal Justice minister,
promises to resolve the B.C. land issue. Conservatives defeated
in following election.
Allied Tribes of B.C. formed.
McKenna-McBride Commission recommends creation
of reserve system in B.C. Under newly enacted federal and provincial
statutes, governments were allowed to appoint commissioners to determine
boundaries and make land adjustments. Some land "cut off" from B.C.
B.C. First Nations appear before commission and
reject recommendations on grounds that aboriginal title not dealt
with, that they were not part of the process, and over objections
to the size and location of reserves.
B.C. Royal Commission on Indian Affairs (McKenna-McBride
Commission) established to examine reserves in B.C.
In Prince Rupert, Prime Minister Wilfred Laurier
promises to have aboriginal title adjudicated by Judicial Council
of Privy Council.
B.C. First Nations make application to King Edward
VII to have Privy Council determine aboriginal title. Request denied.
Treaty 8 signed by federal government covering
Peace River area of northeastern B.C.
Joint federal/provincial commission set up to
delineate Indian reserves.
Federal Indian Act is passed.
General the Earl of Dufferin makes speech in Victoria citing the "error"
of B.C. government in not recognizing Indian title.
"Papers Connected with the Indian Land Question"
published in Victoria.
Dominion government disallows B.C. Crown Lands
Act on basis that cessation of aboriginal title had not been obtained.
After amendments relating to reserves, a second act allowed to come
B.C. joins Canada. Terms of Union provide that
federal government will assume the "debts and liabilities of B.C.
existing at time of union." Article 13 establishes federal responsibility
for Indians and Indian lands. Provision made for completion of reserve
system in B.C.
Colony established on mainland B.C.
James Douglas, Governor of the colony of Vancouver
Island, enters into 14 treaties (settlements involving reserve lands,
compensation, etc.) on Vancouver Island, with various First Nations.
After 1854, no further treaties signed as a result of dispute over
who would bear the cost of such settlements (the colony, the Imperial
government, or Hudson's Bay Co.).
Colony established on Vancouver Island. Hudson
Bay Company promotes colonization.
Royal Proclamation by George III of Britain with
respect to Indians in North American colonies.
North BC, First Nations Summit
FNS Chronology last updated September, 2002