FEBRUARY 28, 2019 - The governments of Canada and British Columbia and the Metlakatla First Nation have signed a new agreement that will significantly advance reconciliation and treaty negotiations.
Harold Leighton, Chief Councillor of the Metlakatla First Nation, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, federal Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, and the Honourable Scott Fraser, British Columbia's Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, signed the Metlakatla Transition to Stage Five and Treaty Revitalization Agreement. The Agreement will guide the three parties in the development of a rights recognition approach to a treaty and bring new momentum to treaty negotiations.
A rights recognition approach explicitly recognizes that Aboriginal rights are inherent and will not be extinguished or surrendered and seeks to build a collaborative government-to-government relationship that's flexible and able to adapt to changing circumstances over time.
Through this approach, the parties have agreed to move directly into the last stage of treaty negotiations and to explore a "core" approach to treaty.
Under this approach, key elements such as self-government, land ownership, resource rights and law-making authorities will be written into a constitutionally protected core treaty. Administrative and policy matters may be addressed through supplementary agreements that can be more easily amended, allowing for the government-to-government relationship to evolve as laws, policies and interests change. This approach makes room for a treaty relationship that is flexible and able to adapt over time.
Working as partners and developing new innovative approaches to government-to-government agreements is key to achieving reconciliation and supporting healthier and prosperous Indigenous communities in Canada.
The full agreement can be reviewed here.