British Columbia

First Nations leaders and province agree on framework for reconciliation

Hundreds of First Nations leaders have given approval in principle to a reconciliation agreement with the province of B.C. — one day after warning that court battles and protest camps loomed if B.C. did not support a meaningful reconciliation proposal.

Landmark pact follows Supreme Court of Canada ruling that granted aboriginal title to Tsilhqot'in Nation

Premier Christy Clark greets Chief Fred Sam of the Nak'azdli First Nation on Wednesday as the meeting gets underway. (Farrah Merali/CBC)

Hundreds of First Nations leaders have given approval in principle to a reconciliation agreement with the province of B.C. — one day after warning that court battles and protest camps loomed if B.C. did not support a meaningful reconciliation proposal.

The agreement is viewed as a road map for future economic, social and legal relations between Aboriginal peoples and the provincial government.

First Nations Summit Grand Chief Ed John said the road ahead may be bumpy, but all sides are willing to build a path forward.

The agreement was approved Thursday morning by about 500 First Nations leaders at a closed-door meeting with Premier Christy Clark and members of her cabinet in Vancouver.

The two sides met for the first time last year following a landmark Supreme Court of Canada decision that granted the Tsilhqot'in Nation aboriginal title to 1,700 square kilometres of land in B.C.'s Nemiah Valley.

When the meeting opened on Wednesday Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, the president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, said they would give the government one more year to negotiate a reconciliation deal.

Clarifications

  • An earlier version of this story said First Nations leaders had reached a reconciliation deal with the province. In fact, the agreement is a framework for negotiating reconciliation.
    Sep 10, 2015 3:25 PM PT

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