Ditidaht and Pacheedaht Agreement in Principle

From: Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

Backgrounder

Financial Component

The Agreement in Principle proposes capital transfers of $19.72 million to Pacheedaht and $39.9 million to Ditidaht to be paid on the day a treaty takes effect.

In addition to the transfer proposed in the Agreement in Principle, B.C has proposed an economic development fund of $1.8 million to Pacheedaht and $3 million to Ditidaht. B.C. would provide this funding in three annual instalments once the treaty took effect.

Land Component

The proposed treaty settlement land packages for the Ditidaht and Pacheedaht First Nations includes existing First Nation reserve land, and the transfer of certain parcels of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve and provincial Crown land.

Pacheedaht proposed treaty settlement lands include approximately 1,896.9 hectares:

  • 175.9 hectares of existing Pacheedaht reserve land
  • 128 hectares of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve lands
  • 1,593 hectares of provincial Crown land

Ditidaht proposed treaty settlement lands include approximately 6,160.32 hectares:

  • 751.32 hectares of existing Ditidaht reserve land
  • 1,453 hectares of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve lands
  • 3,956 hectares of provincial Crown land.

In recognition of the need to ensure safe, year round vehicle access to the Ditidaht community; the Ditidaht AIP includes a Provincial commitment to establishing a 54-kilometre gravel forest service road extending from Cowichan Lake to the north eastern end of Nitinaht Lake.

Supplementary Agreements

A number of supplementary agreements outlined in the Agreement in Principle will also be negotiated during the final stage of negotiations. These include:

  • An Engagement Agreement which will establish a collaborative process to monitor and evaluate Provincial authorizations for the use of Crown lands that may impact the ability of Ditidaht or Pacheedaht to exercise their Treaty rights within their Territories.
  • A cooperative management agreement for the portion of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve located in Ditidaht and Pacheedaht’s traditional territories.
  • A framework agreement to support Ditidaht and Pacheedaht’s involvement in federal environmental assessment processes.

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve and the West Coast Trail

Under the Agreement in Principle, and subject to further negotiations, treaty settlements with the First Nations will include the return of some lands from the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve in the West Coast Trail and Nitinaht Lake area and adjacent to the Pacheedaht community. Under the Canada National Parks Act, the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is designated as a national park reserve in recognition of unresolved Aboriginal rights and title claims. Claims settlements can involve transferring lands and adjusting boundaries of a national park reserve.

Parks Canada and the Pacheedaht and Ditidaht First Nations have agreed to preserve the West Coast Trail hiking experience through cooperative arrangements, including a right of way for portions of the West Coast Trail that cross treaty settlement lands.

In 1973, Parks Canada moved to add the West Coast Trail to Pacific Rim National Park Reserve despite objections from the Pacheedaht and Ditidaht First Nations whose use of the land and access to the ocean was restricted as a result.

Many Parks Canada’s places have seen a transition over time from a past where Indigenous peoples were separated from their traditional lands and waters. Today, Parks Canada is committed to ensuring Indigenous connections are honoured, and Indigenous rights are respected. The return of some lands within the West Coast Trail Unit of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is an important step in forging a new relationship between Parks Canada and the Nations.

Juan de Fuca Trail

In 2015 and 2017, the Province purchased private lands adjacent to Juan de Fuca Provincial Park. The purchase was an opportunity to obtain lands for transfer to Pacheedaht as well as to add some small pieces of land into the provincial park to ensure the entire Juan de Fuca trail is protected.

The Agreement in Principle formalizes the intention of the Province to transfer lands adjacent to the park to Pacheedaht on the day a treaty would take effect.

/Public Release. View in full here.