K’ómoks First Nation, Canada and British Columbia reinvigorate their treaty negotiations

From: Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

The governments of K’ómoks First Nation, Canada and British Columbia have signed a new agreement that will advance reconciliation and treaty negotiations.

Hegus Nicole Rempel of K’ómoks 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 K’ómoks First Nation Treaty Revitalization Agreement.

The Agreement commits the parties to revitalize treaty negotiations in order to complete the final stage of the treaty process within two years, and guides in the development of an approach that recognizes the rights of K’ómoks First Nation.

This new strategy explicitly recognizes that Aboriginal rights are inherent and will not be extinguished or surrendered. It seeks to build a collaborative government-to-government relationship that is flexible and able to adapt to changing circumstances over time.

Under this approach to treaty making, key elements such as self-government, land ownership and stewardship, 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 healthy and prosperous Indigenous communities in Canada.

Quotes

“This agreement marks a significant milestone in our negotiation process. It commits all parties to finalize our negotiations with an approach based on a recognition of rights model which is free from extinguishment. This approach also holds all parties accountable to the completion of negotiations within a delegated timeframe and to address critical issues and priorities identified by KFN. We are optimistic this will catalyze the future success of a better Treaty for our Nation.”

Hegus Nicole Rempel

K’ómoks First Nation

“The Government of Canada is committed to building an enduring relationship with K’ómoks First Nation that supports their vision of self-determination. This Agreement demonstrates we are working to advance treaty negotiations based on a recognition of rights approach.”

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P.

Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

“This Treaty Revitalization Agreement is an important milestone along the path of reconciliation with K’ómoks First Nation. Our Government is committed to collaborating with Indigenous partners through treaties, and other agreements, based on lasting government-to-government relationships and recognition of the inherent Aboriginal rights. We’re taking a new approach to treaty making to ensure treaties can evolve over time and respect the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

The Honourable Scott Fraser; British Columbia Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation

Quick facts

  • K’ómoks First Nation is located in the heart of the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island.

  • Membership is currently 336 members within four clans: Sathloot, Saseetla, Ieeksun and Puntledge.

  • Two cultures are identified in their community: Coast Salish (Island-Comox speaking peoples) and Kwakwaka’wakw (Kwak̓ wala speaking peoples).

  • The K’ómoks and Pentlatch tribes originally occupied sites in Kelsey Bay, Campbell River, Quadra Island, Comox Harbour, Hornby and Denman Islands, and Baynes Sound.

  • The ancestors of the K’ómoks First Nation occupied territories from the Englishman River to Sayward.

  • K’ómoks First Nation, British Columbia and Canada are engaged in Stage 5 negotiations under the BC treaty process.

  • K’ómoks signed a Framework Agreement in 2008 and an Agreement-in-Principle on March 24, 2012.

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