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Learn More About Reconciliation Negotiations

Significant progress has been made in the ongoing negotiations between the Gitga'at First Nation and the Federal and Provincial Governments towards achieving the community's self-governance and land management goals. 


Changing from treaty negotiations to reconciliation negotiations has created some questions from members about how things will move forward. 


A Quick Overview of the Reconciliation Negotiation Process

The process involves Gitga'at members, leadership, and government.

  1. The reconciliation advisory committee (RAC) conducts communications and engagement with members. 

  2. The priorities established from these member engagements go to leadership for review. These 

  3. Leadership directs the negotiating team.

  4. Leadership mandates new programs and services.

  5. There is growth in administration capacity.

  6. There are increased services and jurisdiction.


The Negotiation Progress

Currently, the negotiations are focused on finalizing a Reconciliation Framework Agreement, which lays out key measures and priorities for future discussions. This agreement includes areas that will receive immediate funding and sets the stage for further negotiations. The negotiating team has engaged with Gitga'at members to ensure their priorities are considered in future agreements. 


While reconciliation negotiations do not have specific steps, the research conducted during previous treaty negotiations continues to inform ongoing discussions under the Reconciliation framework.


Prioritizing Off-Reserve Housing, Language, and Culture 

Currently, the negotiations focus on a set of Good Faith Measures. These include getting some funding to start working on housing and language programs. 


At the same time, the committee is reviewing jurisdiction over title and lands. The goal is to have more control over our services and make plans for housing on and off the reserve. But making this happen will require a lot of planning, time, and future funding.


Reconciliation Agreements Do Not Take Away From Existing Benefits

In the past, First Nations often lost rights and control over their lands when they signed treaties with Canada. However, Canada and BC are now focusing on reconciliation, a less restrictive approach than traditional treaties. 


A reconciliation agreement approach includes legislating a commitment to align laws with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and creating new policies like the Recognition and Reconciliation of Rights Policy. The Crown also has to cover the cost of negotiations.


Reconciliation won't take away benefits like healthcare and tax exemptions from the Gitga'at First Nation. Instead, it empowers them to govern themselves, make laws, and access funds for their needs. This agreement can be updated over time to better meet the community's needs.


Read More About the Negotiation Process

As negotiations progress, the Gitga'at First Nation moves closer to realizing greater autonomy and maintaining cultural heritage. 


Community engagement is vital in ensuring that the negotiation outcomes reflect the needs and aspirations of all Gitga'at members. Thank you to everyone who has participated in meetings with the negotiating committee.


Read the new FAQ about the negotiations and visit the reconciliation negotiations page on the Gitga'at website to learn more. 


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