December 15th, 2016 (Vancouver, British Columbia)
Today is an historic one for the four member communities of the Northern Shuswap. After nearly two years of waiting anxiously since the work on the Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw (NStQ) Agreement-in-Principle (AiP) was completed, the NStQ Treaty Negotiator and entire treaty team is optimistic and encouraged with today’s initialling of the Agreement-in-Principle by representatives of Canada, British Columbia and the NStQ.
The four Northern Shuswap First Nations of the NStQ Treaty Group, through the auspices of the Northern Shuswap Tribal Council, have been negotiating a modern-day treaty with the Governments of British Columbia and Canada since 1993. After the completion of the AiP, a referendum was held in each of the four NStQ communities in February and April of this year, with a narrow membership majority positively voting to move forward into Final Negotiations (Stage Five) of the six-stage treaty process, which now continues into its 24th year.
Robert Moraes, NStQ Treaty Negotiator –
"BC and Canada have agreed to initial our NStQ AiP today, December 15th, 2016. It has been two long years since the AiP was completed, with this being a final step to moving forward into the next stage of treaty negotiations. After today’s initialing, the AiP will then move to the Federal and Provincial Cabinets for final approval. Once done, this opens up more in-depth negotiations and funding to help NStQ reach a Final Agreement. The Final Agreement will then be voted on by NStQ membership."
Gavin Fitch, Canada Chief Negotiator –
“This is an important milestone and we are very pleased we have gotten to this point. Canada remains committed to seeing through to a successful final agreement.”
Mark Lofthouse, British Columbia Chief Negotiator –
“This initialing reflects a commitment on the AiP document that we take it forward for consideration to our Principle.”
Jerry Lampert, Commissioner, BC Treaty Commission –
“On behalf of the BC Treaty Commission, we congratulate the NStQ, BC and Canada on reaching this important milestone on the path to reconciliation. We look forward to Stage 5 Negotiations, leading to a Final Agreement."
Robert Phillips, First Nations Summit Task Group –
"I would like to congratulate the NStQ on the initialing of their Agreement in Principle. A great deal of work by their treaty team, along with extensive consultation with membership over many years, has brought NStQ to this historic day. I look forward to the day when the hard work and challenges of negotiations between Canada, BC and NStQ result in the successful ratification of an NStQ Treaty that will positively impact community members with a prosperous, self-governing future.”
The four communities which make up the NStQ are: Canim Lake Indian Band (Tsq’escen’ First Nation), Soda Creek Indian Band (Xat’sūll First Nation), Williams Lake Indian Band (T’exelc First Nation), and Canoe Creek/Dog Creek Indian Band (Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation).
Treaty Negotiator, NStQ Treaty Society