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The NStQ Treaty – Rumor vs. Fact

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September 28th, 2015

The NStQ Treaty – Rumor vs. Fact

The Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw (NStQ), is comprised of four Northern Shuswap First Nation bands (Tsq’escen’ - Canim Lake, Stswecem’c / Xgat’tem - Canoe Creek/Dog Creek, Xats’ull/Cmetem’ - Soda Creek and T’exelc - Williams Lake), who have been working together in the BC Treaty Process to negotiate and obtain control over their lands, resources and future through self-government as provided under a final treaty.

Treaty negotiations have been ongoing since 1993. Substantive negotiations for stage 4 the Agreement in Principle (AiP), a draft treaty, are now complete and the next step is for NStQ membership to vote on whether to proceed to Stage 5, the final agreement negotiations.

As the AiP Referendum date of February 11th, 2016 approaches, it is important that the NStQ membership has accurate information about the treaty process and the AiP. The Chiefs of the four NStQ communities stand behind the process and are committed to clarifying facts and dealing with the misinformation being circulated.

NStQ membership is currently at approximately 2,500 and growing, with approximately 60% of membership living off reserves. In 1993 at the beginning of the BC Treaty process, the NStQ Leadership and membership decided that the Treaty process provided the most comprehensive settlement of rights and title available.

The Agreement-in-Principle, or ‘Stage 4’ of the six stage treaty process, is a “starting point” for the final agreement negotiations. The vote to be held on February 11, 2016 is not a vote on the ‘treaty’, but in fact asks whether to continue in the process to Stage 5. Stage 5 is the “Final Agreement Stage” in which the real hard negotiating begins and works toward Stage 6, or the “Implementation” of the Treaty.

Please make certain that as a member you have accurate information about the Agreement in Principle, the treaty process as a whole, and what it means to you. Contact your band’s treaty team to have materials mailed to you, and if you like, to arrange a meeting with your team. The AiP document itself (which is currently available to all NStQ members to read on the members website), are a “starting point”, with the final agreement involving lands, financial package and jurisdiction yet to be fully negotiated in “Stage 5” of the process. The NStQ will have the capacity to sort through and resolve complex issues such as lands, through the Final Agreement Negotiations.

The Agreement-in-Principle document on which membership will vote on February 11th, 2016 is a draft document and is non-binding. It is at the end of Stage 5, or Final Agreement negotiations that the legally binding agreement between the Government of Canada, Government of British Columbia and the NStQ will be negotiated.

More community meetings, family meetings, and information sharing will be taking place over the next several months, ahead of the referendum voting date. The ballot question on which members will vote is: “Do you support the recommendation of the NStQ leadership to proceed to the Final Agreement negotiations?”

It is very important that all band members of voting age contact their band office to make sure they are registered to vote, and also to make sure the band offices have current member contact information, which is essential in making sure as many members as possible (on and off reserve) are informed and ready to vote.

More information is available by contacting the band office treaty teams.

o Canim Lake: 250-397-2002
o Canoe Creek / Dog Creek: 250-440-5649
o Soda Creek / Deep Creek: 250-989-2323
o Williams Lake: 250-296-3507

For more information about the AiP and Treaty Process:
www.nstqtreaty.ca
www.bctreaty.net/

Or, contact: Beth Bedard, NStQ Treaty Team Coordinator
E: b.bedard@nstq.org
P: (250) 392-7361 ext. 226 TF: 1-888-392-7361 Fax: 250-392-6158