President of the Tahltan Central Government, Chad Norman Day, surveys Tahltan territory by helicopter in this July 2019 handout photo. The Tahltan Nation and the British Columbia government have struck what officials say is a historic agreement for shared decision-making for the nation’s territory in northwestern B.C., a hot spot for mineral exploration. Day says the deal shows they are “getting closer and closer to a true nation-to-nation relationship.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Tahltan Central Government

President of the Tahltan Central Government, Chad Norman Day, surveys Tahltan territory by helicopter in this July 2019 handout photo. The Tahltan Nation and the British Columbia government have struck what officials say is a historic agreement for shared decision-making for the nation’s territory in northwestern B.C., a hot spot for mineral exploration. Day says the deal shows they are “getting closer and closer to a true nation-to-nation relationship.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Tahltan Central Government

Tahltan Nation, B.C. government sign agreement for shared decision-making

Deal commits the province and the northwest B.C. nation to developing a land-use plan

A new agreement between the Tahltan Nation and the British Columbia government will help ensure sensitive areas aren’t open to development, while providing greater certainty for everyone, says the president of the nation’s central government.

Tahltan territory spans a region in northwestern B.C. known for its mineral deposits and some mining and exploration claims surround the nation’s communities and burial sites, Chad Norman Day told a news conference on Thursday.

“We’ve been grappling with those for years because we didn’t have the relationship and the structure that we’re going to have through the (Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act) and through agreements like this,” he said.

The act sets a framework for the B.C. government to strike agreements with Indigenous nations when decisions are being made that affect their territories.

Day said the success of the 2019 declaration act depends on how it’s implemented and he’s aiming to develop best practices through the Tahltan’s new agreement.

Nathan Cullen, the minister of state for lands and natural resource operations, said the partnership is “making the words that are written in that act closer to reality.”

The B.C. government is providing $20 million to support economic development and the implementation of the deal that commits the province and the nation to developing a land-use plan with the first phase due by 2023. It also commits to testing new permitting processes for mining and mineral exploration.

Day said he’s looking forward to getting more land certainty through the planning process, and to finding agreement on the process with the province before development does take place.

The deal commits to accelerating negotiations for an “economic-oriented” reconciliation agreement and to seeking federal participation in those talks.

It also includes cultural and health elements, enhanced consent-based decision-making and recognition for Tahltan title and rights in their territory, Cullen said.

Murray Rankin, the minister of Indigenous relations and reconciliation, said the agreement represents a significant step forward in building a government-to-government relationship and supporting the Tahltan in regaining its sovereignty.

The agreement acknowledges that economic growth and the development of a world-class mining region can only be achieved with continued progress in other areas and aligned with the declaration act, the province said in a news release.

The Tahltan Central Government has voiced opposition to the way jade and placer mining take place in its territory, citing concerns over environmental impacts and a lack of revenue sharing.

The province has paused new permits for such operations while it works with the nation to figure out next steps, Cullen said.

Earlier this year, the Tahltan Nation and the province also announced the creation of a new 35-square-kilometre conservancy next to Mount Edziza Provincial Park, which saw Skeena Resources Ltd. return mineral tenures for its claim in the area.

— by Brenna Owen, The Canadian Press

RELATED: Remote Tahltan community faces uncertainty with no ‘real’ timeline on Telegraph Creek Road

Just Posted

More and more graffiti has appeared in Ladysmith’s downtown core during the pandemic. (Cole Schisler photo)
Council creates rebate program to encourage graffiti clean up

Property owners can receive up to $50 to help fund graffiti removal

Rick Ruppenthal of Saltair will host a 12-hour talk-a-thon Friday, June 18 over Facebook live. (Photo submitted)
Talk-a-thon to focus on men’s mental health issues

Saltair man spearheading a campaign to generate more conversation during fundraiser

(File photo)
Poverty reduction survey identifies 10 poverty themes

Poverty reduction plan will be finalized in July 2021

Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Paul Manly says he has no intentions of leaving the Green Party. (House of Commons image)
Island Green MPs have “no intention” of leaving the party after ‘heartbreaking’ departure

Manly, May only remaining Green MPs after Jenica Atwin left for the Liberals over internal disputes

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Flowers and candles were laid on the driveway of the Weber home, where Kerri Weber was found dead in November 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria man to stand trial for death of his wife last November

Ken Weber is charged with second-degree murder of his wife, Kerri Weber

The discovery of a missing woman’s body in Nanaimo earlier this month is now being treated as homicide, say Nanaimo RCMP. (File photo)
Discovery of woman’s body in downtown Nanaimo now being investigated as a homicide

Amy Watts was found dead near Albert Street and Victoria Crescent on June 3

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens as Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents the province’s latest budget, April 20, 2021. The budget projects $19 billion in deficits over three years. (Hansard TV)
B.C. government budget balloons, beyond COVID-19 response

Provincial payroll up 104,000 positions, $10 billion since 2017

Ocean debris is shown on Long Beach in Tofino, B.C. on April, 18, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Shoreline cleanup finds COVID-related trash increased during height of the pandemic

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup reports litter from single-use food packaging nearly doubled

Doctor David Vallejo and his fiancee Doctor Mavelin Bonilla hold photos of themselves working, as they kiss at their home in Quito, Ecuador, Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Doctor Vallejo and Doctor Bonilla suspended their wedding in order to tend to COVID-19 patients and in the process Vallejo got sick himself with the disease, ending up in an ICU for several days. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)
Love, sacrifice and surviving COVID-19: one couple’s story

COVID hits Ecuadorian doctors who delayed wedding to treat sick

The Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society, which has been operating a treatment centre on land leased from the Nanoose First Nation for 35 years (pictured), has begun a fundraising campaign to open a new centre near Duncan. (Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society photo)
New residential school healing centre to be built near Duncan

$5-million Indigenous treatment centre will help survivors of residential schools heal

Two Lotto Max tickets sold on Vancouver Island were winners, though nobody won the $70-million jackpot in Tuesday’s draw. (BCLC image)
Vancouver Island lottery players win $1 million and $500,000 in Lotto Max draw

$1 million ticket sold in Campbell River, $500,000 ticket sold in Nanaimo

Most Read