Lands

The land claim settlement comprises 2,020 square kilometres as settlement of the original Nisga’a land claim of 24,000 square kilometres. The lands are divided into Nisga’a Lands and Nisga’a Fee Simple Lands which are 99 per cent and one per cent respectively. Under the Final Agreement, all the settlement lands will be owned by the Nisga’a as fee simple property, but the public will have access to Nisga’a Public Lands for non-commercial and recreational uses such as hunting and fishing.

Privately-owned property that falls within the settlement area was not on the table for negotiation and remains privately-owned fee simple lands after the Final Agreement.

The public continues to have unimpeded access on provincial roads within the boundaries of Nisga’a Lands. Any person who has private property or other interests such as traplines or woodlots within Nisga’a Lands has guaranteed access.

 
 
Nisga’a Lands

Nisga’a Lands comprise 1,992 square kilometres of land in the lower Nass River area. This area includes 56 of the Nisga’a Indian Reserves. Unlike Indian reserves, Nisga’a Lands will not be under federal authority as "lands reserved for the Indians" in the Constitution Act, 1982. This land will be owned by the Nisga’a as fee simple property, including forest resources, subsurface resources and gravel. The Nisga’a will be able to sell or lease parcels of the land.

The existing provincial park and ecological reserve within the area of Nisga’a Lands will remain under provincial government ownership and jurisdiction. The Nisga’a will continue to be involved in the management of these areas.

Existing third-party rights of way on Nisga’a Lands will continue under tenures issued by the Nisga’a Government. This includes access to private property and existing utility rights of way tenures.
 

Nisga’a Fee Simple Land

These lands will be subject to provincial laws. In addition to Nisga’a Lands, the Nisga’a will own in fee simple 27.5 square kilometres consisting of the 18 former Nisga’a Indian reserves and 15 additional parcels of land equaling 2.5 square kilometres. These will be known as

  Nisga’a Fee Simple Lands and total one per cent of the overall settlement lands.
 

Water

The Province retains full ownership of and regulatory authority over water.

The Province will reserve up to 300,000 cubic decametres, or one per cent of the annual flow of the Nass River watershed, for the use of the Nisga’a for domestic, agricultural and industrial purposes. The Nisga’a will be required to obtain provincial licences that meet all provincial requirements to use the reserved water.

People using water under existing provincial licences within Nisga’a Lands will not be affected. Those licences will continue and the Nisga’a will be required to provide reasonable access across Nisga’a Lands when needed by existing or future licence holders.
 

Hydro Generation

The Nisga’a will be able to investigate the suitability of all streams that are tributaries to the Nass River within Nisga’a Lands to investigate their suitability for hydro power generation. If these studies demonstrate potential, the Nisga’a will be able to reserve an allocation of water for hydro purposes on specified streams.

Any proposed hydro development by the Nisga’a will be subject to all provincial environmental and regulatory requirements and will be subject to the standard licensing process.
 

Land Title

Currently, unoccupied Crown land is normally not registered in the provincial land title system. Nisga’a Lands, which were primarily unoccupied Crown land, will not be registered in the land title system.

However, the Nisga’a will have the ability to bring some or all of their land into the land title system. The Land Title Act will apply to any Nisga’a Lands brought into the system. This will enable the Nisga’a to use the land as security for financing development.
 

For further information on this or other topics, contact:

Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs
Communications Branch
4th Floor, 908 Pandora Avenue
Victoria BC V8W 1X4
Telephone: 1-800-880-1022