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A RECONCILIATION AGREEMENT

BETWEEN

HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN
IN RIGHT OF BRITISH COLUMBIA

AND

THE HEREDITARY CHIEFS OF THE GITXSAN

 

WHEREAS the Province of British Columbia suspended treaty negotiations with the Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs on February 1, 1996, pending the Supreme Court of Canada decision in Delgamuukw v. The Queen;

AND WHEREAS the Supreme Court of Canada rendered its judgement in Delgamuukw v. The Queen on December 11, 1997;

AND WHEREAS the Supreme Court of Canada strongly recommended in Delgamuukw that the Parties should attempt to reconcile the pre-existence of aboriginal societies with the assertion of Crown sovereignty through negotiation rather than litigation;

AND WHEREAS the Parties to this Agreement wish to pursue the approach recommended by the Supreme Court of Canada in Delgamuukw;

THE PARTIES AGREE AS FOLLOWS:

General

  1. This Agreement is without prejudice to:

    1. any aboriginal rights, aboriginal title or aboriginal interests of the Gitxsan;

    2. any legal or equitable interests of either Party;

    3. any interests subsequently recognized or acquired pursuant to a treaty by either Party; and

    4. any argument, position, or action which either Party may pursue in litigation or otherwise.

  2. The discussion and implementation of this Agreement and associated agreements is a priority for the Parties, and each Party will take reasonable steps to ensure that it has the necessary commitment, human and financial resources in place to discuss and implement this Agreement and associated agreements.

  3. British Columbia and the Gitxsan will make best efforts to negotiate and finalize a contribution agreement by October 31, 1998 to assist the Gitxsan to prepare and participate in the discussion and implementation of this Agreement and associated agreements.

  4. The Parties agree to cooperate in attempting to ensure that the government of Canada, in fulfilment of its lawful and fiduciary obligations to the Gitxsan, financially supports and participates in activities resulting from this Agreement and associated agreements, where appropriate and applicable.

  5. The Parties agree to involve local government, local communities and local Crown land tenure-holders in bilateral discussions and initiatives, where appropriate and applicable.

BC-Gitxsan Bilateral Issues

  1. The Parties agree to begin discussions on bilateral matters, including the following:

    1. Gitxsan participation in regional wildlife and wildlife habitat management;

    2. forestry, to include at least the following subject matter:

      development of a Gitxsan/MOF forestry consultation protocol, including Traditional Use Studies and Landscape Unit Plans;
    3. Gitxsan participation in a Northwest First Nation Resource Officer training/implementation initiative;

    4. respective understandings and mutual obligations flowing out of the Delgamuukw decision;

    5. consultation on mining and petroleum development;

    6. Gitxsan economic opportunities;

    7. Gitxsan human and social services; and

    8. other subjects, as agreed by the Parties.

  2. The Parties agree to establish a Xsu'wii'ax Table for the discussion of bilateral matters including the following:

    1. consultation regarding forest development in the Bear Lake area;

    2. training initiatives for Gitxsan in the Bear Lake area;

    3. economic opportunities, including forestry initiatives, for Gitxsan in the Bear Lake area; and

    4. access issues in the Bear Lake area.

Canada-Gitxsan Bilateral Issues

  1. The Parties acknowledge that Canada has the primary responsibility with respect to certain bilateral matters, including the following:

    1. fisheries;

    2. capacity-building; and

    3. compensation.

  2. The Parties agree to cooperate to attempt to ensure that Canada addresses Canada- Gitxsan bilateral issues, including those set out in 8. a), b) and c) above.

BC-Canada-Gitxsan Tri-partite Issues

  1. Subject to Canada's agreement, the Parties agree to resume tri-partite discussions on the following matters:

    1. tripartite matters set out in the Gitxsan Framework Agreement, dated July 13, 1995, including the following:

      1. governance, including health, social services, administration of justice, policing and corrections;

      2. fiscal arrangements, including financial benefits, resource royalty sharing, taxation and administration;

      3. ownership and jurisdiction over lands and resources;

    2. other matters, including:

      1. Canada's approach to compensation; and

      2. other subjects, as agreed by the Parties.

  2. The Parties agree to cooperate to attempt to ensure that Canada agrees to resume discussions on the matters set out in section 10 above.

 

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the Parties have executed this Agreement this 15th day of September, 1998, at , British Columbia.

SIGNED on behalf of HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN IN RIGHT OF BRITISH COLUMBIA, by Honourable Dale Lovick, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs:

Witness the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs

SIGNED on behalf of the HEREDITARY CHIEFS OF THE GITXSAN by Delgamuukw:

Witness Delgamuukw