Negotiating through a Pandemic

Posted on July 9, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought us many challenges – on the home front, in the community, and in the broader Terrace region. It is safe to say that many of us hoped that we would be back to normal in 2021. Unfortunately, we have a little while longer before it is safe for us to return to in-person, face-to-face contact.

For the Treaty Office, the first few weeks in March of 2020 trying to determine how best to continue to move our negotiations forward despite the challenges presented to us with the first set of major restrictions. Negotiators took these challenges as a time to be creative and find new ways to reach goals set to get to a point where a ‘handshake’ could be achieved. This included a change in the way negotiations took place and how issues were discussed during negotiations.

By moving negotiations online, Negotiations from Canada, BC, and Kitsumkalum and Kitselas realized that the frequency needed to be increased. A more regular review of outstanding issues has taken place too. This has changed from an annual review to a review every two months to make sure that negotiations continue to be respectful and move forward rather than backwards. Our advisors have also been creative in preparing and presenting information to
negotiators and at the Main Table to help meet this goal. As you can see, it truly takes a team to positively move a ‘machine’ like this forward.

Internally, the team has been working to prepare materials that will populate the new Kitsumkalum Treaty website currently being rebuilt. By taking the time to develop these materials, the team hopes to have focused materials to explain key areas of the treaty to community members.

As the pandemic and the return to a normal life begin, the treaty office aims to continue to face the adverse challenges as positively as possible and continue to do the work to get the best deal possible for the Kitsumkalum people.

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