The modern treaty negotiations process provides a framework for the three parties: Canada, BC and First Nations – to work towards the common goal of reconciliation and building a new relationship on a government-to-government-to-government basis that will better the lives of the Tsimshian and Kitsumkalum people for the long term.
Negotiating a treaty offers a path towards self-governance and getting Kitsumkalum out from under the Indian Act. The Kitsumkalum were self-governing long before European contact. The Indian Act was passed in 1876 without the consultation or consent of the Native people. The Indian Act was developed to control almost every aspect of Native life and continues to dictate the way Native people are governed on-reserve. It does not affect either the Métis or Inuit.
Self-governance will replace the Indian Act. It strives to provide better opportunities for Indigenous people living within their traditional territory, while not excluding those Indigenous people who choose to live elsewhere.
It gives us the right to make laws, similar to the laws that provinces are able to make. It also means we will create our own government that is designed by the Kitsumkalum people and approved by us. With self-governance, we will have more freedom to choose and control over our treaty settlement lands and resources. The Kitsumkalum people will be responsible for establishing a Constitution that will guide self-government.
The Treaty will also bring increased opportunities and ownership, improved services and control over our future and education.