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Lheidli T’enneh Final Agreement

Date: 29 October 2006
Sub Category:Final Agreement (Canada) | Treaty (Canada)
State/Country:British Columbia, Canada
Subject Matter:Access | Cultural Heritage | Customary Law | Education | Environmental Heritage | Fishing | Forestry | Health and Community Services | Land Management | Land Settlement | Law - Policy and Justice | Local Government | Recognition of Traditional Rights and Interests | Self Government | Water
Summary Information:
The Lheidli T'enneh Final Agreement was initialled by representatives of the Governments of Canada and British Columbia and representatives of the Lheidli T'enneh Band on 29 October 2006, concluding over 13 years of ongoing negotiations as part of the British Columbia Six-Stage Treaty Process.

The Agreement's preamble highlights the desire of all parties to achieve certainty with respect to Lheidli T'enneh ownership and the use of land and resources, Lheidli T'enneh law-making authority and the relationship between federal law, provincial law and Lheidli T'enneh law. These objectives reflect the strong desire of all parties to ensure the preservation, protection and enhancement of the Lheidli T'enneh economy, heritage, language and culture.

Chapter Two of the agreement outlines general provisions, including specifying the nature of the agreement as a treaty within the meaning of Sections 25 and 35 of the Constitution Act 1982. This Chapter also provides that the agreement does not alter in any way the constitution of Canada in relation to the distribution of powers between Canada and British Columbia or the identity of Lheidli T'enneh as aboriginal people of Canada within the meaning of the Constitution Act 1982.
Detailed Information:
Chapter Three of the Agreement deals with eligibility and enrolment. It states the 'an individual is eligible to be enrolled under the Agreement if that individual is:
a. i) an individual with Lheidli T'enneh ancestry by matrilineal or patrilineal descent; or ii) a band member listed or entitled to be listed as a band member on the Lheidli T'enneh Band List under the Indian Act as of the day before the effective date;
b. an individual who has been adopted under Lheidli T'enneh custom;
c. a descendant, including an adopted child and his or her descendent, of an individual described in subparagraph 2a or 2b notwithstanding an adoption or any birth outside marriage."

The Chapter also deals with administration of enrolment and eligibility, establishing an enrolment committee and appeal board.

Chapter Four deals with the ratification of the agreement by the Lheidli T'enneh, the Provincial Government and the Federal Government of Canada. The Agreement requires ratification at a meeting called by the Lheidli T'enneh community Treaty Council, adoption by consensus of a motion to refer the agreement to a ratification vote, and the carrying of the treaty by fifty per cent plus one of all eligible voters. Ratification was due mid-2007.

It also requires the Agreement to be signed by a Minister of the Crown in right of the state of British Columbia and a Minister of the Crown in right of the Government of Canada, and the passing of Provincial and Federal Settlement legislation by the British Columbia Parliament and the Parliament of Canada.

Chapter Five deals with land settlement, indicating total size of Lheidli T'enneh land as 4,275 hectares owned in fee simple not subject to any condition, proviso, restriction, exemption or reservation. This includes ownership of all subsurface resources on or beneath the surface of Lheidli T'enneh Land, but does not include submerged lands. Chapter Six indicates that the Land Title Act does not apply to Lheidli T'enneh land unless and until an application for registration of indefeasible title is entered.

Whilst Chapter Seven of the Agreement states that the Lheidli T'enneh have the same rights as any other holder of fee simple title over the agreement area, agreement was reached that reasonable access would be given to the public for non-commercial and temporary recreational uses. This does not, however include harvesting or extracting resources, causing damage to land, causing nuisance or interfering with other uses authorised by Lheidli T'enneh.

Chapter Eight states that the Lheidli T'enneh may make laws with respect to traffic, transportation and parking on Lheidli T'enneh roads to the same extent as municipal governments have authority to make laws with respect to traffic, transportation and parking in municipalities in British Columbia.

Chapter Nine deals with forest resources, stating that all forest resources are owned by the Lheidli T'enneh, and that the Lheidli T'enneh Government may make laws with respect to forest resources and forest practices on all Lheidli T'enneh lands. Similar provisions covering water are found in Chapter 10, which give the Lheidli T'enneh government capacity to make laws with respect to the supply and the use of water by Lheidli T'enneh Citizens.

Hunting and Fishing
Chapter 11 gives the right to Lheidli T'enneh to harvest fish and aquatic plants for food, social and ceremonial purposes in the Lheidli T'enneh Fish Area. This right is limited by measures necessary for conservation and measures, authorised by legislation necessary for public health and safety. The right to fish, unlike other Lheidli T'enneh rights cannot be alienated, and is exercisable only by members of Lheidli T'enneh. The agreement indicates appropriate fishing levels to ensure sustainability and fish level conservation.

The right to harvest wildlife for food, social and ceremonial purposes in the Lheidli T'enneh Area is similarly limited by measures necessary for conservation and public health and safety. Similarly, this right cannot be alienated and is exercisable only by Lheidli T'enneh citizens. The same right to harvest is extended to migratory birds in Chapter 13.

Chapter 14 contains provision for the development of further agreements between the Governments of Canada and British Columbia, and the Lheidli T'enneh in relation to Environment Protection.

Culture and Heritage
Chapter 16 of the Agreement deals with culture and heritage, granting legislative capacity to the Lheidli T'enneh Government to develop laws in relation to the conservation, protection and management of cultural heritage resources, public access to heritage sites; the preservation, promotion, development and teaching of the local language and culture and the certification and accreditation of teachers of Lheidli T'enneh language and culture.

Chapter 17, the most substantial chapter in the Agreement, outlines the governance structures for the Lheidli T'enneh. This primarily includes the right to self-government and the authority to make laws, as set out within the Agreement.

These arrangements include granting of legal capacity to the Lheidli T'enneh with all the rights, privileges and powers of a natural person, including the ability to enter into contracts; acquire and hold property; raise, spend, invest and borrow money; sue and be sued and do other things ancillary. These rights are exercisable through the Lheidli T'enneh Government, which is to be established pursuant to Lheidli T'enneh law outlined in the Lheidli T'enneh constitution. This constitution will provide that the Lheidli T'enneh Government will be democratically elected, and contain provisions for a system of financial administration of the Lheidli T'enneh, for recognition and protection of right and for the exercise of all laws contained in this Agreement.

Chapter 17 also contains provisions for the establishment of a Lheidli T'enneh Legislature, with provides for the conditions under which members of the legislature are to be elected. Broadly, the chapter refers to the different areas in which the Lheidli T'enneh has capacity to make laws. These include:
• Laws with respect to government;
• Laws with respect to citizenships;
• Assets;
• Adoption;
• Child Custody;
• Child Protection Services; Aboriginal Healers;
• Health;
• Child Care;
• Kindergarten;
• Primary, secondary and post-secondary education;
• Emergency Preparedness;
• Regulation of Business;
• Public Order, Peace and Safety;
• Buildings and Structures; and
• Public works.

The Agreement also states that the Lheidli T'enneh Government is responsible for the enforcement of these laws, a responsibility which, by agreement, may be carried out by a federal or provincial enforcement agency. Provisions include the conferral of jurisdiction on the Provincial Court of British Columbia to hear prosecutions of offences under Lheidli T'enneh law. Chapter 18 excuses Lheidli T'enneh lands from the jurisdiction of adjoining local governments.

Financial Arrangements
Chapters 20 and 21 deal with financial considerations of the transition to Lheidli T'enneh self-government. Both the Federal Government and the Government of British Columbia acknowledge their own role in supporting the Lheidli T'enneh through direct or indirect financial support. This responsibility is to be met primarily through the Fiscal Financing Agreement, to be negotiated every five years. This Agreement will set out agreed upon Programs and Services and the financial responsibilities of each party to meeting those programs and services.

Chapter 21 outlines lump sum payments that are to be made by the Federal Government to the Lheidli T'enneh, including a $5,000,000 payment on the effectively date of the Agreement, followed by annual payments of $1,045,041 for ten years following the signing of the Agreement.
On 31 March 2007, the Treaty was put to vote and rejected by a majority of the Lheidli T’enneh. As such no ratification has properly taken place. At the same time, votes on the terms of a new constitution were successfully passed, though this is effectively meaningless without the ratification of the Treaty.

Related Entries

  • Lheidli T’enneh Band
  • Government of British Columbia - Signatory
  • British Columbia Treaty Commission
  • Government of Canada - Signatory
  • Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
  • Policy/Strategy
  • British Columbia Six - Stage Treaty Negotiation Process

  • Glossary

    First Nations People of Canada | Final Agreement (Canada) | Treaty (Canada)

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