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March 3, 2007
On March 27-28, 2007 the CSTC hosted a 2-day TREATY FORUM to discuss recent developments regarding treaty negotiations between the CSTC, Canada and BC. This event was well attended with over 200 CSTC members (including a large youth contingent) for each day in the Kwah Hall in Nak’azdli (Fort St. James).
While this forum was not a public meeting, senior officials from the government (Canada, British Columbia) and the BC Treaty Commission (BCTC) attended the forum on the 27th to listen to opening presentations from Tribal Chief David Luggi, CSTC Chief Negotiator Grand Chief Edward John, CSTC Chiefs and concerned grassroots CSTC members. Members of the CSTC First Nations affirmed their position that was enunciated in the CSTC’s 1982 Declaration and Claim submission to the then Federal Claims Commission. The provincial, federal and BCTC officials were given an opportunity to present their perspectives and address some issues raised. Afterwards, an open floor discussion took place, which spilled over into the second day.The main points of the Tribal Chief’s presentation were:
Federal Government Policy Framework
- A formula based template that is applied in uniformity across BC;
- The policy has remained consistent since its original development in the late 1970’s and adoption in the 1980’s;
- All 20 existing modern day treaties in Canada have subscribed to the framework;
- No recognition of Aboriginal rights and involves surrender of Aboriginal title;
- Power imbalance; Governments have much more funding resources than CSTC;
- BC and Canada spend a combined $52 million a year on negotiations BC wide and have a combined staff 140 and CSTC struggles with an average of $1.5 million of loan funding to support it’s negotiations;
- The underpinnings of the federal government’s existing negotiations policy is the 1969 “White Paper”.
Costs to CSTC
- Loan funding for CSTC is currently at $14,582,000;
- Contribution funding is currently at $3,645,586;
- Total loan and contribution funding is $18,227,929;
- Negotiations have not resulted in a treaty.
During the 28th, a unanimous vote was made by the CSTC membership to abandon the BCTC process. The BCTC process is not capable of resolving the CSTC governance and land grievances. Clear direction was given to the CSTC Chiefs and Staff, from the present community members, that the framework for treaty negotiations currently being used by BC and Canada is not working.
For more information contact Anita Louie, 250-562-6279.
This article comes from NationTalk:
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