President of the Tahltan Central Government, Chad Norman Day, surveys Tahltan territory by helicopter in this July 2019 handout photo. The Tahltan Nation and the British Columbia government have struck what officials say is a historic agreement for shared decision-making for the nation’s territory in northwestern B.C., a hot spot for mineral exploration. Day says the deal shows they are “getting closer and closer to a true nation-to-nation relationship.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Tahltan Central Government

President of the Tahltan Central Government, Chad Norman Day, surveys Tahltan territory by helicopter in this July 2019 handout photo. The Tahltan Nation and the British Columbia government have struck what officials say is a historic agreement for shared decision-making for the nation’s territory in northwestern B.C., a hot spot for mineral exploration. Day says the deal shows they are “getting closer and closer to a true nation-to-nation relationship.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Tahltan Central Government

Tahltan Nation, B.C. government sign agreement for shared decision-making

Deal commits the province and the northwest B.C. nation to developing a land-use plan

A new agreement between the Tahltan Nation and the British Columbia government will help ensure sensitive areas aren’t open to development, while providing greater certainty for everyone, says the president of the nation’s central government.

Tahltan territory spans a region in northwestern B.C. known for its mineral deposits and some mining and exploration claims surround the nation’s communities and burial sites, Chad Norman Day told a news conference on Thursday.

“We’ve been grappling with those for years because we didn’t have the relationship and the structure that we’re going to have through the (Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act) and through agreements like this,” he said.

The act sets a framework for the B.C. government to strike agreements with Indigenous nations when decisions are being made that affect their territories.

Day said the success of the 2019 declaration act depends on how it’s implemented and he’s aiming to develop best practices through the Tahltan’s new agreement.

Nathan Cullen, the minister of state for lands and natural resource operations, said the partnership is “making the words that are written in that act closer to reality.”

The B.C. government is providing $20 million to support economic development and the implementation of the deal that commits the province and the nation to developing a land-use plan with the first phase due by 2023. It also commits to testing new permitting processes for mining and mineral exploration.

Day said he’s looking forward to getting more land certainty through the planning process, and to finding agreement on the process with the province before development does take place.

The deal commits to accelerating negotiations for an “economic-oriented” reconciliation agreement and to seeking federal participation in those talks.

It also includes cultural and health elements, enhanced consent-based decision-making and recognition for Tahltan title and rights in their territory, Cullen said.

Murray Rankin, the minister of Indigenous relations and reconciliation, said the agreement represents a significant step forward in building a government-to-government relationship and supporting the Tahltan in regaining its sovereignty.

The agreement acknowledges that economic growth and the development of a world-class mining region can only be achieved with continued progress in other areas and aligned with the declaration act, the province said in a news release.

The Tahltan Central Government has voiced opposition to the way jade and placer mining take place in its territory, citing concerns over environmental impacts and a lack of revenue sharing.

The province has paused new permits for such operations while it works with the nation to figure out next steps, Cullen said.

Earlier this year, the Tahltan Nation and the province also announced the creation of a new 35-square-kilometre conservancy next to Mount Edziza Provincial Park, which saw Skeena Resources Ltd. return mineral tenures for its claim in the area.

— by Brenna Owen, The Canadian Press

RELATED: Remote Tahltan community faces uncertainty with no ‘real’ timeline on Telegraph Creek Road

Just Posted

People at the beach in front of Discovery Bay Resort on Tuesday, July 14. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Heat wave forecast for Okanagan-Shuswap

Temperatures are forecast to hit record breaking highs this week

The Crofton trailer park home where the bodies of two people were found. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Kelowna mom still waiting for answers after daughter and her fiance found dead

Pair discovered in their Vancouver Island home in May identified as Rachel Gardner and Paul Jenkins

Central Programs and Services on Richter Street.
COVID-19 exposure at Central Programs and Services

Interior Health annouces a COVID-19 exposure within Central Okanagan Schools

Tony Costa/ Facebook
UPDATE: Out-of-control fire burning above Peachland

The blaze sparked on Sunday and is believed to be lightning caused

(Dave Ogilvie/Contributed)
Injured mountain biker rescued in West Kelowna

The mountain biker reportedly has a hip injury about 1 km up the Smith Creek Road trail

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

The Sacred Hearts church on PIB land burned Monday morning. (Theresa May Jack/Facebook)
UPDATE: Two churches on band land in South Okanagan burn to the ground

Sacred Hearts church on Penticton Indian Band land was reduced to rubble

Tl’etinqox-lead ceremony at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., June 18, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘We are all one people’: Honouring residential school victims and survivors

Love, support and curiousity: Canadians urged to learn about residential schools and their impact

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Indigenous rights and climate activists gathered outside Liberty Mutual’s office in Vancouver to pressure the insurance giant to stop covering Trans Mountain. (Photo by Andrew Larigakis)
Activists work to ensure Trans Mountain won’t get insurance

Global campaign urging insurance providers to stay away from Canadian pipeline project

In the first election with public money replacing corporate or union donations, B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau and B.C. NDP leader John Horgan take part in election debate at the University of B.C., Oct. 13, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. MLAs ponder 2022 ‘sunset’ of subsidy for political parties

NDP, B.C. Fed call for increase, B.C. Liberals have no comment

Investigators use a bucket to help recover human remains at a home burned in the Camp fire, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, in Magalia, Calif. Many of the missing in the deadly Northern California wildfire are elderly residents in Magalia, a forested town of about 11,000 north of the destroyed town of Paradise. (AP Photo/John Locher)
‘Forever War’ with fire has California battling forests instead

Five of the state’s largest-ever blazes seared California last year, as authorities tackle prevention

The Sacred Hearts church on PIB land burned Monday morning. (Theresa May Jack Facebook)
Church burns on Penticton Indian Band land

The fire started around 1:30 a.m. Monday morning

Most Read