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

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. Northern Health confirmed it has the lowest vaccination rates amongst the province’s five regional health authorities. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Vaccination rates in Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake, Fort St James well below provincial average

COVID-19 immunization clinics for youth 12+ coming up in Fort St. James

Steve McAdam (left) is studying substrate conditions in the Nechako River and how they impact sturgeon eggs. The work will help design habitat restoration measures, said McAdam. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
Sturgeon egg studies to help inform future habitat restoration

“It’s an interesting, challenging issue,” says Steve McAdam

Saik’uz First Nation Coun. Jasmine Thomas and Chief Priscilla Mueller speak about the need for addiction treatment facility near Vanderhoof, March 2021. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Vanderhoof addiction treatment centre tries again with ministry support

Agriculture minister insists she is not interfering in land commission

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read