Dr. Joseph Gosnell, chief negotiator of the Nisga’a treaty, visits the B.C. legislature in 2014. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press Media)

Nisga’a celebrate 19 years of self-government in B.C. legislature

Premier John Horgan congratulates pioneers of first modern treaty

Nisga’a dancers led a procession into the B.C. legislature’s hall of honour Thursday to celebrate the 19th anniversary of the northwest B.C. Indigenous nation’s creation by the first modern-day treaty in Canada.

Premier John Horgan welcomed the delegation, along with Advanced Education Minister Melanie Mark, the third Nisga’a citizen to sit as an MLA. Horgan acknowledged the pioneering role of Frank Calder and Larry Guno, who both served as MLAs for the remote region as the long struggle for recognition carried on for a century.

“It was in 1887 that the ancestors of the Nisga’a who are here today left the Nass Valley and came to this building, came to this institution, and were told to go away by the premier of the day,” Horgan said.

“They had come to settle what was called at that time the land question, and for the next 100 years, the Nisga’a went to England, they went to Ottawa, they came back to Victoria, pressing their case for their territory to be re-established. Territory that they had been on for thousands of years, territory that was unquestionably theirs. And it was in the late 1990s that a treaty was signed.”

READ MORE: Joseph Gosnell named chancellor of UNBC

READ MORE: Nisga’a Nation proving their critics wrong

Horgan also read remarks made by Nisga’a chief negotiator Joseph Gosnell in the legislature in 1998 when the treaty was finally ratified by B.C. and Canada.

“I’m talking about the Nisga’a treaty, a triumph, I believe, for all British Columbians and a beacon of hope for aboriginal people around the world,” Gosnell said.

“As British Columbians, as Canadians, I believe we should all be very proud. It’s a triumph because, under the treaty, the Nisga’a people will join Canada and British Columbia as free citizens, full and equal partners in the social and economic and political life of this province, and indeed this country.

“It’s a triumph because, under the treaty, we will no longer be wards of the state, no longer beggars in our own lands, and it’s a triumph because under the treaty, we will collectively own 22,000 square km of land, far exceeding the postage stamp reserve that was set aside for us by colonial governments.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Harrison officials carefully monitoring E.coli levels in lagoon

Levels testing unusually high for this time of year, officials say

Chilliwack RCMP heard gunfire en route to suspicous activity

Chilliwack man, 42, sent to hospital after shooting, RCMP have confirmed

Hundreds fill Chilliwack streets for Black Lives Matter march

‘Canada has a problem too,’ reads at least one protester’s sign

IHIT names homicide victim found in the Fraser Canyon this week

Police asking for tips into the suspicious death of 29-year-old Alicia Berg

Flock on vacation

The sun sets over Harrison and its feathered residents

Trudeau offers $14B to provinces for anti-COVID-19 efforts through rest of year

Making a difference in municipalities is a pricey proposition

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Friends, family mourn Salt Spring Island woman killed in suspected murder-suicide

A GoFundMe comapaign has been launched for Jennifer Quesnel’s three sons

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

‘Alarmed’: Health critic calls for more data on COVID-19 in trucking industry

Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec said that level of detail is not being collected

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Most Read