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

Harrison Hot Springs country singer Todd Richard poses for a photo with Mission firefighters. (Photo/Sarah Plawutski)
VIDEO: Harrison country artist Todd Richard plans for a busy, rockin’ summer

Richard and his band look to live shows as restrictions start to lift

The theme for this year’s Fraser Valley Regional Library Summer Reading Club is “Crack the Case” and Katie Burns, community librarian at the Chilliwack Library, is encouraging people of all ages to sign up. She is seen here at the Chilliwack Library on Friday, June 18, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Crack the case, read, win prizes with FVRL Summer Reading Club

‘Immerse yourself in other worlds and have a bit of fun while you do it,’ says Chilliwack librarian

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Holger Schwichtenberg and his son Philip talk in the barn of the 150-acre Schwichtenberg farm. This farm is one of many throughout B.C. that support more than 12,500 jobs across the province in the dairy industry. (Contributed Photo/B.C. Dairy Association)
Agassiz dairy farm a model of care for environment, animals, and family

Farm is part of a dairy sector centred in the Fraser Valley, supporting 12,500 jobs province-wide

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

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

(Black Press Media files)
Burnaby RCMP look for witnesses in hit-and-run that left motorcyclist dead

Investigators believe that the suspect vehicle rear-ended the motorcycle before fleeing the scene

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

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

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

A police pursuit involving Abbotsford Police ended in Langley Saturday night, June 20. (Black Press Media file)
Abbotsford Police pursuit ends in Langley with guns drawn

One person arrested, witnesses say an officer may have been hurt in collision with suspect vehicle

Most Read