B.C., shíshálh Nation will negotiate joint decision-making agreement

August 2, 2022 at 10:25 am  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

The shíshálh Nation and the Province of British Columbia are starting negotiations on the first joint decision-making agreement to be negotiated under Section 7 of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (Declaration Act).

The agreement, when negotiated, will apply to decisions on dock tenures in the shíshálh swiya (territory/birthplace/world) and builds upon the current model for making shared decisions on dock tenures created in 2018.

“Agreements under the Declaration Act are a powerful and important way to recognize Indigenous jurisdiction and decision-making authority,” said Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. “Our work with shíshálh is a tangible example of B.C.’s commitment to changing our relationship with Indigenous Peoples. Given our strong partnership and history of working together, the proposed negotiations are a natural evolution of how we manage docks together. If we are successful, the agreement will support existing shíshálh self-government and advance a new model for working together with Indigenous Peoples on decisions that affect them.”

The agreement will support ongoing work to achieve long-term comprehensive reconciliation and land-use predictability by providing transparent requirements for dock applicants, mitigating ecological impacts to the foreshore, protecting archeological resources, and advancing collaborative management of shíshálh swiya.

“This is another important step forward in the evolution of the shíshálh-B.C. relationship and an advancement in reconciliation,” said Hiwus Warren Paull. “Joint decision-making is the way of the future and is the natural next stage in our decision-making processes. We are proud of the work we are doing and the relationship we are continuing to build with B.C. We look forward to the work ahead.”

Currently, provincial authorizations for dock tenures in shíshálh swiya are reviewed through a B.C.-shíshálh shared decision-making model where statutory decision-making authority remains with the Province. This shared decision-making process also implements the Pender Harbour dock management plan, jointly developed in 2018 by shíshálh and the Province.

“The Pender Harbour dock management plan was an important step toward creating a respectful, standardized and transparent process for protecting natural and archeological sites along the foreshore,” said Nicholas Simons, MLA for Powell River and Sunshine Coast. “I’m looking forward to a full joint decision-making agreement where shíshálh and the Province  equally share in the responsibility for sustainable development while ensuring heritage and environmental values are preserved for the generations to come.”

Section 7 of the Declaration Act sets out provisions for negotiating joint and consent-based decision-making agreements for the purposes of reconciliation.

Provisions for engagement with local governments and potentially affected stakeholders are ensured as part of the negotiation of Section 7 decision-making agreements. A final list of stakeholders to be consulted will be confirmed and made public within 15 days.

Quotes:

Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests –

“Ensuring the protection of the environmental and archeological treasures that exist in shíshálh territory is so important,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests. “The shíshálh Nation has been a great partner in this process, and this Declaration Act will provide the foundation for further collaboration and partnership in the management of these waters.”

Josie Osbourne, Minister of Land, Water and Resource Stewardship –

“Over the past number of years, the groundwork has been set for this unique joint decision-making agreement. Together, B.C. and shíshálh have built transparent decision-making processes based on a recognition of shíshálh‘s rights, grounded in science, and consistent with the principles of administrative fairness. I am excited to see these collaborations continue to blossom in the years and decades to come.”

Darnelda Siegers, chair, Sunshine Coast Regional District –

“The Sunshine Coast Regional District, along with other local governments on the Sunshine Coast, look forward to engaging with the Province of British Columbia and the shíshálh Nation throughout this process.”

Quick Facts:

  • shíshálh Nation is located on the Sechelt Peninsula on the Sunshine Coast, 50 kilometres northwest of Vancouver.
  • This agreement builds on work underway to advance shared decision-making in shíshálh territory since 2017, including the Foundation Agreement signed between B.C. and shíshálh in 2018.
  • On Nov. 28, 2019, the Declaration Act was passed into law and B.C. became the first jurisdiction in Canada to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Learn More:

shíshálh Nation: www.shishalh.com/

B.C. government shíshálh site: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/natural-resource-stewardship/consulting-with-first-nations/first-nations-negotiations/first-nations-a-z-listing/sechelt-sh-sh-lh-first-nation

Declaration Act: https://declaration.gov.bc.ca/

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