New co-developed Consultation Protocol between Kitselas First Nation and Canada that will strengthen the stewardship of Kitselas Territory

KITSELAS FIRST NATION, BC, Feb. 23, 2024 /CNW/ – Today, Chief Glenn Bennett of Kitselas First Nation and the Honourable Gary Anandasangaree, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, celebrated the signing of a Consultation Protocol that sets out a clear and effective process to be followed whenever Canada contemplates conduct that may impact the Indigenous rights of Kitselas First Nation.

This Consultation Protocol will strengthen our respectful nation-to-nation relationship and help to establish a formal and streamlined consultation framework. Under this Protocol, Canada and Kitselas will meet in good faith to discuss contemplated federal activity, look at options to avoid or mitigate adverse impacts and establish accommodation measures where appropriate. Canada will work closely with Kitselas to implement this protocol in order to meet its duty to consult.

Implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act is the responsibility of the Government of Canada on the path toward reconciliation. That includes responding to measure #68 in the action plan: “Co-developing consultation arrangements with Indigenous partners that establish an agreed-upon duty to consult and engagement processes, in a manner that is consistent with self-determination objectives and free, prior and informed consent.”

Quotes

“On behalf of Kitselas ‘People of the Canyon,’ I am honoured to sign the Consultation Protocol. Kitselas was known as the Toll Keepers. I wish to acknowledge Mr. Chris Apps, Director of Lands and Resources, and Mr. John Balough, Senior Advisor. The Consultation Protocol gives Kitselas a meaningful opportunity to have a say in what Kitselas sees as being important to Kitselas. Reconciliation is important to all Indigenous Peoples.”

Chief Glenn Bennett
Kitselas First Nation

“For millennia, the people of Kitselas have cared for the lands and waters of their traditional territory. Today’s Protocol lays out a clear process to ensure this stewardship can continue for the many generations to come. This agreement will help us meet our duty to consult while upholding the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples—a promise we made to Indigenous Peoples as we move forward together on the path of reconciliation.”

The Honourable Gary Anandasangaree
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

Quick facts

  • Kitselas First Nation is located in northwest British Columbia, surrounding the City of Terrace and the Skeena River, with a population of approximately 700 members.
  • Kitselas First Nation is also negotiating a Modern Treaty and is currently in stage 5 (final agreement) of the British Columbia Treaty Commission’s six-stage negotiation process. The Protocol will effectively operate in parallel with future Modern Treaty and Self-Government Agreements once it is concluded.
  • This Protocol does not constitute a treaty or land claims agreement within the meaning of section 25 or 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, or, affirm, recognize, abrogate or derogate from any Kitselas Rights.

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SOURCE Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada