Tsilhqot’in National Government-Government of BC
The Tsilhqot’in Stewardship Agreement is a strategic engagement agreement between the Province of BC and the Tsilhqot’in National Government (TNG), on behalf of participating members of Tsilhqot’in Nation, for shared decision-making on land and resource management.
Initially signed in 2009 (as the Tsilhqot’in Framework Agreement), the agreement, as updated, relates to lands within Tsilhqot’in traditional territory. The Government of British Columbia acknowledges that Aboriginal Rights exist within the area and that the agreement is a bridging step to a potential reconciliation of rights, titles and interests.
A pivotal component of the agreement is a process for notification and referral of natural resource development applications within the traditional territories of the member communities. The framework describes engagement requirements and the process for referral and review, which are dependent on region, type of application or activity, and potential impacts.
An impetus for the initial discussions between the Province of BC and these First Nations had been the findings in Tsilhqot’in Nation, a 2007 Supreme Court of BC case on Aboriginal rights and title in the Cariboo-Chilcotin. In 2012 the BC Court of Appeal upheld the Supreme Court decision insofar as affirming Aboriginal rights in the region. In June 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada recognized, for the first time in Canada, Aboriginal title to a specific tract of land that lie with the Tsilhqot’in traditional territory: see Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia, 2014 SCC 44.
The Fraser Basin Council has provided facilitation support for the process and currently facilitates the monthly meetings of the BC/Tsilhqot’in National Government Fish and Wildlife Panel. As an outcome of a 2016 Nenqay Dene Accord and the TNG Moose Co-management Agreement, the panel meets to share technical data and information, and discuss issues related to fish and wildlife in the region/territory.