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“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

Nisga’a Treaty Agreement Marks Its 20th Anniversary

The Nisg̱aa Final Agreement, British Columbias first modern treaty, came into effect 20 years ago today.

Eva Clayton, President, Nisg̱aa Lisims Government

On this special milestone day, may we remember the generations of Nisg̱aa men and women who worked tirelessly over 113 years for the just and honourable settlement we achieved on May 11, 2000. May we continue to work steadfastly for the prosperity and improved quality of life of Nisg̱aa for generations yet to come.


For the Nisg̱aa people, May 11, 2000, marked the end of a 113-year journey and the first steps toward a brighter future. The Nisg̱aa Final Agreement is the first treaty in British Columbia to provide constitutional certainty in respect of an Indigenous peoples Section 35 right to self-government.


The Treaty recognizes Nisgaa Lands (2,000 square kilometres), secures Nisg̱aa hunting and fishing rights in the Nass Wildlife Area and Nass Area respectively, and has opened the door for joint economic initiatives in the responsible, sustainable development of the Nisg̱aa Nations natural resources benefiting the Nisg̱aa, as well as their fellow British Columbians and Canadians.


John Horgan, Premier of British Columbia –

Twenty years is a significant milestone. An entire generation of Nisg̱aa young people have grown up as members of a self-governing treaty nation. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic means we cant be together to recognize this special day for the Nisga’a community and the Province, but in honour of Nisg̱aa Day and the government-to-government relationship weve built together over two decades, the Nisgaa flag is flying in the Hall of Honour at the B.C. Parliament Buildings. I thank the Nisg̱aa Lisims Government for its leadership and congratulate all Nisgaa people on this anniversary.


An example of hope, trust and co-operation, the Nisg̱aa Final Agreement is being studied by governments and Indigenous peoples the world over.

Today, the Nisg
̱aa Nation includes more than 7,600 people residing primarily in the Nisga’a villages of Gingolx, Laxgalts’ap, Gitwinksihlkw and Gitlaxt’aamiks (formerly New Aiyansh) on British Columbia’s northwest coast, as well as in Terrace, Prince Rupert/Port Edward and throughout the Lower Mainland.


Scott Fraser, B.C.’s Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation –

Two decades ago, the Nisg̱aa people charted a new path on their journey of self-governance. At the same time, B.C. and Nisg̱aa reset our relationship to focus on reconciliation, supporting an even-better life for Nisgaa communities and people. I congratulate the Nisg̱aa leadership on the social, cultural and economic successes of the past 20 years, and look forward to the good work we will do together in the future.”


With the land question settled and their rights secure, the Nisg̱aa have been busy building their government and institutions, as well as facilitating development, including BC Hydros 335-kilometre, 287-kilovolt Northwest Transmission Line; the Long Lake Hydroelectric Project, a 31-megawatt power generation facility; and the Brucejack Mine, an underground gold and silver mine operated by Pretium Resources Inc.


Each of these projects has generated employment, business opportunities and revenue.


While the 20th anniversary gathering has been postponed due to the COVID-19 crisis, the governments of Canada, British Columbia and the Nisg̱aa Nation partners in the Treaty seek to remind the world of what can be achieved together.


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