Five Island First Nations sign agreement-in-principle for treaty

Songhees First Nation Chief Ron Sam, centre, signs the agreement-in-principle before onlookers. - Andrea Peacock photo
Songhees First Nation Chief Ron Sam, centre, signs the agreement-in-principle before onlookers.
— image credit: Andrea Peacock photo

The Songhees Nation, along with four other southern Vancouver Island First Nations, signed an agreement-in-principle for land and cash.

The treaty also involved Beecher Bay, Malahat, T'Souke and Snaw-Naw.

The Te'mexw Treaty Association agreement-in-principle includes provisions for approximately 1,565 hectares of Crown land and transfers of approximately $142 million including a land fund for the 5 First Nations once final agreements are reached.

“We believe and hope that this signing will mark a commitment by Canada and British Columbia to do the hard work that will be needed to find solutions to problems that are ahead on the road to a modern treaty,” said Songhees Chief Ron Sam. “We need to find land that will not only serve as a source for economic benefit for our community, but also as a home for our growing community. For without land, there is no future.”

The agreement-in-principle is not a legally-binding agreement. It is the next stage of negotiations, which will lead to legally-binding final agreements with the five nations.

Songhees First Nation will receive the provincial capital commission headquarters in downtown Victoria.

The agreement-in-principle includes 27 chapters of issues such as governance, taxation and lands. It also outlines the processes for transition from the Indian Act to self-governance.

“These documents can be blank pages without meaning without the commitment of all parties, our nations, the federal government and the provincial government, to see them live and take flight,” said Sam.


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