Nenqay Deni Accord

BC/TNG Joint Message from Nenqay Deni Accord

For countless generations before the arrival of settlers, the ʔEsggidam, ancestors of the Tsilhqot’in, thrived in the Chilcotin as a powerful nation, guided by the wisdom of their legends and the laws.

The ʔEsggidam were healthy and strong – as individuals, families, communities and a Nation.  They had a rich culture and deep spiritual connection with the lands and resources that sustained their people.

With the arrival of Europeans came a dark chapter.  Tsilhqot’in history speaks of the intentional spread of smallpox eradicating entire families and villages. The Nation successfully waged war against the colonial government in 1864, and when Tsilhqot’in war Chiefs entered the camp of the colonial militia under a flag of truce to negotiate peace, they were betrayed, wrongly arrested and tried for murder.  Six Chiefs were hanged.

In the decades that followed, the Tsilhqot’in faced an onslaught: the taking of their lands, the devastating impacts of the residential school system, the imposition of the Indian Act, and mass apprehension of their children.

On October 23, 2014, Premier Christy Clark apologized for the wrongful hanging of the six Tsilhqot’in war chiefs and confirmed the full exoneration of the chiefs to the extent of the Province’s ability.

This redress marked a first step toward reconciliation with the Tsilhqot’in Nation and reinforced the importance of working together to build a better future and address the continuing challenges associated with colonization and Indian residential schools.

Despite historical wrongs and continuing challenges, the Tsilhqot’in people remain strong and resilient. Their culture and connection to their lands is powerful, alive, and grows stronger each day.

On June 26, 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada declared Aboriginal title in the caretaker area of the Xeni Gwet’in, one of six Tsilhqot’in communities. The court decision was the first of its kind and the implications for the Tsilhqot’in and all British Columbians are immense.

Since the ruling, the provincial government and the Tsilhqot’in have focused on developing a solid government-to-government relationship aimed at achieving economic sustainability and improving the social well-being of the Tsilhqot’in communities.   Reducing conflict on the land and closing the socio-economic gap between the Tsilhqot’in people and non-Aboriginal British Columbians is of paramount importance.

The Tsilhqot’in vision is to fully restore their Nation to the power of the ʔEsggidam.   They enter reconciliation negotiations as one step on that path.

Together the Tsilhqot’in and the Government of British Columbia call upon all British Columbians to support us working as true partners to see the Tsilhqot’in people restored to their rightful place, sharing fully in the wealth and benefits of this beautiful Province.

Working in partnership, the Province and the Tsilhqot’in have created a reconciliation framework agreement to define the next phase of negotiations which will address the interests of both parties in Tsilhqot’in territory and help bring the court decision to life. The agreement defines a role for Canada in the reconciliation process and commits both parties to engaging the federal government in this important work.

This reconciliation framework agreement outlines the next steps including immediately addressing priority areas such as governance, economic development, justice, health, education, social issues, and land and resource management. Reconciliation is challenging and important; it requires discussion, consensus-building and negotiation, but it is the only option that brings the real possibility of transformation, healing and growth.

A tremendous opportunity stands before all of us, if we can overcome conflict and truly recognize and celebrate our different cultures, laws and governance, and our responsibilities to our lands and our future generations.

It is our sincere hope that this Agreement offers an opportunity for healing and for building a better Province, for the Tsilhqot’in people and all British Columbians.

Sub-tables

The Nenqay Deni Accord outlines five Sub-Tables with the responsibility to guide progress under the Accord in specific areas. These areas include:

  1. Social, Cultural, Education and Justice
  2. Governance
  3. Lands and Resources
  4. Declared Title Area Implementation
  5. Economic Development

Tsilhqot’in Ch’ih Gudzɨsh

Tŝilhqotin Place Names

Section 12.43 to 12.48 of the Nenqay Deni Accord outlines the mandate for the Province of BC to work with the Tŝilhqot’in Nation to recognize the Tŝilhqot’in names for our places. Part of this recognition means working with the Province of BC to recognize that Tŝilhqot’in names have been tied to Tŝilhqot’in landscapes for millennia before explorers, prospectors, settlers and surveyors ever stepped foot on the Chilcotin Plateau.

Achieving these desired results means working on several levels and taking several steps. Names that are tied to places require computerized mapping software to hold the information safe and be able to present it in the correct location whenever a map needs to be made.

TNG is confident in most of the place names for major yeqox (rivers), biny (lakes), dẑelh (mountains), tl’ech’id (meadows), qwen-towh (communities), ʔunqay (fishing areas), and so on. With support and direction from each of the Tŝilhqot’in communities, TNG is beginning to submit these digital files (including the name and spelling, location, and some other background info) to the provincial government. The names submitted as of May 2018, and their statuses, are:

     
  • Tl’esqox [Community] (Adopted - Official)
  • ʔEsdilagh [Community] (Adopted - Official)
  • Tŝi Deldel [Community] (Adopted - Official)
  • Xeni [Community] (Adopted - Official)
  • Tl’etinqox [Community] (Adopted - Official)
  • Yuneŝit’in [Community] (Adopted - Official)
  • Naghatalhchuẑ Biny [Lake] (Submitted)
  • Lhuy Nachasgwen Gunlin Biny [Lake] (Submitted)
  • Xexti Biny [Lake] (Submitted)
 
  • Ts'uniʔad Biny [Lake] (Submitted)Tsanlgen Biny [Lake] (Submitted)
  • Nataŝeŵed Biny [Lake] (Submitted)
  • Gwedzin Biny [Lake] (Submitted)
  • Biny Gwechugh [Lake] (Submitted)
  • Xeni Biny [Lake] (Submitted)
  • Tŝ'ilʔoŝ [Mountain] (Submitted)
  • Tŝilhqox Biny [Lake] (Submitted)
  • Telhiqox Biny [Lake] (Submitted)
  • Tachelach'ed [Locality] (Submitted)

 

We have been meeting with many Tŝilhqot’in knowledge keepers over the past few months and we will be submitting more Tŝilhqot’in place names from outside the Declared Title Area as soon as possible. This is an ongoing process. If you want to be involved or know someone that would like to be involved, please feel free to call or email Shane Doddridge who is coordinating this project.

Shane Doddridge, TNG Geographic Information Systems Technician, E-mail: shane@tsilhqotin.ca Phone: 250-392-3918

Governance Sub-Table

The Governance Sub-Table is currently working on developing the Tsilhqot’in Consitution based on the traditional knowledge of Tŝilhqot’in Citizens and Elders. This process is ongoing with specific discussions occuring in communities. If you are a Tsihqot’in Citizen and would like to be a part of these discussions, please contact Shawnee Palmantier at 778-799-2145.

Economic Development Sub-Table

The Economic Development sub-table is tasked with starting to develop a sustainable economic base for the Tŝilhqot'in Territory. This begins with an economic action plan for the area. Our current Sub-Table Manager is working on the following:

Documents

Agreements, summaries, maps, and historical documents can be found here.

Lands & Resources

Coming Soon

Social Sub-Table

Coming Soon

Declared Title Area Implementation

Coming Soon

Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is the Nenqay Deni Accord?

The Nenqay Deni Accord (the Accord) is a “made-in-Tŝilhqot’in” agreement signed on February 11, 2016 that sets out a five-year framework for discussions between British Columbia and the Tŝilhqot’in Nation to advance and achieve a lasting reconciliation for the Tsilhqot’in peoples.

The Accord sets out eight “pillars” of reconciliation that the Province and the Tŝilhqot’in will work to achieve:

  1. Tsilhqot’in Governance;
  2. Strong Tsilhqot’in Culture and Language;
  3. Healthy Children and Families;
  4. Healthy Communities;
  5. Justice;
  6. Education and Training;
  7. Tŝilhqot’in Management Role for Lands and Resources in Tsilhqot’in Territory; and
  8. Sustainable Economic Base.

 

Why was the Accord developed?

The Accord was developed as a way to try to create a better future for Tŝilhqot’in Citizens. After the Supreme Court of Canada recognized that the Tŝilhqot’in hold Aboriginal title to their lands, British Columbia and the Tŝilhqot’in Nation agreed to find a better path forward. The Accord is the first of its kind, developed jointly by British Columbia and the Tŝilhqot’in Nation, based directly on the input from the Tŝilhqot’in communities about their priorities and aspirations.

 

How will these negotiations affect the land that I use for my livelihood within the Tŝilhqot’in Territory?

The Accord includes a number of ways to recognize the role of the Tŝilhqot'in as caretakers of the lands within the Tŝilhqot’in Territory. Tŝilhqot’in Communities will have the opportunity to identify geographic areas within the territory as a starting point for negotiations to transfer these lands to the full ownership and control (similar to the Declared Title Area) of the Tŝilhqot’in. There will be strategic land use planning and other efforts on the remainder of the Tŝilhqot’in territory to make sure the Tŝilhqot’in have a meaningful role in deciding how lands and resources are managed, and that Tŝilhqot’in values are respected.  British Columbia and the Tŝilhqot’in Nation have committed to developing new structures and processes for land management that reflect the principles of free, prior informed consent, as set out in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

 

How was the map of Tŝilhqotin Territory in the Accord determined?

The map of Tŝilhqot’in Territory in the Accord is taken from the Aboriginal title claim filed by the Tŝilhqot’in Nation in 2003. Like many First Nations, the Tŝilhqot’in filed this Aboriginal title claim to protect against a potential 6 year limitation period after the Delgamuukw judgment as a protective measure. The Tŝilhqot’in Nation recognizes that the Accord map of Tŝilhqot’in Territory overlaps with the asserted Aboriginal title and rights of neighbouring First Nations and is actively taking steps to try to resolve these boundary issues in a positive way.

 

How is this different than a Treaty?

First, the Accord is not part of the modern treaty process.  It was negotiated as a “one-of-a-kind” framework for negotiations that is directly shaped by the Tŝilhqot’in communities.  It is a “made-in-Tŝilhqot’in” agreement and process.

Second, the funding provided in treaty is in the form of loans. The funding for negotiations under the Accord is provided to the Nation from BC, and does not take the form of loan to the Nation.

Third, the Accord commits British Columbia and the Tŝilhqot’in Nation to make progress and show results in critical areas for the Tŝilhqot’in peoples, even as the longer-term negotiations continue.

Fourth, the Accord does not call for the surrender, modification or extinguishment of Aboriginal title.  The Accord is based on the recognition of Tŝilhqot’in Aboriginal rights and title and not the surrender of any rights or title.

The Accord is…

 

The Accord is NOT...

  • An Agreement between BC and the Nation to a process of improving the lives and lands of the Tsilhqot’in – a first step to achieving lasting reconciliation for the Tŝilhqot’in;
  • An Agreement that protects Tŝilhqot’in Title, Rights & cultural values;
  • An Agreement for the entire Tŝilhqot’in territory;
  • A way to have more say over what happens on the land and in our communities.
 
  • Not a final Agreement or modern treaty;
  • Not an agreement that can take away Tŝilhqot’in Title, Rights or ways of life;
  • The “Declared Title Area” is not being negotiated;
  • Not a way for the BC Government to have more control over the Tŝilhqot’in.

 

Why didn’t the Federal Government sign onto the Accord as well?

During the development of the Accord, the Federal Government did not have the direction from the Prime Minister to be involved in negotiations.

On January 27, 2017, the Federal Government and the Tŝilhqot’in Nation signed a Letter of Understanding, setting out the framework for initial reconciliation discussions between Canada and the Tŝilhqot’in Nation.  Going forward, we expect collaborative work from British Columbia, Canada and the Tŝilhqot’in Nation where needed to advance reconciliation and improve the lives of the Tŝilhqot’in Communities and Citizens.

How do I get more information?

You may inquire by phone to the TNG Negotiations & External Affairs branch at (778) 799-2145 or by email at myanna@tsilhqotin.ca.

Communication Questionnaire

Communication Questionnaire Coming Soon