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

Governance Sub Table

Coming Soon

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:

  • Establishing the Tsilhqot'in Solar Farm
  • Acquiring the roads maintenance contract for the region
  • Developing a Clean Energy Action Plan

Documents

Agreements, summaries, maps, and historical documents can be found here.

Place Names

Coming Soon

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 government to government negotiation that outlines a connected way of supporting the vision of the Tsilhqot’in Nation within the Tsilhqot’in territory.

A high level vision for the Accord sets out eight “pillars” of reconciliation that the Province and the Tsilhqot’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. Tsilhqot’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 Tsilhqot’in Citizens. After the Supreme Court of Canada recognized that the Tsilhqot’in do in fact hold Aboriginal title to their lands the provincial government agreed to find a better path forward. The Accord is the first of it’s kind, giving hope to all First Nations that agreements for the benefit of the people are possible.

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

Through negotiations, the Tsilhqot’in will be establishing an increase in the management role of land within the Tsilhqot’in Territory. This will be done by the Tsilhqot’in Communities who will choose geographic areas within the territory to begin negotiations to transfer these lands to the full ownership and control (similar to the Declared Title Area) of the Tsilhqot’in. There will be strategic land use planning on the remainder of the Tsilhqot’in territory which means there will be an increase in decision making power on the rest of the Tsilhqot’in territory.  This may be the most difficult and lengthy part of negotiations under the Accord.

Why does the map to the Tsilhqot’in territory cover so much area?

In 2003, having to follow a process that was not traditional to us, we filed our territory map to protect against a 6 year limitation period after Delgamuukw, like many other BC First Nations had to at that time as well.  This was a protective measure. The Accord map does not create or extend our territory in any way. In fact, the map area was reduced as a result of Tsilhqot’in community meetings from east of the Fraser in July of 2015 to reduce the overlap with the Northern Secwepemc.

How is this different than a Treaty?

First, the funding provided in treaty is in the form of loans. The funding for negotiations under the Accord is given to the Nation from BC, without any bill being provided to the Nation.

Second, the selection of lands for each Tsilhqot’in Community will NOT be done solely by strength of claim (as is done with Treaty). The lands will be selected by Tsilhqot’in interests.

Third, timelines for the Accord are short (5 years total), creating change faster.

Fourth, within the Accord there is no surrender of Aboriginal 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 providing resources to the Tsilhqot’in;
  • An Agreement that protects Tsilhqot’in Title, Rights & cultural values;
  • An Agreement for the entire Tsilhqot’in territory;
  • A way to have more say over what happens on the land and in our communities.
 
  • Not a final Agreement;
  • Not a Treaty or anything that can take away Tsilhqot’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. As of 2016, Canada has agreed to be involved in negotiations. The Tsilhqot’in have outlined a process for this to occur. For now, that process is separate from the Accord in order to establish a relationship. 

Even though Canada is not a signatory of the Accord, there will be areas that they will be involved in regardless.

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