In discussions with other First Nations, we had been hearing about Core Treaties and thought it would be worth exploring what a Core Treaty might look like.
Yes, we were close to finalizing a treaty and have made significant progress on some issues including:
- Loan forgiveness
- Negotiations on the costs of government activities
- Transfer of the Goose Spit
- Removal of Extinguishment
- Preservation of the Duty to Consult
- Recognition of Rights
- Periodic Renewal
However, there are still many unresolved issues. For example, we still do not have the final land and cash offer from BC and Canada, nor do we have anything close to an acceptable fish offer. We have also not secured the timber volume we have been seeking. And, we had also proposed a co-management arrangement for the entire traditional territory and have not yet received a substantive response from BC and Canada.
So while most of the chapter work is complete, and we have done well on most of our “Winning Conditions” there are still outstanding issues related to the treaty assets because the Crown has failed to come forward on some very important elements.
In addition, there are several new areas that we have been waiting to see evolve. For example, BC is supposed to introduce legislation linked with the UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), and BC, Canada and the First Nations Summit have negotiated a new treaty policy (Recognition and Reconciliation of Rights Policy for Treaty Negotiations in British Columbia) and we need to see how this evolves in order to determine if there is something in these new developments that we can take advantage of. While the K’omoks negotiating team has done well in anticipating what changes these new policies might bring, and we have advanced language related to Recognition of Rights, Periodic Renewal, Self-Government/Determination and Co-management, we need to allow the new emerging policy framework time to unfold.