Treaty vote flawed, says B.C. Treaty Commission

A final treaty agreement is tantalizingly close for the In-SHUCK-ch First Nation, the first to formally join the B.C. treaty process back in 1993.

A final treaty agreement is tantalizingly close for the In-SHUCK-ch First Nation, the first to formally join the B.C. treaty process back in 1993.

But one of the three bands that make up the nation in the Lillooet Valley north of Harrison Lake pulled out of treaty talks last January after holding a referendum the B.C. Treaty Commission now says was flawed.

“The results of the (referendum) did not determine the will of a majority of Douglas First Nation members, as only 38 per cent participated in the vote,” treaty commissioner Dave Haggard said in a Jan. 12 letter to Douglas Chief Don Harris.

Haggard said the DFN must now decide whether to hold another referendum and ask its members if they want to return to the treaty table. Or abide by last year’s Jan. 30 vote and remain outside the process – in which case the nation would still be liable for its share of the In-SHUCK-ch treaty debt.

Gerard Peters, In-SHUCK-ch chief negotiator, said all the concerns that led to the DFN leadership pulling out of the treaty talks have now been addressed in the draft agreement.

But neither he nor the commission have been able to meet formally with the DFN leadership to discuss the changes, which include requirements for majority votes by each band before the treaty is ratified, and measures to protect each band’s post-treaty governance and economic arrangements.

Chief Harris could not be reached for comment this week, but in an earlier interview he told The Progress the nation’s concerns involved being “outnumbered” by the two larger bands in future votes, and protection of the nation’s business interests.

He said an “overwhelming” number of band members – 55 – had voted to pull out of treaty talks while only 12 voted to continue negotiations.

But the commission questioned how many DFN members were aware of the referendum – and thus may have missed the vote – and what the actual voting results were as the commission received “estimates only” without any official reports from an electoral officer.

“On the face of the information we do have, the results do not meet the minimal threshold of a final and binding referendum,” Haggard said.

Peters said if a decision is not made by the Douglas leadership by the end of March, the Skatin and Samahquam bands are prepared to go ahead with a vote to ratify a final treaty agreement.

But he urged Douglas leaders to return to the treaty table, and to take part in the ratification vote.

“If Douglas band members, as a majority, reject the ratification, it will be entirely transparent they don’t support treaty, and then we can modify the final agreement,” to meet their concerns, he said.

rfreeman@theprogress.com

Just Posted

A new sign was installed at St. Thomas Anglican Church on Saturday, June 5, 2021 in Chilliwack. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Community effort to install new sign at Chilliwack’s oldest church

‘We feel it’s a step in the right direction to bring the church up-to-date,’ says St. Thomas parishioner

Dennis Saulnier rescued his daughters, two-year-old Brinley (left) and four-year-old Keegan, after their truck was driven off the road and into Cultus Lake on May 16, 2020. Reporter Jenna Hauck has been recognized by the B.C. and Yukon Community Newspapers Association for her story on the rescue. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)
Chilliwack Progress, Hope Standard staff take home 7 Ma Murray awards

Jenna Hauck, Eric Welsh, Jessica Peters, Emelie Peacock all earn journalism industry recognition

A student prepares to throw a plate full of whipped cream at principal Jim Egdcombe’s face as vice principal Devin Atkins watches as part of a fundraiser at Leary Integrated Arts and Technology elementary on Friday, June 11, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
The pied principals: Chilliwack elementary staff get messy for charity

Cops for Cancer fundraiser saw kids ‘pie the principal’ at Leary elementary in Chilliwack

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay
Webinar looks at sexual abuse prevention among adolescents

Vancouver/Fraser Valley CoSA hosts free online session on June 15

June is Brain Injury Awareness Month in Canada. (ADOBE STOCK IMAGE)
Shining a light on brain injury in Canada

June is Brain Injury Awareness Month

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Denmark soccer player Christian Eriksen collapses during game against Finland

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Most Read