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Photo by Birgitte Bartlett

Photo by Birgitte Bartlett

Photo by Birgitte Bartlett

Photo by Birgitte Bartlett

Photo by Birgitte Bartlett

Photo by Birgitte Bartlett

Photo by Birgitte Bartlett

Photo by Birgitte Bartlett

Photo by Birgitte Bartlett

Photo by Birgitte Bartlett

Photo by Birgitte Bartlett

Photo by Birgitte Bartlett

Photo by Birgitte Bartlett

Constitution FAQ's

Community Engagement Meeting Q&As:
Constitution Introduction
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 6:00 p.m.

  1. How often will the constitution committee meet?

    We hope that the Constitution Committee will meet approximately once per month, but it does depend on availability of leadership and technical advisors, and it will depend on funding.

  2. How often will the constitution committee meet with Kitsumkalum community to review the constitution committee work?

    The treaty staff will review all of the work the Constitution Committee in a subsequent community meeting at some point. Sometimes they may seek input right away in regard to the work the Committee is doing to seek further input, and sometimes they may review issues at the end of development to show how the community input was incorporated into the Constitution.

  3. The Haida have a constitution without a treaty- why do we need to sign to have a constitution?

    You do not have to have a treaty to have a constitution, but the treaty helps raise the legal status of the constitution to ensure it is the highest law of a First Nation. If a First Nation has a constitution without a treaty, the exact legal status of the constitution can be less clear. Without a treaty, a subsequent chief and council might be able to come in and revoke the constitution. Also, if a member challenged the chief and council, the courts might be more reluctant to hold the chief and council accountable based on a constitution without the treaty. Since a treaty provides more law-making authorities to a First Nation government and the Indian Act will no longer apply, a First Nation cannot pursue a treaty without also developing a constitution.

  4. Will the constitution hold anything in regard to a payment to band members? Like the Nisga’a 15,000?

    That sort of provision is not something that normally needs to be in a constitution, which is meant to provide fundamental principles that will exist for a long time. Kitsumkalum may consider providing a lump sum to members through the treaty, but it will not necessarily put that into a law or the constitution.

  5. How many people will sit on the constitution committee? And who decides who will sit on this committee?

    The constitution committee will consist of Dr. Jim McDonald, a legal advisor, and any chief and council that would like to attend, along with 2 treaty staff members to help administrate the meetings. This was decided by the treaty staff in consultation with the chief and council. It could be necessary to modify this as needed.

  6. Is there any reserve land in downtown Terrace?

    The Kitsumkalum reserve lands are not within the current boundaries of the City of Terrace.

  7. Is the Indian reservation land going to be affected by LNG?

    It is, of course, possible that LNG could have some incidental effects on Kitsumkalum reserve lands. You might be interested in reading the various environmental reports of LNG projects made by the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office which are available to the public at

  8. There are overlaps claimed for Kitsumkalum and other reserves and nations. Will that info be provided to Kitsumkalum Treaty and research to cross examine? The info on why that land is theirs to claim.

    When any First Nation enters the BC Treaty Process, they are required to provide a Statement of Intent (SOI), which includes a map with the boundaries of their claim and a brief statement providing a basis for their claim. That information is available to the public at the BCTC website, and more might be available on request to the BCTC. The requirement to consult with First Nations in regard to overlapping claims belongs to the Crown. Canada and BC rely on SOI's along with any other information they may have in regard to First Nation claims and existing reserve lands.

  9. Are we moving ahead “in sync” with other First Nations, with regard to “shared” common lands?

    Kitsumkalum is working closely with Kitselas and Metlakatla, who continue to be willing to work together. Kitsumkalum also remains open to discussing proposed treaty lands and treaty rights with other First Nations.

  10. Will Terrace give Kitselas their land back? Millennium trail states Death to Kitselas, Birth of Terrace.

    We are not familiar with the plaque on the Millennium Trail that you are referring to and are reluctant to answer on behalf of Kitselas. If you would like to, you may contact the Kitselas Treaty Office at (250) 635-8882.

  11. Will we have our own electricity ex Hydro, solar panels, free energy for the band members?

    Kitsumkalum may get involved in various energy projects depending on whether they are viable. As for the constitution, as a general rule, you want to incorporate principles and not necessarily operational details. You can still pursue these projects without having them in the constitution.

  12. Can we create a new currency for Kitsumkalum? Will we have our own banks?

    The treaty does not contemplate creating a new currency or new banks because it does not necessarily see value in doing that.

  13. Pertaining to Rights and Responsibilities, please define to participate in Kitsumkalum activities?

    The Working Group had in mind things like participating in community meetings, feasts, and other community events. The constitution will also provide provisions in regard to member responsibilities and provisions that help provide a balance to various rights. Members, for example, can participate in community meetings but also have certain responsibilities to behave appropriately. Constitutions inevitably rely on balancing various individual and community rights. Kitsumkalum will probably rely on the Kitsumkalum Judicial Council, which will be like our own court, to help define some of these terms and determine how to balance community values.

  14. Treaties are being broken and are not being honoured all across Canada, what makes us so special?

    Admittedly, Canada has violated a number of historical treaties, but they are generally held accountable by the courts. Even many of those past violations have often led to large settlements for First Nations through the Specific Claims process. A modern treaty provides even more legal certainty than historical treaties, making legal remedies much more likely to be successful if Canada breaks our treaty.

  15. Will we have to wait 6 months to get status numbers? Will this change?

    If Kitsumkalum chooses a treaty, it will no longer rely on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (formerly INAC) for membership. Instead, Kitsumkalum will be responsible for managing its membership. It will be up to Kitsumkalum administration to decide whether it can change processing times or not.

  16. Why would any non-band member want to be a member of the Kitsumkalum Treaty?

    The Kitsumkalum Treaty will extend a number of treaty benefits to some people who may not already have those rights, including for example the right to hunt, fish or gather. Some non- band members do not currently enjoy those rights. Post-treaty, the government may also consider extending various other benefits to those members, such as housing assistance. Some others may also wish to have their connection to the community acknowledged, for example because they have strong ties to the community or ties through a spouse.

  17. Can Kitsumkalum band member have their feet in two nations and benefit from two nations?

    No, the treaty makes it clear that a member cannot belong to more than one First Nation.

  18. Will Kitsumkalum members be ordinary Canadian citizens after treaty?

    Kitsumkalum members will continue to be Canadian citizens. However, they will also continue to hold a variety of special rights that are not held by ordinary citizens, including for example special rights to hunt, fish or gather and various land rights.

  19. What is our source of income once we are self-governed?

    By expanding our land base through treaty, we hope to increase our opportunities to create more income, including through forestry, community or economic development, water licences and, as desired, through industrial development. For example, the Kitsumkalum rock quarry has already used up the majority of good resources on the reserve parcel and will be able to expand onto proposed treaty settlements lands. The reality is that the majority of self-sufficient governments in Canada rely mostly on tax revenues. Post-treaty, Kitsumkalum will eventually be able to generate revenues through taxation, not just by taxing members but by taxing non- members too.

  20. Can we get financial audit regarding where treaty monies are being spent?

    Treaty monies are managed by the band office, and a financial audit is done each year. You may contact them at (250) 635-6177 to see what they are willing to provide.

  21. If we sign a treaty why would the Indian act no longer apply? It still applies to treaty Indians back east. Why the unequal application?

    First Nations in the east signed what we now refer to as historical treaties. Although they received those lands as reserves, these treaties were a few pages long and generally provided less land and less cash than modern treaties provide. They also required First Nations to “cede, release and surrender” their Aboriginal rights for the treaty rights. These treaties often provided $50 or a cow for each family. The modern treaties also deliberately seek to come out from under the Indian Act so that Kitsumkalum no longer needs to depend on management by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (formerly INAC).

  22. Can you tell me how the governance is going to be established? Is there going to be a representative from each house clan? Is it going to be run by just Kitsumkalum people or white people?

    This will be determined by the membership through community engagement. Presently, we are contemplating that only Kitsumkalum members will be able to run for elections. Currently, Kitsumkalum relies much more significantly on non-Aboriginal management by AANDC (formerly INAC).

  23. Will off reserve membership finally have equal rights as those on reserve?

    Treaty rights like Aboriginal rights are offered equally to all members, but admittedly the majority of these rights are based on traditional use and are inevitably tied to the traditional territory. It is also important to differentiate between rights, such as hunting and fishing rights, and benefits from programs and services, such as education and health benefits. While rights are guaranteed equally, benefits, which are tied to funding, are almost always limited, forcing governments to try to match available funds with the highest needs. With an increased land base and increased capital, hopefully Kitsumkalum can stimulate more economic development, decreasing the needs of members and increasing available funds, but that will still be a challenge. Also, through the constitutional development process, which is a community driven process, off-Reserve members can encourage a special representative for off-Reserve members who could better represent off-Reserve interests within the Kitsumkalum government.

  24. Does this mean that all of our grandchildren and great grandchildren etc., will be included as a Kalum member- if the grandparents are first nation or if one parent was a first nation, from Kitsumkalum.

    Yes, under the treaty, anyone with Kitsumkalum ancestry will be eligible to apply to the treaty and receive treaty benefits.

  25. Will Kitsumkalum members receive monetary benefits at any time?

    Perhaps, please see our response to question #4.

  26. From what I understand in constitution, when it comes to geographic service area- that would encompass the territory and borders that now in existence? Or would that be held up until negotiations are complete?

    We are not entirely sure we understand the question. If it is about geographic service areas in regard to utilities and local government services, that is something that would have to be raised with the City or the District based on a case by case basis for any future developments. If it is about incorporating geographic components into the constitution, a bit like the Nisga'a have done with their villages, it is something that the membership can consider through the community engagement process. To clarify the question further, please feel free to contact the Treaty Office.

  27. What good would our status cards be to us after we sign the treaty agreement- Right now our medical is covered by DIA, our meds and travel are paid for us now. How will we pay for after we sign the treaty? And lose the use of our status cards.

    Although the Indian Act will no longer apply to Kitsumkalum generally, Kitsumkalum, unlike the Nisga'a, has negotiated for Kitsumkalum members to continue to receive the exact same extended medical and education benefits paid by Canada. Kitsumkalum will not necessarily need status cards, but they will need some means to show whether they are eligible for those health and education benefits or not.

  28. Is there going to be any ‘off reserve’ members involved in preparing the constitution? There are more off reserve members than on reserve.

    Yes, the same staff that were hired to help contact off-Reserve members during the ratification of the AIP have been hired to help community engagement with off-Reserve members. Meetings will eventually be held in Vancouver, Victoria, Prince Rupert and Prince George, and we will attempt to contact off-Reserve members through mail and telephone.

  29. When are we going to incorporate green laws into the Constitution?

    This is a good idea and is possible. Kitsumkalum will still want to consider where the best place for those provisions would be, such as in the constitution, in Kitsumkalum laws or in policy. Also Kitsumkalum will also have to balance that against developments that it wants to see proceed. The ultimate decision on whether to include provisions in the constitution or not will be up to the community.

  30. They changed the conflict of interest, with 16 member votes. What is to stop that from happening in the constitution?

    The amendment requirements will be set out in the constitution itself, and so that is something that again will be determined through community engagement.