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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


Aboriginal rights – refer to practices, traditions or customs ("activity[ies]") which are integral to the distinctive culture of an aboriginal society and were practiced prior to European contact, meaning they were rooted in the pre-contact society. Aboriginal rights, protected under the Constitution Act of 1982, grant Aboriginal people the freedom to use and occupy traditional lands and resources to maintain a traditional lifestyle.

Aboriginal title – A sub-category of aboriginal rights that relates to land ownership. Unlike Aboriginal rights, Aboriginal title is a right to the land itself, something like ownership. First Nations have Aboriginal title on lands that were of central significance to them and occupied exclusively by them before the Crown asserted sovereignty. Whereas Aboriginal rights are often shared, as in shared fishing grounds, Aboriginal title is exclusively held by a First Nation, meaning that anyone else needs permission to access the land.

Agreement in Principle (AIP) – the document produced in the fourth stage of the six-stage treaty process. The AIP outlines the major points of agreement between the three negotiating parties and forms the foundation for final treaty negotiations.

Allocation – usually refers to the giving out of something such as permits to trap or hunt.

Band - an organizational structure defined in the Indian Act which represents a particular body of Aboriginal people as defined under the Indian Act.

Beneficiary – a person who is eligible to gain benefits from a treaty.

British Columbia Treaty Commission (BCTC) – an independent body of commissioners appointed by Canada, British Columbia and the First Nations Summit responsible for overseeing the six-stage process for negotiating treaties in BC.

Capacity-building – the development of human, technical and financial resources in First Nation communities. For example, some First Nations may require capacity building to respond to provincial requests for consultation concerning aboriginal rights or to carry out the authorities that they will assume under treaty.

Certainty provisions – treaty provisions designed to clearly define the authorities, rights and responsibilities of all three parties to the treaty.

Citizenship code – a document that outlines how membership is determined.

Claim area – area identified by a First Nation as the basis for negotiating treaty settlement land.

Comprehensive claim – a claim made by a First Nation based upon continuing aboriginal rights and title which have not been dealt with by treaty or other legal means.

Cooperative management – arrangements made between the Province and First Nations to involve First Nations in provincial land and resource management processes.

Crown activity – any activity for which Canada or the Province is responsible through legislation, regulation or policy. These activities may involve the issuance of tenure (permit, license, lease) or grants, or the approval to conduct a specific activity.

Crown grant – usual mechanism by which the Crown conveys land to persons or corporations who then hold the land in private ownership.

Crown land – land or an interest in land, owned by Canada or the Province. Almost all crown land in BC is owned by the Province.

Crown tenure – a legal interest in Crown lands or resources, issued by the Province in the form of a permit, license, lease or approval.

Eligibility – entitlement to treaty benefits.

Enrolment – process of documenting and registering eligible treaty beneficiaries.

Expropriation – process by which government takes private lands for public use such as roads or power lines.

Extinguishment – term used to describe the cessation or surrender of aboriginal rights to lands and resources in exchange for rights granted in treaty. Canada and British Columbia have agreed that extinguishment is not part of the BCTC six-stage treaty process.

Fee simple – land holding commonly characterized as private ownership and the way most private land is held in Canada. Usually only includes the surface.

Fiduciary duty – legal obligation of one party to act in the best interests of another. Canada and British Columbia have a fiduciary duty which require them to consult with and meet the concerns of aboriginal people in the province.

Final Agreement – fifth stage of the six-stage treaty process. The final agreement embodies the principles outlined in the Agreement in Principle which are to be included in the treaty. Once ratified by the three parties the final agreement becomes a treaty.

First Nation – An aboriginal community as a whole, or the governing body of that community, organized and established by community members. This body has the power to negotiate on a government-to-government basis with Canada and British Columbia.

First Nations Summit – an umbrella organization of BC First Nations and tribal councils who are involved with and supportive of the British Columbia Treaty Commission process.

Fiscal arrangements – government financial arrangements for treaties, including financial limits on settlements, revenue raising powers negotiated in the treaty, cost sharing arrangements between Canada and the Province, financial transfer arrangements with First Nations, and compensation arrangements with third parties.

Framework Agreement - A document produced in stage three of the six-stage process to identify negotiation topics and objectives. This stage also involves creating a timetable and arranging special procedural arrangements for the negotiations.

Implementation – sixth phase of the six-stage treaty process. In the implementation stage the terms of a treaty are put into effect. Program, financial, legislative and other commitments which have been articulated in the Final Agreement are fulfilled.

INAC – acronym for Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (former name for AANDC – Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada). AANDC is responsible for negotiating treaties on behalf of Canada.

Indian Act – federal legislation designed to give effect to the legislative authority of Canada for “Indians, and Lands reserved for the Indians,” pursuant to s. 91(24). of the Constitution Act, 1867.

Indian – a term used historically to describe the first inhabitants of the “New World” and used to define indigenous people under the federal Indian Act. The term has generally been replaced by “aboriginal people” as defined in the Constitution Act of 1982.

Indian reserve – defined in section 2 of the Indian Act as a tract of land that has been set apart by the federal government for the use of an Indian band. The federal government holds legal title to Indian reserve land.

Infringement – an action of the Crown which impairs an aboriginal right.

Initialled agreement – an agreement which treaty chief negotiators for Canada, British Columbia and the First Nation have initialled as a means of expressing their intention to recommend the agreement to their respective authorities for approval.

Interest-based negotiations – approach to negotiating treaties in which negotiators focus on objectives rather than stating a single acceptable outcome as in position-based negotiations. This approach allows negotiators the flexibility to explore options that meet the objectives of all parties.

Land-based jurisdictional model - a model of First Nation self-government whereby First Nation self-government powers are limited to treaty settlement lands.

Land tenure – how land is held or owned.

Land claims agreement – term used by Canada to refer to a treaty with a First Nation.

Legislation – Acts passed by a parliament.

Non-status Indian – a person of aboriginal ancestry who is not recognized by the Indian Act or has chosen not to be registered under the Act.

s.35 – section of the Constitution Act, 1982 that states that aboriginal rights and treaty rights are recognized and affirmed. Makes it clear that treaty rights include rights that exist now by way of land claim agreements or that may be so acquired. As a result of this constitutional protection, the Crown has an obligation not to infringe upon aboriginal and treaty rights without justification.

s.87 - tax exemption: tax exemption arising from s. 87 of the Indian Act that applies to status Indians' income and property (including personal property) situated on Indian reserve land.

s. 91(24) - section of the Constitution Act, 1867 which confers upon the federal Parliament the power to make laws in relation to "Indians, and Lands reserved for the Indians."

Self-government – the regulation of a First Nation by its own people.

Settlement land – see treaty settlement land.

Side Agreements – The treaty is meant to last indefinitely and is constitutionally protected. For some matters, especially those involving costs, it is better if the parties maintain more flexibility and have agreements with a shorter fixed-length of time, For these reasons, there are various side-agreements that are not officially part of the treaty. For example, there will be a Fiscal Financing Agreement that will provide funding for programs and services that Kitsumkalum provides, and it will have to be renewed every five years or so to reflect changes in the services that Kitsumkalum provides.

Six-stage treaty process– process established for all treaty negotiations in British Columbia. The six stages are:

  • A First Nation sends a Statement of Intent to BCTC.

  • The readiness of all three parties is established.

  • The parties negotiate a Framework Agreement.

  • The parties negotiate an Agreement in Principle.

  • The parties negotiate a Final Agreement.

  • The provisions of the treaty are implemented.

Status Indian – person recognized as an Indian under the Indian Act.

Third parties – parties outside of governments and First Nations who have an interest in treaty negotiations including parties who hold legal interests, rights, permits or leases granted by a government.

Traditional territory – the geographic area identified by a First Nation to be the area of land which they and/or their ancestors traditionally occupied or used. See also aboriginal rights.

Treaty – an agreement between governments and a First Nation that defines the rights of aboriginal people with respect to lands and resources over a specified area and may also define the self-government authority of a First Nation. Treaties are final agreements which have been ratified by all three parties.

Treaty Advisory Committee (TAC) - a committee of local government representatives, set up pursuant to an agreement between the Province of British Columbia and Union of B.C. Municipalities. Treaty Advisory Committees enable local government representatives to discuss issues and interests, advise provincial negotiators on local government issues and participate in negotiations as members of provincial negotiating teams.

Treaty mandates – instructions for negotiators from their respective governments which set out treaty policy related to the subjects to be negotiated.

Treaty right - right protected under s. 35 of the Constitution which is held by First Nations people pursuant to a treaty.

Treaty settlement land – area of land that is owned and managed by a First Nation pursuant to a treaty.

Tribal Council - a self-identified entity which represents aboriginal people or a group of bands.