REPORTING · 12th September 2012
Watch the Video of Handshake and Interview with Gerald Wesley at the End of the Article!
The Chief Negotiators for Kitsumkalum and Kitselas, two Tsimshian reserve villages on the borders of Terrace BC, have signed a Letter of Understanding with the British Columbia Treaty Commission (BCTC). The ceremony was promoted for the public to witness as a handshake between the BCTC and the Negotiators for the Kitselas and Kitsumkalum. This letter states the following;
NEGOTIATORS' LETTER OF UNDERSTANDING
1. The Chief Negotiators for Kitsumkalum First Nation, British Columbia and Canada ("Chief Negotiators") have been engaged in treaty negotiations to conclude an Agreement-in-Principle ("AIP") to advance the resolution of the aboriginal rights and title claims of the Kitsumkalum First Nation.
2. This Letter of Understanding confirms the understanding among the Chief Negotiators that:
a. They have completed substantive negotiations of an AIP, which is dated September 10, 2012 (Draft AIP);
b. They have chosen to defer substantive negotiations to the Final Agreement stage on some issues as indicated in the Draft AIP;
c. The Draft AIP will undergo a legal and technical review and that as a result of such review changes may be required to the Draft AIP prior to initialing and approval; and
d. Any of the Chief Negotiators may require further negotiations, further changes to the Draft AIP or indicate other requirements to be met before the Draft AIP can be initialed or subsequently approved.
3. Following the review referred to in c. above and subject to any changes being made or other requirements being met as described in d. above:
a. The Chief Negotiators will seek authority from their respective principals ("Principals") to initial the AIP; and
b. After the AIP is initialed the Chief Negotiators will submit the AIP for approval by the Principals in accordance with paragraph 1 of Chapter 25 of the Draft AIP.
Numerous politicians from the City of Terrace and the Regional District Kitimat-Stikine were present as were representatives from the Gitxsan Nation as the ceremony at the Northwest Community College got underway.
The hosts had sandwiches, tea and coffee available for the guests and dignitaries who gathered in the Longhouse style building on the west side of the campus grounds.
Just before the official presentation began the moderator wished to ensure everyone understood this was not the signing of the Agreement in Principle but only a letter agreeing their preliminary Treaty negotiations were completed and were ready to go to their respective Band memberships to discuss and vote on.
After the negotiating team entered the room, Chief Negotiator Gerald Wesley opened the envelope of documents handed to him by the BCTC representative Dave Haggard. Wesley then signed first passing the papers to his left; to the Kitsumkalum Negotiator Alex Bolton and Chief Councillor Don Roberts, and to his right; to the Kitselas Negotiator Mel Bevan and Chief Councillor Judy Gerow.
After the signing Wesley addressed the guests and then Gerow and Roberts took turns at the podium.
Wesley, in a conversation with the media after the ceremonies indicated those who will be eligible to vote is still being determined by the respect Band Councils but that it will be those who are registered to vote and those who belong to the Band regardless of the Indian Nation they belong to or even if they are.
Watch the entire ceremony by opening the video attached below.
The media interview and questions are in a separate video file, also attached below.
Also attached below are the overviews of each of the Agreements In Principle the Kitselas and Kitsumkalum Bands will be presenting to their membership to review. These documents are not the Agreement in Principle documents but are an overview.
Kitsumkalum will be holding a community meeting for Band members on Saturday, September 15.
Both Bands expect to hold their votes in February, 2013. The Kitsumkalum Band will be holding their Band elections early in the year as well therefore, as Wesley stated, the date for the vote is not yet fixed.
Left to right; Kitselas Chief Councillor, Judy Gerow, Negotiator Mel Bevan, Chief Negotiator Gerald Wesley, Kitsumkalum Negotiator, Alex Bolton and Chief Councillor, Don Roberts
Agreement in Principle Letter of Understanding
Comment by Me & U on 28th October 2012
To the Kitsumkalum Treaty Negotiators:
I will vote against the treaty unless you add that Kitsumkalum Members will hold, maintain/keep their indian status rights. That is something that we don't want to loose. Can't you build it into the plan somehow? Where there's a will there is a way....don't let your hard work go to waiste.