Sophie Pierre: Series on treaties in British Columbia
"In British Columbia, treaty making is unfinished business that is costing the provincial economy billions of dollars because of continuing uncertainty over ownership of millions of acres of land.

This uncertainty is also standing in the way of First Nation communities achieving renewed self government and self-sufficiency. It has been a rocky road for aboriginals that dates back several hundred years. But with treaties that road becomes an avenue to a prosperous future that includes economic opportunities for all British Columbians.

Now with two treaties recently signed by First Nations in British Columbia, attention is being focused on the treaty process and its role in generating much needed business development, infrastructure and jobs all over the province.

But for the average British Columbian, what does it all mean? Some say treaties are a relic of the past and for many it is not clear how they affect the present. To better understand the treaty process you have to begin with the rights of First Nations and how it applies to treaties today.

There are several key reasons for treaties, which will affect both aboriginals and non-aboriginals. First, it is the law. The Crown has an obligation to negotiate with First Nations because the indigenous people had already owned, occupied and governed on North American soil for thousands of years before European settlers began arriving."

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Sophie Pierre: Treaties: Unfinished Business in British Columbia (The Ladysmith Chronicle 1/21)