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Nisga'a Treaty Signed

On August 4, 1998, the Nisga'a First Nation, the Province of British Columbia, and the Federal Government of Canada will hold a signing ceremony, concluding negotiations on what could be the first treaty in BC since the 19th century. For the Nisga'a people, the treaty is a long time coming: they first sent a delegation to Victoria in 1887 to demand that the province resolve their land claims.

It was not until the Supreme Court recognized Nisga'a title to the land (Calder 1973) that the federal and provincial governments agreed to negotiate: now, 25 years later, it appears that the treaty may finally become a reality.

ARC Opposes Referendum Call


In response to the completion of the Nisga'a agreement, Opposition Leader Gordon Campbell leaked the deal to the press and demanded that it be renegotiated.

Claiming that the proposed treaty changes the Constitution of Canada, Campbell has called for the government to hold a referendum on the issue, and will take the government to court, if necessary.

bullet10 Reasons Why a Referendum is a Bad Idea
bulletLetter to Premier Clark
bulletLetter to Leader of the Opposition Gordon Campbell
bulletPress Release from Victoria ARC Chair Wally Braul
bulletLetter to the editor, Victoria Times Colonist

Get more information on the treaty

bulletDraft text of the final agreement
bulletNisga'a web site
bulletBC Treaty Commission
bulletBC Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs
bulletGovernment of Canada Ministry of Indian Affairs

What's Next?

The initialing of the treaty on August 4th is largely ceremonial: before the treaty becomes finalized, it must be ratified by the Nisga'a people (probably in October sometime), the BC legislature (probably in December at the earliest), and in Parliament.

Between then and now, there will undoubtedly be a wide-range of debate on the issue, and we'll try to sort it our for you. How is the media covering the story? What is the validity of some of the arguments being made?

What do you think? Is a treaty a good idea or a bad idea? Or is it an issue shrouded in mystery for you? Let us know what you think - we'll be posting your letters, as well as responses to your questions.

We welcome your questions, comments, and suggestions! You can contact us at

(250) 386-8272
1611 Quadra St.
Victoria, BC
V8W 2L5

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