The Carrier Sekani Tribal Council hosted a treaty conference April 14th and 15th in Prince George. Among the delegates were elders, negotiators, hereditary chiefs, keyoh holders, chief-councillors and councillors, and staff from mapping, education, family services, social services, historical research, economic development, and forestry.
The conference was organized to ensure that most delegates commented on the numerous treaty topics. And, the topics included current agreement-in-principle negotiations, lands, governance, certainty, revenue sharing, compensation, protection measures, mapping, education, family services, social services, historical and oral research, economic development, and forestry.
Several CSTC university students and graduates were hired to facilitate the conference. Among them were Anne Sam, Alexandra Luggi, Lauretta Prince, and staff members Bruce Allan and Anita Louie. Masters of Arts in Political Science student Tara Marsden was also hired to facilitate several of the workshops. Tara is also compiling the proceedings of the conference into a document for use by the tribal council and its members. She expects to have the document completed in several weeks.
The CSTC has been in the treaty negotiations process since 1994, and has made several attempts to negotiate items from the framework agreement. It has also made other attempts to negotiate interim protection measures, and interim economic measures in forestry.
In 1994, the tribal council negotiation team consisted of Grand Chief Edward John, Chief Robert Michell, Chief Leonard Thomas, and Shirley Carter. The team began by meeting with members at CSTC member communities. The team developed draft mandates to be used for the upcoming agreement in principle negotiations. The team also put together a presentation on treaty negotiations. The team was disbanded in 1996.
In 1997, the tribal council's adhoc negotiation team (Mary Teegee, Tina Erickson, Patrick Michell) proposed a moratorium on herbicide and pesticide use in the CSTC First Nations territories. The provincial government would not agree to a territory wide moratorium, and, instead, agreed to a very limited site specific approach. The CSTC said that a site specific approach could not be considered a protection measure. The two parties came to a stalemate on the issue. Before it was replaced by a board of director's resolution, the tribal council team did negotiate several principles for the CSTC agreement in principle.
In 1999, the tribal council mandated a forestry economic measures negotiation team [Chief David Luggi (chief negotiator), Paul Blom, Barry Vickers, Scott Miller] to negotiate forest licenses for the CSTC First Nations. The team was able to negotiate one community forest license with a total volume of 100,000 cubic metres. Distributed equally among the eight First Nations, it would amount to 12,500 cubic metres per First Nation. The tribal council accepted the offer because the offer (called the bridging agreement) had a one-time $400,000 fund to continue negotiations attached to it, and a commitment to negotiate more timber volume. The $400,000 would be used by the CSTC to negotiate a future interim measures agreement for eight million dollars per year, and 1.8 million cubic meters in timber volume.
The tribal council later rejected the bridging agreement because the new provincial Liberal government showed very little interest in implementing the agreement.
In 2002, the tribal council mandated Chief Negotiator Robert Michell to negotiate forest licenses for the CSTC First Nations. The tribal council found a government which was adamant that there was no 400,000 cubic metres of new timber available to the CSTC, and that the CSTC would have to get any new timber from the forest companies. Meetings were set with companies to discuss a timber transfer to CSTC from existing forest licenses. The meetings produced little progress.
The government later announced the mountain pine beetle timber uplift in the Burns Lake and Vanderhoof Forest Districts. And, because of the growing mountain pine beetle infestation, the tribal council received an offer of 500,000 cubic meters in three-year non-renewable forest licenses from the provincial government. The council originally rejected the 500,000 volume, saying that it would not be enough to sustain eight First Nations logging companies, which would each require a minimum 80,000 cubic metres to maintain operations. Negotiations were stalemated.
The council then agreed to have the CSTC First Nations negotiate separate agreements. The move was made so that the CSTC First Nations would have an opportunity to access the minimum 80,000 cubic meters of timber needed to finance their individual logging companies. The government responded by saying that it only had a mandate to negotiate the original 500,000 cubic meters of timber offered to the CSTC. The council agreed to have those First Nations without forest licenses (Burns Lake, Nadleh Whut'en, Stellat'en, Wet'suwet'en, Saik'uz) enter into separate negotiations for licenses. The government offered 150,000 cubic metres each to Saik'uz, Nadleh Whut'en, and Stellat'en. Burns Lake and Wet'suwet'en were each offered 25,000 cubic metres.
In 2003, the three parties (CSTC, Canada and BC) dealt with the four key areas of lands, governance, certainty and revenue sharing. In November 2003, all three parties exchanged discussion papers on lands, governance and certainty. The CSTC is anticipating a main table negotiation session following its April 16 and 17 2004 treaty conference for CSTC members.
In 2004, the CSTC Chiefs appointed Grand Chief Edward John as Chief Negotiator. Ed is currently working with the tribal council to continue negotiations on the the four topics proposed by Canada and BC (lands and resources, governance, certainty, revenue sharing). Ed is also working from community-based mandates to negotiate other topics that include health, education, children and family, and fiscal relations.
CSTC Treaty Office:
Grand Chief Edward John, Chief Negotiator
Anita Louie, treaty coordinator
Anne Sam, research and policy
Paul Blom, forest policy
Tara Marsden, communications
Tsil Kaz Koh First Nation (Burns Lake):
Ryan Tibbetts, negotiator
Wet'suwet'en First Nation:
Chief Maureen Luggi, negotiator
Takla Lake First Nation:
Chief Janet West
Saik'uz First Nation:
Chief Colleen Erickson
Nak'azdli First Nation:
Chief Leonard Thomas, negotiator
Tl'azt'en First Nation:
Grand Chief Edward John, negotiator
Bev Bird, treaty coordinator
Chief Martin Louie, negotiator