The Final Agreement: a path to self-government

We are the Lheidli T’enneh.

We have been leaders in the effort to have B.C. Aboriginal rights and land title recognized and in 2006, after years of negotiation, a Final Agreement was reached with the governments of Canada and British Columbia, and a Constitution was drafted that would allow the Lheidli T’enneh to govern ourselves.

In 2007, the membership of the Lheidli T’enneh voted on the Final Agreement and Constitution. The Constitution was accepted, but the Final Agreement was not.

Since then, many have worked to listen, learn and understand why the Final Agreement was not accepted. There were various reasons offered and some felt they did not have enough information or knowledge about what is in the Agreement; others felt the time was not right.

The Agreement has some limitations but provides many benefits including:

  • clear ownership of Lheidli T’enneh lands
  • defined and protected access to natural resources like timber, oil and gas
  • rights and benefits related to the land, wildlife and fish throughout the settlement area
  • stable funding to operate a Lheidli T’enneh government and deliver services and programs
  • a Lheidli T’enneh government with authority to make decisions for the benefit of our people

Other options have been explored but many believe that the Final Agreement remains the best way forward. A committee was formed to examine this. They recommended, and the membership decided, that before the Final Agreement expires later this year, the Agreement should be put to another vote.

One people, moving forward together

Leading up to the vote, there will be many community-based opportunities to learn about the agreement, talk about the strengths and the weaknesses of this path – and other paths -- and determine the right choice for our future.

We will hold the conversations about our choices in an open and respectful way, where all thoughts and opinions will be valued; where we respect and learn from each other; where we decide our future together.

It is up to us to use our voice, make our choice for our united future.