UBCIC Celebrates the Monumental Passing of Legislation Recognizing Haida Aboriginal Title

News Release
May 16, 2024

UBCIC Celebrates the Monumental Passing of Legislation Recognizing Haida Aboriginal Title

(xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil Waututh)/ Vancouver, B.C. – May 16, 2024) The Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) is honoured to celebrate and be witness to the passing of the Haida Nation Recognition Amendment Act (“the Act”), which is now law recognizing the Haida Nation’s Aboriginal title throughout Haida Gwaii. For the first time a Crown government has recognized Aboriginal title through legislation, protecting fee-simple interests while affirming the inherent and constitutionally protected title, rights, and jurisdiction of the Haida Nation.

On April 14, 2024, the Haida Nation and the Province of B.C. signed the Gaayhllxid/Gíihlagalgang “Rising Tide” Haida Title Lands Agreement. This Agreement recognizes that the Haida Nation has Aboriginal title to all of Haida Gwaii and preceded the passing of the Act.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, UBCIC President, stated “We would like to congratulate President of the Council of the Haida Nation, Gaagwiis Jason Alsop, the provincial government, and all the Haida people on the landmark and unprecedented Haida Nation Recognition Amendment Act now becoming law. The Act represents a significant stride toward fostering positive relations between First Nations and the Crown, and litigation and court battles should no longer be the norm. UBCIC firmly believes that the Act truly reflects the heart of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN Declaration) by affirming what the Haida Nation has always known, that they are the true title and rights holders of Haida Gwaii. Notably, this significant achievement demonstrates that recognition of title can occur outside of the courts and outside of the B.C. Treaty Commission process.”

Chief Don Tom, UBCIC Vice-President, continued “The Act marks a new pathway for problem-solving that promotes collaboration and relationship building between First Nations and the Crown and, importantly, certainty for owners of private property is a core aspect of the legislation. For the first time a Crown government has chosen to negotiate and come to an agreement to recognize Aboriginal title, while ensuring the interests of the Crown and those who have made Haida Gwaii their home are protected. It is long overdue for the Haida Nation to be recognized in law as the true title and rights holders, and we are thrilled to see how this tectonic shift impacts the landscape of title and rights in B.C. and creates greater certainty.”

“Today we also celebrate the decades of advocacy and work by those who have come before that established the foundation of what we are witnessing today, fully grounded in the truth of Haida history, culture, and values,” stated Chief Marilyn Slett, UBCIC Secretary-Treasurer. “This marks a new era in First Nations and Crown relations in this province and demonstrates a way forward to the full recognition of title and rights for First Nations. We are hopeful that the Act becoming law will revitalize and transform the pathway to meaningful reconciliation, serving as an example for other Nations wishing to negotiate with the Province on advancing recognition of their inherent title and rights. This milestone accomplishment is something that all British Columbians should celebrate and take great pride in.”

The UBCIC would like to extend congratulations to the Haida Nation and the provincial government on their outstanding landmark achievement.


Media inquiries:

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President, 250-490-5314
Chief Don Tom, Vice-President, 604-290-6083
Chief Marilyn Slett, Secretary-Treasurer, 250-957-7721

UBCIC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

For more information, please visit www.ubcic.bc.ca

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