News & Events

Gitxaała Nation Opposes Initialling of Kitselas and Kitsumkalum Modern Treaties by Canada and British Columbia.

Lach Klan, Dolphin Island, BC – Gitxaała Nation is deeply distressed that in the coming days the governments of Canada and British Columbia will be initialing final agreements to settle land claims with Kitselas and Kitsumkalum First Nations. These modern treaties will directly impact Laxyuubm Gitxaała, the territory on the north coast of British Columbia that has been home to Gitxaała Nation for over 10,000 years.

Canada and British Columbia have not upheld the honour of the Crown and accommodated Gitxaała for those adverse impacts; another example of colonial processes impeding on First Nations rights and title.

Instead, driven by the impending provincial election, both Crowns have rushed to initial these final agreements before resolving outstanding and unresolved issues with Gitxaała. Canada and British Columbia have not addressed Gitxaała concerns on how these treaties will give away lands, harvesting rights and governance rights in Laxyuubm Gitxaała in contravention of Gitxaała laws expressed in their adaawx, ayaawx and gugwilx’ya’ansk.

“These actions directly contravene UNDRIP and the honour of the Crown which legally require the governments to negotiate with Gitxaaɫa in these circumstances prior to initialling these modern treaties,” stated Sm’ooygit Txagyet (Clarence Innis). “Gitxaała would prefer to stand together with its Indigenous neighbours at Kitselas and Kitsumkalum to celebrate their achievements in these modern treaties. Gitxaała has reached out to both communities to establish protocols to reconcile their prospective treaty rights with Gitxaała adaawx, ayaawx and gugwilx’ya’ansk, but that conversation remains unfinished.”

Gitxaała has a long tradition of defending Laxyuubm Gitxaała, as it did in relation to Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project and more recently mineral claim staking under the Mineral Tenures Act. Gitxaaɫa is prepared to assert their rights and title again, if necessary, given the cavalier disregard to Gitxaała’s concerns by the two governments in their race to initial these modern treaties.

Clarence Innis
Lu Sa Hax Hoyaxgm Wil’nat’aał Gitxaaɫa Nation
Tel: 250.600.4368

Todd Corrigall
Senior Vice President
Central Strategies
Tel: 250-613-1633

Michael Uehara
Committee Secretary
Lu Sa Hax Hoyaxgm Wil’nat’aał
Tel: 604-551-0145


What is Laxyuubm Gitxaała?
Laxyuubm Gitxaała is the territory on the north coast of British Columbia that has been home to Gitxaała Nation for over 10,000 years. Laxyuubm Gitxaała includes territorial lands and waters extending from Prince Rupert Harbour, southward to Aristazabal Island (including Banks Island, McCauley Island, and Pitt Island), and portions of the mainland adjacent to Grenville and surrounding waterways (including a portion of the Gitxaała Nation’s territory in the Nass Harbour just south of Gingolx).

What is Lu Sa Hax Hoyaxgm Wil’nat’aał?

Lu Sa Hax Hoyaxgm Wil’nat’aał is the joint committee of hereditary and elected council, “to make things whole” for Gitxaaɫa Nation.

What is Adaawx?
Gitxaaɫa “adaawx” is Gitxaaɫa histories and stories, that allow the sharing of values, beliefs, and ethics among Gitxaaɫa Nation members, and include information on the survival of ancestors such as the methods for harvesting, preparing food and managing resources.

What is Ayaawx?
Gitxaaɫa “ayaawx” is Gitxaała laws that guide the relationship amongst Gitxaała Nation members and the lands and waters themselves, directing management, harvesting and resource use within Laxyuubm Gitxaała as well as governing waap (house) and wil’naat’al (clans) and their interactions.

What is Gugwilx’ya’ansk?
Gitxaała “gugwilx’ya’ansk” means Gitxaała inheritance, being the process, structure, and tradition of passing territory and names from one generation to the next that is unique to Gitxaała Nation.

What are the Adverse Impacts of the Final Agreements?
The Kitselas and Kitsumkalum Final Agreements will convey land in fee simple to each First Nation to coastal sites within Laxyuubm Gitxaała. The Final Agreements will also provide constitutionally guaranteed harvesting rights to fish, land-based animals, and plants through the northern half of Laxyuubm Gitxaała. Finally, the Final Agreements will create management regimes in which Kitselas and Kitsumkalum will be able to participate in decision making about such resources within Laxyuubm Gitxaała.

What have the Crown Governments Done?
The governments of Canada and British Columbia have admitted that the honour of the Crown requires them to engage in deep consultation with Gitxaaɫa Nation about the adverse impacts of the two Final Agreements to Laxyuubm Gitxaała. But they have repeatedly cancelled meeting and delayed providing substantive responses to Gitxaaɫa Nation on these issues for the past year. Crown negotiators are not scheduled to meet with Gitxaaɫa again until July 9th, after the scheduled initiallings of the Final Agreements.

How has Gitxaaɫa Nation defended Laxyuubm Gitxaała in the past?
Gitxaaɫa Nation has defended Laxyuubm Gitxaała numerous times, most notably against the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline project (see Gitxaala Nation v. Canada, 2016 FCA 187) and most recently against the province’s mineral claim staking regime under the Mineral Tenures Act (see Gitxaala v. British Columbia (Chief Gold Commissioner) 2023 BCSC 1680).

Is Gitxaaɫa Nation negotiating directly with Kitselas and Kitsumkalum First Nations?
Yes. While in no way releasing either Canada or British Columbia from its duty to accommodate given the adverse effect of the two Final Agreements on Laxyuubm Gitxaała, Gitxaaɫa is actively trying to negotiate protocol agreements with Kitselas and Kitsumkalum to reconcile Gitxaaɫa adaawx, ayaawx and gugwilx’ya’ansk with their prospective treaty rights. To date, Kitselas has refused to engage in such discussions. Kitsumkalum has engaged with Gitxaała but the outcome of that discussion remains unresolved at this time.

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