Dr. Joseph Gosnell, chief negotiator of the Nisga’a treaty, visits the B.C. legislature in 2014. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press Media)

Nisga’a celebrate 19 years of self-government in B.C. legislature

Premier John Horgan congratulates pioneers of first modern treaty

Nisga’a dancers led a procession into the B.C. legislature’s hall of honour Thursday to celebrate the 19th anniversary of the northwest B.C. Indigenous nation’s creation by the first modern-day treaty in Canada.

Premier John Horgan welcomed the delegation, along with Advanced Education Minister Melanie Mark, the third Nisga’a citizen to sit as an MLA. Horgan acknowledged the pioneering role of Frank Calder and Larry Guno, who both served as MLAs for the remote region as the long struggle for recognition carried on for a century.

“It was in 1887 that the ancestors of the Nisga’a who are here today left the Nass Valley and came to this building, came to this institution, and were told to go away by the premier of the day,” Horgan said.

“They had come to settle what was called at that time the land question, and for the next 100 years, the Nisga’a went to England, they went to Ottawa, they came back to Victoria, pressing their case for their territory to be re-established. Territory that they had been on for thousands of years, territory that was unquestionably theirs. And it was in the late 1990s that a treaty was signed.”

READ MORE: Joseph Gosnell named chancellor of UNBC

READ MORE: Nisga’a Nation proving their critics wrong

Horgan also read remarks made by Nisga’a chief negotiator Joseph Gosnell in the legislature in 1998 when the treaty was finally ratified by B.C. and Canada.

“I’m talking about the Nisga’a treaty, a triumph, I believe, for all British Columbians and a beacon of hope for aboriginal people around the world,” Gosnell said.

“As British Columbians, as Canadians, I believe we should all be very proud. It’s a triumph because, under the treaty, the Nisga’a people will join Canada and British Columbia as free citizens, full and equal partners in the social and economic and political life of this province, and indeed this country.

“It’s a triumph because, under the treaty, we will no longer be wards of the state, no longer beggars in our own lands, and it’s a triumph because under the treaty, we will collectively own 22,000 square km of land, far exceeding the postage stamp reserve that was set aside for us by colonial governments.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Boon Docs, life as a rural doctor tickles the funny bone

Haida Gwaii’s Caroline Shooner draws observations from the medical field

President and CEO leaving Coast Mountain College

Burt will say goodbye to CMNT come September

Marathon day on Haida Gwaii

Totem to Totem race looks to set another participation record

World’s largest animal spotted off coast of Haida Gwaii

Fisheries and Oceans Canada spotted the animal during their Science At-Sea mission

Two monumental poles return home to Haida Gwaii

The artifacts ended up in Vancouver by being taken, appropriated, stolen, or sold through the years

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Two dead in two-vehicle crash between Revelstoke and Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Most Read