Wood Business

Industry News News
Haida Nation, B.C. recognize Haida Aboriginal title

April 14, 2024  By Government of B.C.

The Province of B.C. and the Council of the Haida Nation (CHN) stood in HlGaagilda and signed the historic Gaayhllxid • Gíhlagalgang “Rising Tide” Haida Title Lands Agreement, a first-of-its-kind negotiated agreement recognizing Haida Aboriginal title in Haida Gwaii.

Title recognition shifts the ownership and jurisdiction of land from the Crown to the Haida Nation in Crown law. The agreement provides for a staged implementation of the title, creating stability and certainty for all residents of Haida Gwaii, now and for generations to come.

CHN and the Government of B.C. have been working actively since 2021 to formally recognize Haida Aboriginal title in Haida Gwaii. The staged approach reflected in this agreement means that CHN and B.C. can determine in a planned and orderly way how the title will be implemented.

The agreement explicitly protects and maintains private property rights and existing government services and infrastructure in Haida Gwaii, including:

  • Private property interests are confirmed and are not affected by this agreement.
  • Local governments, public infrastructure, programs and services will continue under current B.C. laws.
  • Highways, airports, ferry terminals, health care and schools are not affected.
  • Haida Gwaii residents will continue to receive municipal services and pay property taxes in the same way they do today.
  • Provincially issued leases, permits and other approvals to use Crown lands and recreational access remain in effect over a several-year transition period, with future management to be negotiated with input from communities, businesses and residents.

“Reaching this agreement has been no small feat,”​ said Gaagwiis Jason Alsop, President of the Haida Nation. It’s really a monumental stride, building on the work of past leaders of the Haida Nation and B.C. We have always asserted our sovereignty to Haida Gwaii and the surrounding waters. With this agreement in place, we are able to work toward implementing our title without conflict, based on yahguudang / yahgudáng (respect), with our ownership being properly recognized. Our work will benefit not only the lands, water, people and all beings of Haida Gwaii, but the province and Canada as well. This is a good day.”

Premier David Eby said: “Today, we are recognizing the Haida Nation’s Aboriginal title throughout Haida Gwaii – a milestone more than 20 years in the making. We are moving beyond a place where the Haida Nation’s rights were denied to a place where they are recognized and upheld. This agreement offers greater stability for the people of Haida Gwaii with a step-by-step path forward, as we continue our work to build a brighter, more secure future for everyone.”

The Gaayhllxid • Gíhlagalgang “Rising Tide” Haida Title Lands Agreement builds upon past agreements. In 2021, the CHN, B.C. and Canada signed the GayGahlda • Kwah.hlahl.dáyaa “Changing Tide” Framework for Reconciliation, which signalled the three governments’ intention to work to resolve litigation around Haida Aboriginal title through negotiations and agreements. In 2023, the governments entered the Nang K’uula • Nang K̲’úulaas Recognition Agreement, which recognizes the Haida Nation as the holder of Haida Nation title and rights, and the CHN as the governing body of the Haida Nation.

“Haida Gwaii is a unique part of our province. There are a number of factors that have created ideal conditions for an agreement with the Council of the Haida Nation recognizing Aboriginal title,” said Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. “What we’ve achieved on a government-to-government basis shows we can work to resolve matters through negotiations rather than having to turn to the courts. I am excited about what we have built together. It will continue to benefit everyone who calls Haida Gwaii home.”

Haida citizens voted 95 per cent in favour of the agreement at a special assembly on April 6, 2024. Later this month, B.C. will introduce supporting legislation to formally recognize Haida Aboriginal title in provincial law.

Print this page


Stories continue below