1940 Aerial View of Campbell River

Our Treaty

The Six Stages

The BC Treaty Commission’s Treaty negotiation process consists of six stages.

Wei Wai Kum is currently in Stage 5 – Negotiation to Finalize a Treaty

Stage 5 is an essential step for our Nation. This provides Wei Wai Kum with opportunities to negotiate substantive topics, such as a land package, fishing rights and access, and our Nations’ financial relationship with Canada. Once these negotiations are complete, our citizens will vote on the full treaty package.

It has been a long journey to reach the milestone of Stage 5 of the BC Treaty process, and is the result of hard work by all involved. We appreciate the commitment the governments of Canada and B.C. have made to recognize Wei Wai Kum Nation's rights as defined under the United Nations Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples as we continue on this path to achieving true reconciliation and management over our traditional territory.
Elected Chief Councillor Christopher Roberts, Wei Wai Kum First Nation

1993

Stage

1

Statement of Intent to Negotiate

Statement of Intent to Negotiate – 1993

In 1993, Wei Wai Kum and Kwiakah entered negotiations in collaboration with other Laich Kwil Tach and Kwakwaka’wakw communities.

1997

Stage

2

Readiness to Negotiate

Readiness to Negotiate – 1997

The BC Treaty Commission declared the Kwakiutl Laich Kwil Tach Nations table ready to negotiate a framework agreement.

1998

Stage

3

Negotiation of a Framework Agreement

Negotiation of a Framework Agreement – 1998

Laich-Kwil-Tach and Kwakwaka’wakw Nations agree with B.C. and Canada on the subjects to be negotiated and an estimated time frame for the Stage 4 Agreement-in-Principle negotiations.

1998-2015

Stage

4

Negotiation of an Agreement in Principle

Negotiation of an Agreement in Principle – 1998–2015

Substantive treaty negotiations start. The parties outlined their requirements in the Framework Agreement. Members voted in favour of accepting their Final Agreement.

In 2014, treaty society membership changed. Wei Wai Kum and Kwiakah formed the Wei Wai Kum Kwiakah Treaty Society and negotiate as two Nations.

2019

Stage

5

Negotiation to Finalize a Treaty

Negotiation to Finalize a Treaty [Current Stage] – 2019

On June 28 2019, the two Nations transitioned to Stage 5 and negotiated to resolve technical and legal issues. In May 2024, Wei Wai Kum decided to pursue its goals independently as a separate Nation. At the end of this stage, the constitution and modern treaty will be presented to citizens of Wei Wai Kum First Nation for a vote.

?

Stage

6

Implementation of the Treaty

Implementation of the Treaty

If the Wei Wai Kum members vote “Yes” for the treaty, the plans to implement the treaty will be put into effect.

Stage 1
1993

Statement Of Intent To Negotiate

Statement of Intent to Negotiate - 1993

In 1993, Wei Wai Kum and Kwiakah entered negotiations in collaboration with other Laich Kwil Tach and Kwakwaka’wakw communities.

Stage 2
1997

Readiness to Negotiate

Readiness to Negotiate - 1997

The BC Treaty Commission declared the Kwakiutl Laich Kwil Tach Nations table ready to negotiate a framework agreement.

Stage 3
1998

Negotiation of a Framework Agreement

Negotiation of a Framework Agreement - 1998

Laich-Kwil-Tach and Kwakwaka’wakw Nations agree with B.C. and Canada on the subjects to be negotiated and an estimated time frame for the Stage 4 Agreement-in-Principle negotiations.

Stage 4
1998-2015

Negotiation of an Agreement Principle

Negotiation of an Agreement in Principle - 1998–2015

Substantive treaty negotiations start. The parties outlined their requirements in the Framework Agreement. Members voted in favour of accepting their Final Agreement.

In 2014, treaty society membership changed. Wei Wai Kum and Kwiakah formed the Wei Wai Kum Kwiakah Treaty Society and negotiate as two Nations.

Stage 5
2019

Negotiation to Finalize a Treaty

Negotiation to Finalize a Treaty [Current Stage] - 2019

On June 28 2019, the two Nations transitioned to Stage 5 and negotiated to resolve technical and legal issues. At the end of this stage constitutions and modern treaties will be presented to citizens of Wei Wai Kum and Kwiakah Nations for a vote.

Stage 6

Implementation of the Treaty

Implementation of the Treaty

If the WKTS citizens vote ‘Yes’ for the Treaty, the plans to implement the treaty will be implemented.
Learn more about how we got to Stage 5

Stage 1:
1993

15 LKT and Kwakwaka’wakw Nations enter Treaty Process. Complete Stage 1.

Stage 2:
1997

KwakiutlLaichKwilTach Nations Treaty Society (KLNTS); declared “Ready” for Negotiations. Complete Stage 2.

Stage 34:
199
8

Complete Stage 3 and enter Stage 4.

Stage 4:
2000

LaichKwilTach K’omoks Tlowitsis Treaty Society begins (Tlowitsis, Mamalilikulla, We Wai Kai, Wei Wai Kum, Kwiakah, and K’omoks

Stage 4:
2001

Hamatla Treaty Society begins (Tlowitsis, We Wai Kai, Wei Wai Kum, Kwiakah, and K’omoks)

Stage 4:
2005

Hamatla Treaty Society (We Wai Kai, Wei Wai Kum, Kwiakah, and K’omoks)

Stage 4:
2006

Hamatla Treaty Society (We Wai Kai, Wei Wai Kum, and Kwiakah)

Stage 4:
2008

LaichKwilTach Treaty Society begins (We Wai Kai, Wei Wai Kum, and Kwiakah)

Stage 4:
2014

Wei Wai KumKwiakah Treaty Society begins (Wei Wai Kum and Kwiakah)

Stage 5:
2019

Signed the Wei Wai Kum First Nation/Kwiakah First Nation Transition to Stage 5 and Treaty Revitalization Agreement

Statement of Intent: Map

Wei Wai Kum’s territory has been connected to its people since time immemorial. Wei Wai Kum has the right to exercise Aboriginal rights in its territory.

This territory is primarily shared with fellow Ligʷiłdaxʷ Nations, We Wai Kai and Kwiakah.

As part of the BC Treaty Process, Wei Wai Kum First Nation has established a shared Statement of Intent (SOI) boundary. Within this SOI boundary, the Nation is developing land selections for Treaty Lands and private land purchases.

Treaty Projects

Treaty Related Measures (TRMs) are interim measures related to treaty topics under negotiation.

TRMs were designed to help meet the needs of and address First Nations’ concerns during ongoing treaty negotiations. TRM projects are funded by the Canadian government.

Over the years, Wei Wai Kum has participated in several TRM projects, as listed below. 

2015

Wei Wai Kum Kwiakah Constitution Development Stage 1

This stage supports the development of a WKTS-specific Constitution. This work is also necessary to strengthen First Nations governance and leads the way towards treaty negotiations.

Human Resources Capacity Development

This project provided strategic direction and an implementation plan for Wei Wai Kum to build human resources capacity in preparation for governance post-treaty.

2016

Fish Resources Planning Study

The A-Tlegay Fisheries Society provided Wei Wai Kum with fish monitoring, licenses, species surveys, and other fisheries activities. In addition, it offered training to increase community capacity.

Water Reserve Availability Study

This project helped define the availability of water reservations within or adjacent to Nations’ Treaty Lands.

2017

Water Resources Modelling/LiDAR-Based Water Allocation Framework

This project is in development. In 2018, the Water/LiDAR assignment began phase one of three possible phases of LiDAR to build a scalable model for understanding the watersheds and developing the water chapter. Phase two focused on creating a highly accurate, watershed-wide geospatial data set.

Development Opportunities Study on the Proposed Incremental Treaty Agreement (ITA) Lands

This project investigated the potential business and other uses of proposed ITA lands for Wei Wai Kum. The project also explored whether any cultural or historical sites may be impacted by future development.

2018

Community Communication and Engagement

Videos were created to highlight treaty objectives and enhance communication with members through a different format.

2019

Territory Land Use Research to Support Land Selection

The assignment gave WKTS a key tool for good governance land, supporting selection and protective measures agreement. Therefore, achieving a collaborative land project was an important step, leading to a formal land and cash offer from B.C. and Canada.

2020

Bathymetric and Side Scan Surveys

The project sought to develop habitat mapping, water flows, the identification of potential archaeology sites and resource management.

2021

Governance Structure Development

The assignment contributes to investigating governance structures used by self-governing Nations. The post-treaty options will be developed for Wei Wai Kum and suit their genuine needs.

2022

Wei Wai Kum Natural Resource Administrator, Phase 1

Wei Wai Kum has undertaken a multi-year project to fund a Lands Administration position to advance territorial Natural Resource Management.

2023

Wei Wai Kum Treaty Lands Assessment

The purpose of this project is to evaluate development opportunities associated with treaty lands of interest for Wei Wai Kum.  This project will assess land parcels for potential development risks, constraints, and opportunities to provide a Highest & Best Use Report for each parcel. 

Negotiation

The Treaty Team meets monthly for Internal Treaty Meetings which inform the tripartite Main Table Meetings with Wei Wai Kum, BC, and Canada. At these Main Table meetings, discussions revolve around the Nation’s priorities. At the Main Table, the Team speaks to Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC) and Provincial decision-makers to ensure they hear negotiation positions and concerns directly. Treaty negotiations remain an iterative process, supported through various working groups and informed through community engagement sessions.

Treaty

Main Table Negotiations

Main Table Treaty meetings occur for a full day on a monthly basis, with Wei Wai Kum, Canada, and BC Negotiators as well as the BCTC Commissioner. Negotiations are based on Stage 5 objectives and issues that need to be resolved in moving Wei Wai Kum forward towards a Treaty Agreement.

Internal Strategy

Internal Treaty Meetings are regularly held prior to the Main Table negotiations. These gatherings allow the Treaty Team to thoroughly discuss topics related to the negotiation process. Objectives and timelines are carefully planned during these sessions to align with the discussions at the Main Table. Moreover, the Treaty Team ensures that community priorities are thoroughly understood and integrated into all discussions with BC and Canada.

Treaty Working Group

The Treaty Working Group is authorized by the Main Table to create content for the Treaty chapters comprising the Treaty Agreement that will be eventually be voted on by the membership. This collaborative effort involves Canada, BC, and Wei Wai Kum, and the outcomes are presented to the membership for feedback and guidance.

Lands Working Group

Wei Wai Kum meets monthly with BC to advance its interests on possible treaty lands. This work is authorized by the Main Table

Community Engagement

Community engagement is a continuous and essential aspect for the Treaty team. By actively engaging with the community, the team gains a comprehensive understanding of the requirements of Wei Wai Kum, imparts knowledge about contemporary treaties to its members, and keeps the communities informed about the progress of negotiations.

Five Nation Fish Common Table

Wei Wai Kum, We Wai Kai, Kwiakah, Tlowitsis, K’omoks

The Five A- Tlegay Nations have joined together to negotiate a Fish Reconciliation Agreement with Canada. All Nations are participating in treaty negotiations and the results of this agreement will be referenced in a Treaty Agreement.  We are using what other nation groups such as the Coastal First Nations have negotiated as a guideline to the benefits we hope to achieve in this process. The areas under negotiation are access to commercial licenses and aquaculture; management and conservation of fish stocks and governance over the resource.

February 10 2021 – The Chiefs of the A-Tlegay Member Nations (We Wai Kai Nation, Wei Wai Kum First Nation, Kwiakah First Nation, Tlowitsis Nation, and K’ómoks First Nation) and Canada, announced the signing of the “Reconciliation Framework Agreement for Fisheries Resources.”  The Framework Agreement forms a common fisheries negotiation table between the Government of Canada and the A-Tlegay Member Nations (AMN). Through this agreement the parties are building a process that advances reconciliation in respect of fisheries resources. The goal is to expand the Nations’ access to the commercial industry, including aquaculture, develop community fisheries, and create a mechanism for collaborative governance of fisheries resources.

Why Treaty?

The modern treaty negotiations process provides a framework for the three parties: Canada, B.C. and First Nations – to work towards the common goal of reconciliation and building a new relationship on a government-to-government-to-government basis that will improve the lives of the Wei Wai Kum members.

Self-governance will replace the Indian Act and provide better opportunities for Indigenous people living within their territory while not excluding those who choose to live elsewhere.

Why Self-Governance?

It gives us the right to make laws, similar to the laws that provinces are able to make. It also means we will create our own government that is designed by our Nations and approved by us. With self-governance, Nations will have more freedom to choose and control our Treaty Lands and resources. Wei Wai Kum will establish a Constitution that will guide self-government.

The Treaty will also bring increased opportunities and ownership, improved services and control over our future and education.

Incremental Treaty Agreements

An ITA is a legally-binding pre-treaty agreement negotiated under the B.C. Treaty Process, between British Columbia and Wei Wai Kum. ITAs are a treaty incentive to enable Nations to achieve economic benefits while negotiating a treaty agreement. Any lands acquired through an ITA remain under the Nation’s ownership regardless if a treaty is ever reached. It creates a significant, positive milestone of negotiations that assist the Nation in building capacity and resources.

Wei Wai Kum's
ITA

On August 11, 2022, Wei Wai Kum finalized an ITA for a near 2300 hectare land transfer in the Campbell Lake region. Lands transferred under the ITA will help increase Wei Wai Kum’s participation in the forestry industry for economic purposes and give its citizens access to lands for cultural and harvesting activities.

Surveying and Transferring the ITA Lands

Tyson Quocksister, a member of Wei Wai Kum, oversaw the surveying of the ITA Parcels in collaboration with McElhanney Engineering. The surveying of Parcel B has been completed and is scheduled to be transferred to Wei Wai Kum in 2024. Parcel A and C, are set to undergo surveying in 2024 – 2025, and their transfer to the Nation will occur in 2025.

Wei Wai Kum ITA Land

Treaty Negotiations

treaty-negotiations
Wei Wai Kum Chief Roberts, Kwiakah Chief Dick, and Minister Bennet, 2019 Stage 5 Signing

Negotiations take time, political will and tenacity among the four governments (Wei Wai Kum, Kwiakah, B.C and Canada). However, significant developments have been made in recent years, and Wei Wai Kum and Kwiakah are now in Stage 5 of the BC Treaty Process.

Wei Wai Kum and the governments of Canada and British Columbia signed a Stage 5 Agreement on June 28, 2019, to advance reconciliation and treaty negotiations. The agreement brings treaty negotiations to the final stage and guides the development of an approach recognizing the rights of Wei Wai Kum.

Treaty Advancements – Loan Forgiveness
In March 2019, Canada announced that all loans occurred by Nations since the beginning of treaty negotiations will be forgiven and paid off by Canada. This was a huge step for the treaty negotiations process. Currently, Wei Wai Kum don’t have any outstanding loans and will not incur any additional debt through the treaty process.

Treaty Lands

Treaty Lands

Treaty Lands are lands that will be returned to our Nations after the treaty effective date. Treaty lands are important to our Nations because we will have full jurisdiction and law-making authority. Identifying potential Treaty Lands for negotiations is an important step. Land is selected based on various traditional, cultural, economic, community development and recreational opportunities and values.

Treaty Lands will include:

  • Current reserve lands
  • Lands we negotiate through treaty
  • Incremental Treaty Agreement lands

Treaty Agreement – Under Development

This is Stage 6 of the Treaty Process and the final objective of the Treaty Society. Nations that have concluded a Final Treaty Agreement in BC include Tsawwassen, Maa-nulth, and Tla’amin. The Treaty Team, provincial and federal Negotiators, consider the lessons learned and opportunities realized in these modern treaties. Leadership and Advisors continue to assert the Treaty Society’s position based on the interests and aspirations of the Wei Wai Kum. The principle we’re operating on is that treaty has to be better than what we would otherwise achieve. It has to be about raising the bar.

The Treaty Journey So Far

It has been a long journey to reach the milestone of Stage 5 of the BC Treaty process, and is the result of hard work by all involved. We appreciate the commitment the Governments of Canada and B.C. have made to recognize Wei Wai Kum Nation's rights as defined under the United Nations Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples as we continue on this path to achieving true reconciliation and management over our traditional territory.
Chief Christopher Roberts, Wei Wai Kum First Nation

Treaty is one tool amongst many that the Wei Wai Kum use or consider when advancing our interests. Land Code, Taxation, Referral Consultation and Specific Claims are additional tools working alongside treaty negotiations to assert self-governance and rights jurisdiction.

Self-Government

Land Code - First Nations Lands Management Act

Wei Wai Kum’s Land Code (ratified in 2011) enables all owner’s rights, powers, and privileges over reserve lands. Lands and natural resources previously managed under the Indian Act are now governed under the Wei Wai Kum Land Code. This power extends to administrative and land management’s governance and jurisdictional elements. Exercising jurisdiction is similar to:

  • Local government powers over areas like land-use planning, conservation and economic development on reserve lands
  • Federal authorities such as laws under the developed opportunities and areas of interests.

Lands Advisory Board Resource Centre.

Taxation

The First Nations Fiscal Management Act (ratified in 2011) corresponds to the Financial Administration Law signed in 2019. By passing property taxation, Wei Wai Kum has jurisdiction over reserve land. Property taxation jurisdiction is a fundamental pillar of financing government and future economic growth. Real property taxation provides Wei Wai Kum with an independent, stable and flexible source of revenue, which can be reinvested to improve services, respond to priorities, and address shortcomings in economic infrastructure.

Wei Wai Kum First Nation enacted a Property Taxation and Property Assessment bylaw in 2003. The Band collects property taxes from the commercial properties located on Campbell River Indian Reserve #11 (E.g. Home Depot, Walmart, Nyrstar, Telus etc.).

Did you know? 

Tax revenue is used to pay for the services the Nation provides to its commercial tenants (e.g fire protection, utility infrastructure, etc.). In addition, these revenues also support programs and services offered to the Wei Wai Kum community (e.g. Elders Program, infrastructure upgrades, youth programs).

Rights Jurisdiction

Referrals Consultation

Wei Wai Kum was signed to the Nanwakola’s Council Strategic Engagement Agreement. First Nations participating in the Nanwakolas Referrals Office include Mamalilikulla First Nation, Da’naxda’xw Awaetlala First Nation, Tlowitsis First Nation, K’ómoks First Nation and Wei Wai Kum Nation.

Did you know? 

The Province of BC is legally obligated to consult and accommodate Wei Wai Kum, where required, on land and resource decisions that could impact our interests within our territory. We review referrals from many different proponents annually, ensuring that no infringements on our rights and title occur, our historical sites are protected, and we are appropriately accommodated for any impacts. This important work ties directly with the treaty team in their mandate to preserve and have input over what happens in the territory.

Wei Wai Kum

Wei Wai Kum is a signatory to the Nanwakolas Council Strategic Engagement Agreement.

Nanwakolas mandate is to protect and advocate for the recognition of the Aboriginal rights by

  • Ensuring First Nations are aware of all resource development activities proposed or ongoing within their traditional territories
  • Promoting relevant answers to provincial resource development referrals where is included the First Nation interests regarding the opportunities
  • Facilitating the resolution of issues raised by a participating First Nations

 

Specific Claims

Wei Wai Kum has identified the resolution of Wei Wai Kum’s Specific Claims as a priority and an important step towards reconciliation with Canada. As a starting point, over the last several decades the community held knowledge and preliminary historical research that has led to the identification of several potential Specific Claims. Wei Wai Kum is researching, for example, the unlawful surrender of reserve lands, various rights-of-way through reserve lands, leases of reserve lands and the issuance of multiple permits on reserve lands.

Wei Wai Kum is currently undertaking the updating of this historical research to inform the preparation of Specific Claims for submission to Canada. Once the claim is filed with the Minister, the Minister has three years to assess it following the assessment criteria and the grounds for establishing a specific claim.